ABOUT US: Contemporary and Country present art and the handmade in non-gallery spaces



Contemporary and Country (C&C) present contemporary art and handmade objects by established artists and makers from the east of England in pop-up exhibitions in non-gallery spaces that celebrate our rural surroundings.

C&C work with artists and makers who live and work in East Anglia, or who include the natural world in their subject matter or production process. They bring about a closer understanding of the countryside, what makes the east of England landscape so unique and have insight about the people that live there. They look creatively beyond the passing trend and encourage greater consideration for nature, as its appreciation and preservation becomes ever more prescient to our time.
C&C has been established by Paul Barratt and Paul Vater to create pop-up exhibitions featuring contemporary art and handmade objects by artists and makers from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.
These temporary exhibitions have taken place in the Stables at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, alongside international exhibitions of sculpture by Tony Cragg, Anish Kapoor, Henry Moore, Damien Hirst and Richard Long. Paul and Paul have organised smaller-scale pop-up exhibitions at Creake Abbey near Burnham Market and Blakney on the North Norfolk coast and in Norwich.
Following their creative inclinations, they decided to consolidate what was achieved with the earlier initiative Norfolk By Design, established with Davina Barber, and re-position themselves as Contemporary and Country with a greater emphasis on displaying more contemporary work.
What makes C&C different?
C&C display new work by contemporary artists and makers who don't conform to assumptions about creativity being a purely metropolitan activity. Many of the creative people we work with live and work in relative isolation in rural settings or small towns. Through their experience, their chosen materials or subject matter they shift the idea of the rural idyll away from the romantic, toward a variety of more engaging concerns about land use, coastal influence, ecological process, and flora and fauna found in the east of England. Many of these locationally specific issues are shared by creative practitioners working in geographically isolated communities throughout the UK at the moment.
Why have rural locations become such a viable alternative for creative people to base themselves?
Many artists and makers have exited expensive and cramped conditions of the UK's larger cities like London, discovering smaller towns and creative hot spots in rural settings. They have decided to make their living in surroundings they find inspirational. Here, in the east of England, creative people have access to a variety of relatively inexpensive workshop and studio space, with better natural light, less polution and more focussed working conditions with fewer competing interests. There is also a creative community in East Anglia that while slightly fragmented by geography, does have a series of active public sector or artist run spaces to display work.