i. The term (and year) finished with a group crit of our interim show led by Dan Howard-Birt (who helped us curate the space a couple of weeks ago). Although the day was not without debate and criticism, I felt my work was well received and that Dan was particularly encouraging. He talked about the important roles pubs play in communities and suggested I not shy away from nostalgia with my imagery (and to look at Hogarth, Edward Ardizzone and Ruskin Spear). Coincidentally, he also mentioned the display by artist Casper White currently at the National Portrait Gallery (that I mentioned here a few weeks ago) - Dan is good friends with White and is going to put me in touch with him and maybe even bring him into uni to give me a tutorial. It was a superb way to finish the term: I feel like I'm onto something and that there's mileage in the work
ii. I had a tutorial with Leora about my research paper on contemporary portraiture (specifically in relation to the work of Chantal Joffe and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye). I have some ideas as to its theme and structure but it all feels very vague and unfocused. Leora suggested I keep reading around the subject for the next few weeks and to try and identify a question by mid-August. I didn't feel she was too worried about me just yet!
iii. Leora also suggested I look at the book The Everyday (part of the Whitechapel Gallery's Documents of Contemporary Art series) in relation to my research paper as well as my overarching practice. The following quote is from the introduction (I feel like it could be a useful read):
'The rise of the everyday in contemporary art is usually understood in terms of a desire to bring these uneventful and overlooked aspects of lived experience into visibility. For some, this turn to the ordinary leads to a recognition of the dignity of ordinary behaviour, or the act of stating simply, 'here is value.'
- Stephen Johnstone
iii. Thursday evening saw the opening of Camberwell's MA Visual Arts Summer Show. The second year printmaking exhibition was ambitious and bold, the catalogue was stylish and I loved the box set of prints they put together with the tutors and visiting artists. It's reassuring to see the progress the second years have made since October and I can't wait to see how we get on in a year's time!
iv. The second year exhibition is curated and displayed in a very cool and contemporary manner whereas our interim show is understandably a lot more visually straightforward. I know that the tutors work alongside the students to hang the work and I'm wondering how mine will look next year. Casper White's NPG show is a small exhibition of paintings and drawings accompanied by a sculptural element: a scattering of lighting gels that manage to successfully unify the works. How do I exhibit my work in a 'contemporary way' without it coming off as contrived?
v. At the weekend my dad and I managed to visit Rodin and the art of ancient Greece at the British Museum in its closing weeks. Seeing and drawing Rodin sculptures side-by-side with the Elgin Marbles (removed from their plinths and displayed lower and closer than usual) was an incredible experience. I also took dad to see Casper White's display at the National Portrait Gallery - it really is a brilliant show and I can't wait to meet him!