Bay Backner interviewed by Valencia TV News about her Art Walk initiative

Bay conceived and created Art Walk Valencia as a new initiative to support independent art spaces in her city. Eleven galleries and art venues opened simultaneously on Sunday 18 April from 11.00am – 14.00pm, with a map and information published on artwalkvlc.com

Bay organised Art Walk as a responsible, covid-safe way to experience art in Valencia. Art Walkers walked in groups of four or less and followed all safety measures when inside the arts spaces.

Art Walk was a resounding success, with some spaces welcoming more than 300 visitors safely over the three hour event. Valencia’s A Punt TV News programme reported from Art Walk and interviewed Bay about the aims of the initiative. Bay also gave a radio interview for Podríem Fer-ho Millo alongside SET Espai D’Art gallery director Reyes Martinez.

For more information about Art Walk Valencia, visit artwalkvlc.com. You can also sign up to Bay’s mailing list to hear of the second Art Walk planned for later this year.

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Bay Backner brings together eleven independent galleries for Art Walk Valencia

Bay conceived and created Art Walk Valencia as a new initiative to support independent art spaces in her city. Eleven galleries and art venues opened simultaneously on Sunday 18 April from 11.00am – 14.00pm, with a map and information published on artwalkvlc.com

Art Walk was a resounding success, with some spaces welcoming more than 300 visitors safely over the three hour event. Valencia’s A Punt TV News programme reported from Art Walk and interviewed Bay about the aims of the initiative. Bay also gave a radio interview for Podríem Fer-ho Millo alongside SET Espai D’Art gallery director Reyes Martinez.

Bay and the A Punt TV film crew during Art Walk – photo: Sandi Goodwin

Art Walk was free and open to all, with “Art Walkers” to take part in groups of four or less in line with current covid restrictions. There was no set route between the eleven venues, but the furthest galleries, La Trini in La Zaidía and Lanevera in Russafa, are just a 30 minute walk apart. 

The idea for Art Walk came out of Bay’s conversation with Kristin Gracie, founder of Russafa’s The RW Project, about how to safely open their current art exhibition “Eve” to visitors.  

Eve in The RW Project space

“Covid has challenged artists to become more creative about sharing our work. It’s been a year now without normal gallery inaugurations or artist talks in independent spaces,” explains Bay.

“Before Covid I organised a Meetup group of 1,000 art-goers in Valencia. Since lockdown, many have asked me how they can continue to support Valencia’s artists,” she continues.

“Art Walk makes it easy to visit some of our city’s most exciting art spaces. In English these are called “grassroots” arts spaces because they encourage emerging artists. If we can help them to grow their audience, we all benefit from a thriving art scene.”

Bay and other Art Walkers in La Trini Gallery – photo: Sandi Goodwin

The Jan Royce Gallery in El Carmen was the first gallery to agree to open on Sunday for Art Walk. Director Cornelis Moonen explains,

“Art Walk is a wonderful initiative. It underlines how Valencia’s art galleries and artists continue to work together to present new contemporary art, in spite of this challenging year.” 

“By walking on a Sunday morning, we also support our neighbourhood’s restaurants and bars. I hope that many art-lovers find inspiration in the diversity of the art being presented, and enjoy (re-)discovering their vibrant, artistic city.” 

Reyes Martinez, director of gallery SET Espai D’Art adds, 

“We are participating in Art Walk because we support any initiative that brings art closer to the public, that normalises visiting galleries and exhibitions, and that recognises the work that galleries do in supporting and representing artists.” 

A Punt TV News film in SET Espai D’Art during Art Walk

Bay Backner to show embroidered paintings about solitude, isolation and hope at Jan Royce Gallery

Bay Backner will participate in ¡Abril Despierta! (April Awakes!) at The Jan Royce Gallery in Valencia. Bay will show five new works alongside paintings by Valencia artist Tatiana Roig and Russian Aleksandra Istorik.

For ¡Abril Despierta! Bay has made five figurative artworks in oil paint and hand-embroidery on canvas. These explore how identities are being shaped by this year’s pandemic, specifically how its experiences affect our subconscious minds. Truth expresses how many of us looked inwards during isolation; Trust, the creative relationship between our conscious and subconscious;  Expectation, how we balanced hope with reality; Ice, the complicated nature of solitude and Untitled, the freedom of imagination while confined. 

The Jan Royce Gallery exhibits contemporary art from around the world, presenting a “fascinating, broad selection of artists and works. Stimulating, cutting-edge works by established contemporary artists, as well as intriguing works from young emerging artists, who may not have yet gained public acclaim.”

Jan Royce Gallery director Cornelius Moon affirms that the space “recognises the importance of supporting local talent and believes that the development of the Arts in any community is paramount in creating a society with character and soul.”

Artist and journalist Tatiana Roig writes that ¡Abril Despierta! is “an art exhibition where three artists from different nationalities reflect on the influences of being born in different countries and their very diverse way of conceiving art. Three women come together in a post-pandemic era to show their art and its origins.”

