Post date 14/11/22 (show halfway through)
Documenting here the Crypt, St Ives exhibition ‘Sticks and Bones’ reflecting on the process of putting the show together. The show was a group show, with 4 artists running from 12th November to 18th November 2022. We ran marketing for the show as well as hanging it. Our core audience was other artists alongside visitors staying in and around St Ives.
Theme: ‘Sticks and Bones’ . The theme was designed to accommodate figurative and landscape work. Here was the show descriptor that I wrote:
“The theme of our exhibition is Sticks and Bones. This has come out of the nature of our practice as a group of artists with diverse approaches. We first all came together in the Life Room and as such we are showing work that has come out of that practice. In addition, the show draws on work that we have made in the landscape, focusing our collective attention away from the coasts towards Cornwall’s woodlands; some of us painting plein air, others taking visual notes and working in the studio.”
Each artist wrote about how their work related to the theme;
“Sticks and Bones is a phrase full-on resonance for my practice. Not only because my work increasingly brings the figurative into the landscape, but as my current work has focused on the visual languages of folk horror. The work that I made for the show includes the use of animation and installation work and gravitates around making objects animate. Moving sticks and bones is therefore based on what I see as our current dire need to see the environment once more as ‘being’, alive and in need of human care. My work seeks to show that ‘life’ – in the widest sense – is critically contingent, not confined to the human sphere, and is generated miraculously from a fragile confluence of diverse circumstances.” TK
The theme grew out of our shared life room practice (for the past 8 years), including the work we had done recently at Emily Ball’s course (the large figurative work) as well as group visits to Cornish woodlands. Group cohesion certainly added to the coherence of the theme, realised in the way we hung the show and guiding what we chose to include.
Marketing: Posted daily running up to the show on Instagram and FB. Used some small videos to give a flavour of the show. What we didn’t do is notify the local press, which we could have done given the novelty of the AR in the show (the first AR at The Crypt for eg). As we could only book the gallery for a week, visitor feedback didn’t have time to build as it might have done. Posts from visitors were reposted. We’ll try to book somewhere for longer next time although The Crypt is a good venue for us in terms of location.
Hanging/Show Design: an application of the principle of making some rules and then playing within the spaces that those rules make (a rule I’m convinced works in most situations). While the theme provide the main ‘rule’ the hanging ‘rule’ was to group the work in terms of colour theme. To make sure that there was size & mark-making diversity across the colour zones. The video of our life drawing needed to be in a dark corner to be visible (not that successfully achieved because of the reflective light) and the AR installation work needed grouping together.
Audience Feedback Keeping a comments book and asking people to write it in has helped with this!
Personal Learning What I put into the show was instructive of some kind of buried logic that must’ve been going on with me. Sticks and Bones worked very well with my folk horror focus, but what I learned most was that the AR work seems to really engage people and genuinely surprised them. It has convinced me that I am right to look at digital components in my work. Also, the feedback on the large collage piece reinforces my sense that’s a good way forward. My work is quite specific in its imagery – illustrative/storytelling, but what I’d like to build into that is more ambiguity, and more painterliness. I’ll go back to looking at Austin Spare’s automatic drawings and his pastel work. I don’t want to lose the storytelling element but can I make the work more interesting from a ‘mark-making’ perspective. I’ve got a couple of conversations booked in with two NSA artists during the rest of the show which I hope might help develop a way forward with this. I’ve included images and videos of the AR & haptic work on my AR work post: 2S2 AR (doll house AR) & haptic work (desk).
The show was extended for two extra days; more time to engage with audience members. Inspiring but also exhausting! We had over 200 people through the door, not too bad for a Cornish rainy windy week in November.
One of the doll house had around 174 views (artivive records the views per month) and there were 740 overall views this month at the show (perhaps 30 of these test viewings). The Cornfield painting had 116 views.
I’m recording the visitor book comments below (without email addresses and names – collected for those wanting to know more].
“Best artwork in St Ives today! Can’t wait to seem more of your work in future”
“loved this exhibition, winter vibes, exciting and very interesting!
“Some lovely eclectic work, Very inspiring”
“Inspiring and exciting definitely a winter vibe!
“Lovely exhibition, Great work”
“Amazing exhibition & a really enchanting collection of art – feelike walking through a spooky forest”
“Amazing throughout so lovely to see you amazing work all”
“I love this show”
“Some amazing work, love the digital work”
“Fabulous show well done all”
“Well done everyone, great show”
“Very interesting and varied”
“Lovely varied responses very inspiring”
“Beautiful hang, beautiful work – lovely flow to colours and themes and LOVE the interactive elements’
“Really fresh and exciting definitely magic vibesm keep making”
“absolutely exquisite works, could spend endless hours in here”
“Wonderful work, very inspiring!
“Beautiful revelations and reflections memorable”
“Love the variety and inventiveness”
“Really enjoyed your work – all of it! So nice to see real work rather than pretty views”
these artists… “are the most talented artists…are constantly pushing themselves and adapting..it’s a joy to see their work and be inspired by them”
“wonderful and varied exhibition – hope to come back for a longer time this week and to spread the word. Four contrasting artists – but all somehow complementary”
“Fantastic work! Beautiful show complementary contrasts”
“Absolutely brilliant show Made my day and probably my week too Nice to see something different and very inspiring”
“Just fabulous! So inspiring. Thank you for everything”
“Love this Very well put together pleasing combo of styles”
“What a fab show. All the work looks so great together. Well done all”
“Lovely array of texture and colour”
“Inspiring work – love the dolls hous with augmented reality and the sketch books”
“What a beautiful lace and spuch inspiring art – thank you so much”
“A burst of light and colour and inspiration on a grey day”
“Beautiful work weool done very talented”
“Inspiring and evocative. Great concertina sketchbooks”
“very interesting and thought provoking”
“great exhibition and the augmented reality is really innovative really novel loved the special effects on Tanya’s pieces of art, and I love the witch paintings”
“Fabulous exhibition very fresh and different Love it!”
” Thanks I enjoyed this wonderful exhibition”
“Wonderful show love all of its full of delights and inspiration the beauty of nature”
The comment are interesting as many suggest that the exhibition as a whole was well hung and interesting, despite the fact there are four of us. It was good to see how inpsired peopel were and their interest and astonishment in some cases regarding the AR. Many of the people who came were other artists, perhaps more than half (a handin for an open exhibition at the St IVes Society of Artists upstairs in the same building helped with this!)
What would we do different next time?
More publicity before hand – get on to Tik Tok to broaden our reach. More info about the artists in the room (we didn’t photocopy enough flyers). Make sure that any further shows has something novel. Try to find a better time of the year.
thank you xx