STRATA - Coming Out the Other Side

The end, though not quite, of the MA
It's hard to believe that after a very strange year, I have now completed my MA, with our Reflective Critical Papers - delayed because of lockdown - finally submitted last Friday, 6th November. Our exhibition, STRATA, at Canwood Gallery marked the culmination of our practical work and we deinstalled that on the 18th October after a week's run. Now just awaiting the results...

We were incredibly fortunate with the exhibition in every way. If it wasn't for HCA having the courage and resolve to stand alone among art colleges in offering their graduate students physical shows, and the determination and commitment of the fantastic Fine Art tutors at the college who remained adamant throughout that 'the show would go on', we would have been ending our year with a virtual exhibition like graduates at other colleges around the country. The icing on the cake was the perfect venue very kindly provided by Stephen Dale, owner of Canwood Gallery at Checkley just outside Hereford. Canwood is a wonderful place set in glorious countryside with 3 gallery spaces: a converted barn called the Turbine Hall and another characterful converted barn providing gallery spaces on the ground and first floors. Once we emerge from Lockdown 2, I thoroughly recommend a visit. It proved ideal for the Covid circumstances as with the 6 people maximum per gallery ruling, it meant that anyone waiting could wander around the grounds and look at the sculptures, or relax on the terrace or in the courtyard enjoying tea, coffee and cake rather than having to sit in their cars in a car park somewhere! We also struck lucky with the weather which was glorious throughout and only broke the day after we deinstalled the show, and the Covid rules, which tightened up shortly after that.

We felt that the exhibition went well. Having had initial fears that we wouldn't have enough work to do justice to the space (when added together the 3 galleries provide a very generous square footage) we were surprised and delighted to find that it was a case of too much work rather than too little. This year has been a strange one - normally, when working in the studio, we get to see what our fellow students are producing and how much work each one has; with lockdown we really had no idea right up to the end how much work each artist would be exhibitiing and how it would all work together.

Visitors, without exception, seemed delighted to get a day out seeing live art - something we've all been starved of over the past months. We had some wonderful reviews and I was very proud to be a part of STRATA.

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