REVIEW: Brighton Fringe: Windmill Collective Open Houses

12916949_1007717399264476_3116812896182927301_oWindmill Collective Open House

Artists Open House 2016

So it begins, and first off the starting blocks for the myriad of festivals cascading thought the city this May is the Artist Open House 2016 and the Windmill Collective is one of the best examples of this diverse and engaging city wide collection of exhibition spaces. Most in private homes opened for the duration of the festival each weekend. The host artist has given a lot of consideration to display, light and space and it’s always a pleasure to view such a diverse collection of artists on display in such a comfortable, welcoming space.


Made up of a collection of nine local artists and craftsperson’s who are exhibiting together for the first time. With some of the premier LGBT artists in the city taking part in this Open House it’s certainly one of great interest to anyone with a taste for Queer arts. The Windmill Collective is made up of Sophie Wake Gouache, ink and watercolour, Manel Ortega Photography, Rogelio Gastelu Applique clothing and home wares, Ian Shepherd Mixed media figure drawing, Jason Lupi Mixed media collage, Michael Pearce Abstract pen and ink, Silver Craft Jewellery Artisan silver jewellery, Vik Winter Abstract, drawing, collage and painting, Lee Needham Abstract paintings and prints.


Most of the artists will be familiar to anyone who follows the local and national Queer arts world or press and the range of material, style and presentation is a real strength of the Windmill Collective.  Needham’s large open landscapes have an ethereal, eeire intimate quality to them, shifting and full of movement, Silver Craft’s delicate and precise jewellery and organic silver work is effectively shown on some rather superb shells stripped to their nacreous inner layer to great effect, Ortega’s powerfully erotic, challenging and deliciously strange images hang around the mind like a snatched sensual dream and Gastelu’s applique is a wonderfully, tongue in cheek ironic take on T-Shirts, cushions and other soft objects. Lupi’s strange, refulgent, iconic collages which drift through space and time coalescing into suggested memories and fabricated fractured events were a favourite of mine and  Shepherds bold strong drawings and paintings of bold strong men shudder and grapple with the lines and ink that define them to insolently challenge your invading gaze.  Follow the links above to see more of their work.


All the artwork in the exhibition is for sale, with a full range of prices, sizes and art to suit all tastes and pockets. There is a collection of smaller sample pieces & postcards for those who might have smaller purses or spaces and it’s well worth a punt up the hill,  perhaps with a pint at the Setting Sun Pub, a camp delight at the end of the road with a view to die for.

More than 1,000 artists exhibit their work in venues citywide and in the surrounding area, providing art lovers with an engaging and inspiring experience and offering the opportunity to buy work and chat directly with the creators. This year over 60 new Open Houses will be taking part for the first time.


A majority of Open House venues belong to one of 14 Open House Trails, which cover different areas of the city and beyond; there are also non-trail or independent Open Houses in many areas. Trails are geographically grouped and houses are usually within walking distance of each other. Entry is free – and many Open Houses offer homemade tea and cake.


The Windmill Collective is just one of the finest and queerest ones for your delights.

For more info on the full listings see the AOH website here

For opening times and more info on the Windmill Collective see their Facebook page.

Windmill Collective

Until 29th May

53 Windmill Street



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