Get familiar with your local gallery

Yesterday I was in my small town and passed the doorway of our local gallery and saw this poster.

Karl Blossfeldt, really I thought, THE Karl Blossfeldt? With 20 minutes spare, I popped in. Inside were 40 wonderful original prints by Karl Blossfeldt. The printing process he used gives the images an exquisite tonal range this combined with his method of photographing allows many of the images to appear three dimensional. My spare 20 minutes quickly disappeared and another visit planned with more time allowed.

This exhibition is at the end of its tour, but a quick Google search reveals that it has been on a very varied journey around the country.

This made me think how it is quite easy when planning exhibition visits to focus on the major galleries and look for big shows. Many students plan a ‘big day out’ and try and capture as many galleries and shows as they can – sometimes dragging somewhat reluctant family members with them.

While this type of trip is a great way of experiencing a range of art forms, it can be overwhelming by trying to absorb so much information in one day.

There are hundreds of smaller galleries across the country showing a wide programme of work. They may feature local/regional artists or show touring exhibitions. It is well worth getting frequented with the galleries in your local area and subscribe to their mailing list to keep up to date.

Don’t forget to do the research to see what is on in an area prior to trips away (and of course there is always the joy of planning a trip to take in an exhibition that appeals further afield).

During the summer months, many areas of the country run Open Studios schemes. Visiting artists in their working environment can inspire many ideas. There is the added bonus of seeing process put into practice and having conversations with working artist. Read OCA tutor Jim’s post on Open Studios here.

Taking an hour or so to visit a smaller show can be really productive. By seeing less, you can spend more time absorbing the work and give yourself time to think it over.

Remember to be open and explore a variety of media, your ideas can come from anywhere. Visiting smaller shows can allow you to explore outside of your chosen area of study – be open to other creative disciplines and you will be surprised by what may inspire you.
If you are interested in the Karl Blossfeldt exhibition it is on at Broadway Gallery, Letchworth Garden City until 10 September 2017.
[https://www.broadway-letchworth.com/studio-gallery]

After that it travels to Art Gallery, Beverley from 23 September 2017.
[http://www.museums.eastriding.gov.uk/treasure-house-and-beverley-art-gallery/]

If you find a hidden gem of an exhibition please share it below.

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8 comments for “Get familiar with your local gallery

  1. 11 July 2017 at 1:48 pm

    This exhibition has been touring awhile and I was amazed when it showed up in neighbouring Devonshire. Original prints from one of photography’s greats a stone’s throw from where I get my photographs printed !! I even managed to persuade my printer who had never heard of Blossfeldt to come along … the same gallery has more recently shown work by Roger Mayne https://wordpress.com/post/amanostudy.wordpress.com/8845 providing an alternative view to that shown simultaneously at The Photographers Gallery.

    • Andrea
      18 July 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks Amano, the Roger Mayne exhibition looks good too – hoping that tours near by soon.

  2. 11 July 2017 at 5:27 pm

    This is so true! There’s a range of small galleries around the predominantly rural county I live in, and making a point of regular visits has shown be a real mixture – some wonderful work amidst other things which make me wonder about the artist’s ego and the market for some things. All good food for thought.

    • Andrea
      18 July 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks Jennifer – the key is to be open minded I think and that way you can’t be disappointed.

  3. 14 July 2017 at 8:44 am

    Agreed! I wrote the following blogpost a while ago encouraging people to make friends with their local gallery which makes as similar point, but in terms of the regionally held permanent collections: https://weareoca.com/fine-art/in-praise-of-the-permanent-collection/

    • Andrea
      18 July 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks for the reminder on your post Bryan – I remember reading it at the time. The compare and contrast exercise is really good to do for students of all disciplines.

  4. Roger Sidney
    14 July 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I once visited a local library whilst on holiday in Bulgaria and in the reception were the most exquisite Japanese watercolours I have ever seen – simple looking paintings but very complex in method of execution.
    Unfortunately I was not able to take away any details of the artist, nor a photo!

    • Andrea
      18 July 2017 at 4:26 pm

      It is great when you stumble on exhibitions when away. My first experience of this happening was in Helsinki as a teenager. There was a show featuring Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol among others. Never forgotten the impact this show had on me and my interest in art.

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