“Unusual textures and textiles, blending cotton and wood, shape a multicultural exhibition in the heart of the city of Valencia.”

The show will open on 10th April 2021 and run until 30th May.

Bay Backner in reopening exhibition at Blacks London

Blacks London set to reopen on 17th May after Soho’s lengthy lockdown. The legendary private members’ club will show two paintings by Bay Backner, curated in a collective exhibition by Runway Gallery.

Blacks, Soho exhibition with Bay Backner – London from 17th May

The exhibition will present Bay’s pre-lockdown paintings, Delta and Shard. Here you can see the paintings hung alongside a piece by fellow Runway artist Barry Wilson. All the paintings are currently available through Runway Gallery in London and online.

We wish Blacks much love for a wonderful reopening.

‘Blancanieves’ embroidered oil painting in art exhibition at Galeria Cuatro, Valencia

Bay is now showing Blancanieves, her new large-scale embroidered oil painting at Galeria Cuatro, Valencia. The work is part of collective exhibition Sexto Sentido, on show at the gallery until 3rd March 2021.

Other participating artists include Alba Lorente, artist and editor of contemporary art magazine La Novicia; Luis Salvador, artist and director of La Trini art space; painter Miguel Castillo Oñate and artist-curator Jose Lapasió.

Blancanieves was painted in response to the current restrictions in Valencia. With one of the highest incidences of Covid-19 in Spain, all cultural events have been postponed and gatherings of more than two people are prohibited. When gallery director Miguel Castillo Gómez invited Bay to participate in Sexto Sentido, he asked for a work that would be impactful and colourful as a response to the challenges the current situation presents.

Blancanieves (Snow White in Spanish) is an expression of the joy we can find in creativity. No matter what we encounter in the external world, our internal worlds can be one of magical stories, enchanted mirrors and self-expression. The painting is part of Bay’s wider ongoing series of paintings exploring our hidden selves.

Blancanieves is 146 x 114 cm in oil paint with hand-embroidery on canvas. At 1900Eu the painting is expect to sell to Bay’s collectors in Valencia. To check that the painting is stil available before your visit, call Galeria Cuatro on 963 51 00 63

The gallery is open daily in line with current restrictions, from 10.30am until 6pm.

Galeria Cuatro, Carrer de la Nau, 25, 46003 València, Valencia

Galeria Cuatro exhibition “Sexto Sentido” to show new large-scale embroidered painting by Bay Backner

Bay is showing new work in the latest exhibition at Valencia gallery Galería Cuatro. The show, Sexto Sentido, will open this Thursday, 29th January. Bay will debut her latest large-scale embroidered painting Blancanieves (Snow White), a 114×146 canvas which will be featured on this site after the exhibition opens.

Following current restrictions for Covid-19, there will be no traditional inauguration. The works can be viewed in person at the gallery between 10am and 6pm until 3rd March 2021.

Galería Cuatro’s director Miguel Castello was yesterday interviewed by newspaper Las Provincias. He discusses the challenges facing our city’s art scene and the importance of making galleries relevant for the younger generation. You can read the full interview in Las Provincias Culture here.

Galería Cuatro is a well-established and pioneering Valencian gallery, having opened its doors more than forty years ago in July 1980. Initially it was a parallel space to the historic Theo Gallery, concieved to support the work of emerging Valencian artists.

Some of the artists that Galería Cuatro supported in their early careers include important names like Francisco Lozano, Joaquín Michavila, José María Yturralde, Jordi Teixidor and Artur Heras.

The gallery overcame Spain’s 2008 economic crisis and is facing current challenges with innovative exhibitions and new artists. These are being led by Miguel Castillo’s son David, who has taken on the role of gallery curator.

Bay is delighted to be participating in the gallery’s program this year.

Galería Cuatro
Carrer de la Nau, 25, 46003 València, Valencia

Sexto Sentido
29/01 – 03/03
10am – 6pm daily

Showing New Surrealist Paintings in Collaboration with Valencia’s The RW Project

Bay is currently showing new paintings in The RW Project space in Valencia’s arts district, Russafa. The project, titled Eve is a collaboration between Bay, RW founder and writer Kristin Gracie, and filmmaker Steve Kempen. Bay is showing six new large-scale surrealist oil paintings, including Eve (2020) which was especially painted for the collaboration. Other paintings in the space are Serenity, Allegory, Anima, Vision and Shrine.

Visits to The RW Project are by timed appointment only to honour current safety restrictions. Register for your appointment at The RW Project page.

Eve opened on New Year’s Eve 2020/21 as a metaphor for the artistic possibilities of the New Year, set against the challenges of our current times. Showing alongside Bay’s paintings are words by Gracie on the significance and creative energy of the collaboration.

Craving to welcome 2021 feeling empowered and inspired, a curious writer called on her surrealist muse to explore a question that centuries of women before us have sat with … “What can we do while all we are hearing is what we can’t do?”

