OPEN at Canwood

OPEN to the true post MA experience?!
Exhibiting in OPEN at the beautiful Canwood Gallery was both a great experience and a much needed boost. It was lovely to be there with some old HCA friends and also several new artists. 17 exhibitors in total showing a diverse range of 2D and 3D work inside the 2 spacious galleries and outside in the wonderful grounds.

It was such a good feeling to be back in an artistic environment with like minded people and very much what I needed after the solitude of lockdown. I actually enjoyed the solitude but not being in the artistic doldrums for so long after the MA. While, thanks to a horrible bout of vertigo, I wasn't able to finish the proposed new work in time for it to be included in the show, working on Elements and Connections and getting the other works, Leaning Tree, Corvid Nest and Beach Finds, ready for hanging got me back into a positive mindset, as did the very productive clean and re-organisation of my studio space. I'm now itching to be out there working all the time...

I was very proud to be a part of the show which came together really well and looked professional and interesting. Dan was, I think, possibly a bit disparaging to Linn when he said it was a "collection of like-minded artists' work shown together" but I suppose that's exactly what it was. There wasn't a theme as such but that would be difficult for a show combining both exhibiting and selling.

There are things that we could have done better:

  • More publicity: I think we ideally needed more - and possibly earlier - publicity although that was difficult with the uncertainty still surrounding Covid in the lead up. A few of the days were very quiet and sales were low (though, for us if not for Canwood, getting sales wasn't the sole object of the exercise). I could certainly have done more individual raising of awareness.

  • More work: We could have included more work, especially in the vast Turbine Hall, which did look a bit sparse. (The upside of that was that I was able to have my browsers in there with prints by me and Sue for sale.)

  • Commitment to stewarding: Apparently some people didn't commit to the stewarding dates they'd agreed to on the rota. Linn had to step in at the last minute so most of us didn't realise when that had happened. Perhaps though the onus should be on the steward pulling out to find a replacement or to honour their commitment and people would have to sign an agreement to that effect. There should be a way to encourage people not to opt out at the last minute as that obviously puts more work onto other people, many of whom had long drives to be be there.

  • I/d: I wonder if the artists should have worn lanyards/name tags to enable visitors to identify them? Never sure about this one but there were instances when recognition would have been useful.

  • Exhibition name: According to Dan, "OPEN" should really indicate that it was open to all artists...

All in all I think everything worked really well and there's a lot to be said for an exhibition where you turn up, leave your work and someone else curates and hangs it! (Assuming they do as good a job as Darren, Linn and Andy. Huge thanks to them!)

Below are photographs of my works hanging in situ in the Turbine Hall at Canwood.
Leaning Tree, Corvid Nest and Beach Finds (top image) were hanging on the right of the gallery space
Elements and Connections (bottom image) were on the wall opposite.

Leaning Tree, Corvid Nest and Beach Finds on right wall at Canwood Gallery

Elements and Connections hanging at Canwood Gallery

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