164th Annual Open Exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy. (Joint mixed media exhibition.)
With OCA students led by Michele Whiting
23rd November, 2016.
Curators: Gallery Director, Alison Bevan et al.
Location, setting & atmosphere.
This was an enormous exhibition, enough to bamboozle any visitor through its numbers of exhibits in every possible medium.
Again, the images had reflective glass so you can’t see the contents clearly. They were arranged in salon format so I could barely see some of them let alone see who they were by or their titles.
We were asked to see if there were works which shared a subject matter: landscape: from (what interested me since I have been exploring the medium) landscapes on tracing paper in small frames
to Susan Derges’ monumental photos. (Derges was one of the selectors)
We were also asked which mediums we found particularly interesting & mine had to be the use of tracing paper. There was an example which was literally and figuratively multi-layered:
This was “Hong Kong Ding Ding by Valerie Treasure. It used collage, mixed media and stitching to achieve its final form. It is intriguing because the viewer has to analyse what is being said through the use of the different media although the language itself has a limited readership.
Also on the subject of media, we were asked to consider if we would apply any of them to our work. As I am interested in texture in photographs, I found the following work particularly inspirational: the first is by Zara McQueen & titled: At the Chapel: charcoal, pastel and collage.
And the following charcoal on tissue paper by Paula Havard “Jenny Dreaming”:
The next question asked if there was any exhibit which spoke to me through either its technical or conceptual merit:
I appreciated this oil painting for its technical merit:
For its conceptual merit, I chose “Tea and Toast” by Ben Hughes with its references to Charles Ingram. The eyes engage the viewer while the open aspect of the painting pulls the viewer in:
You can’t separate the concept from the technical novelty experienced in the “Sheep at Sheepsgate” collaborations because they have used GPS to plot the movements of various sheep and used other mixed media to produce a very novel form of imaging.
I also appreciated John House’s Study in Colour and Light no 5: photography triptych (giclee print):
and Daniel McGirr’s “The Void” – ink and gesso on MDF:
We were asked to consider the framing. I found it all very traditional and you could argue for or against various applications but it comes down to taste, in my opinion.
Finally we were asked how radical the supports (what the work is painted/printed on) and if we thought the supports detracted from the work.
Radical for exhibitions in my experience was the tracing paper. It was used in various applications. This I thought was experimenting with technique:
The last question on the sheet was :Can you think about a work of your own that might sit alongside the works on show?” Not now.
Highlights for me: Seeing the use of tracing paper being accepted for the show.
What I took away with me about the exhibits:
The huge range of genres gives hope for different work.
About me and my work:
I am pleased I am not afraid to experiment with different media for photography.