– Kristin Gracie

Also featured are two new short films by director Steve Kempen, installed within the exhibition. Kempen’s films explore the relationship between Bay and Gracie, and how the Eve project was inspired. They also offer intimate scenes of Bay’s creative process in her studio.

To continue the ‘behind-the-scenes’ access, Bay has chosen to display four of her development works on paper within the show. All four works are in pastel, inks and acrylic spray and were created while Bay researched the emotions she sought to paint in the face of Eve.

Eve is a representation of all that is possible when the beautiful aspects of the feminine are listened to with adventurous curiosity and trusted without weighted hesitation. 

– Kristin Gracie

Eve will be open until March 2021. To hear of more invitation-only events in The RW Project space, join The RW list. To follow Bay’s work and further art events in Valencia, subscribe to her monthly newsletter.

You can book your appointment to see the Eve collaboration here.

Why Covid Made Me Start a New Mailing List for Art Events in Valencia (And Cancel my Meetup Membership)

When I moved my studio from London to Valencia in 2017, the city’s art scene was almost entirely hidden from fresh immigrants like me. There was IVAM and the extraordinary Bellas Artes Museum, but smaller galleries and arts festivals like IntraMurs seemed entirely impenetrable. Websites were infrequently updated, emails were unanswered and press releases were pages long and arrived just days (or often hours) before an event.

So I began a Meetup group for women called Art Nights Out. I contacted the galleries for details of their opening nights, and created events to bring international women to the evenings. Galleries like SET Espai d’Art, Shiras Gallery, Galeria Cuatro, Luis Adelantado, Galería Vangar, Tuesday to Friday and the wonderful (now closed) espaivisor welcomed the opportunity to bring new people to their exhibitions.

It’s now three years since I founded the group and I have over 1,000 members. I met extraordinary women at the events I organised and many of them have become cherished friends. But in 2020 the art world here in Valencia irreversibly changed. Ongoing covid restrictions mean that I cannot bring more than six people together, and events in alternative venues struggle to define just what we can safely do. As artists we are challenged to become even more creative about sharing our work – whether it be through micro-happenings in alternative spaces, or timed entries into immersive, yet socially-distanced gallery installations.

In these new models, Meetup.com simply doesn’t work. When organising an Meetup event for 20 attendees, I would open the RSVPs to 30 – knowing from experience that 30-40% of attendees would cancel in the hour before or simply not turn up. In a fluid Meetup for a traditional gallery opening this is fine, but a bespoke poetry reading for just two tables of six? It’s unfair to everyone involved.

In addition, ever-changing restrictions meaning that our events have to be flexible. This means fail-safe communications with our guests. I need to be able to Whatsapp our RSVPs to say that we’re moving outdoors (bring a coat!), or ask them to arrive half an hour earlier to stagger our social distancing. Meetup.com keeps all of the contact details of my members, so that the only way I can contact them is through the platform. This means the discussion boards which many never check, or “group emails” which many are unsubscribed from. Pre-Covid, this was a minor black-mark against the strengths of Meetup.com. Now, it’s a dealbreaker.

So Covid has forced my hand. I believe in creating beautiful, memorable art events in Valencia, even if it is just for an audience of six or an “aforo” (venue capacity) of three….. with the rest of us patiently socially distancing outside. Within whatever we can safely and legally do, we can create. But it needs new models and a new immediacy in the relationship between organiser and audience. Art events must become art happenings again – intimate, flexible, occasionally chaotic and all the more unforgettable for it.

And I think where we start is with a good, old-fashioned mailing list. So here it is. Add your email and I will send you invitations to the art happenings we’re organising in this amazing city. They are small, extraordinary and just may be rather historic. You are an even more significant part of making them happen. Let me tell you about them now.

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By submitting your email you agree to receive art event details and invitations from me, Bay Backner. You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in these emails. (I’ll meet you at an underground, covid-responsible art event this year).

New Mixed-Media Artworks on Paper to be available at Runway Gallery, London

mixed media paper Bay Backner

Bay has been invited to curate nine new mixed-media artworks for a Runway Gallery special event this month. The works will be available in the gallery’s “From the studio” sale, an online showcase of experimental sketches, sketchbook work and artists’ proofs. Bay selected the nine works on paper from her developmental sketches for the “Flower Women” series of paintings.

The nine featured artworks are all mixed-media, contrasting black oil pastel with highly-pigmented inks, acrylic and spray paint. They explore how we subconsiously experience emotion – Bay sketched from newspaper and magazine clippings of faces that moved her, then responded to her reactions with layers of colour and line. All nine pieces are 35 x 50cm on 350gsm art paper, and will be available at Runway Gallery from the 26th December.

Nicolette, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Nicolette, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Puri, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Puri, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Rita, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Rita, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Janette, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Janette, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Royalty, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Royalty, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Amber, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Amber, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Valerie, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Valerie, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Lydia, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Lydia, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Amy, Bay Backner, 2020 - Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm
Amy, Bay Backner, 2020 – Oil Pastel, Ink, Acrylic and Spray on paper, 35x50cm