THE Government’s approach to arts funding is a bit of a mystery to me.

In the visual arts, the Arts Council seems resolutely anti-elitist, yet the Royal Opera House gets £25 million a year, I believe.

This is the largest single expenditure, apart from admin, which is something like twice that figure.

I am beginning to form a general view of publicly-funded visual art: I would say it tends to be long on concept, but short on content. Many artists avoid the funding route entirely, finding it compromises their work.

NewRed Studios’ current members Chess Mclean, David Podger and Judith Rodgers have been a Salisbury fixture for some years.

I have admired their enterprise since they started: the project is entirely self-funded; they pay the rent on their Fisherton Street premises, and do whatever other paid work is necessary to fund the studios.

They need make no compromises in the work they make, but they do open their doors regularly to the public.

Their current show No More, No Less can be seen this Saturday and next, between 11am and 3pm, and features work which will find favour with all visitors.

Chess Mclean has long been a NewRed member and has recently returned after a year in Australia.

She is a skilled illustrator with an individual style. Her simple designs are like emblems, with bold graphic lines and strong colour. The larger compositions are delivered in a similar cartoon-like manner: some are whimsical and humorous, yet many convey a romantic atmosphere.

David Podger, whose work often features rich textures and evocative surfaces, has created a pared-down piece for this show.

He describes his installation work as a three-dimensional construct of his drawings (on his website there is a good description of the process in ‘A Reflection of Loss’).

The current installation uses a physical doorway to present three simple white planes against the unlit room.

On entering, the planes are found to extend and splay like light rays into the corners.

Working within the confines of their small room spaces is limiting, but at the same time it can inspire.

The top floor installation by Judith Rodgers squeezes wooden branches, some wedged between floor and ceiling, into the attic space.

While one can imagine this working at ten times the size there is an intimacy in this setting that might be lost on a grander scale.

Rodgers has studded her boughs with flints, and presents further found pieces as mounted sculptures.

NewRed don’t demand funding support, but the do deserve the support of the Salisbury people.

Go along to 22b Fisherton Street this Saturday or next.

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