Reviewing Art

I read a lot of art exhibition reviews and art reviews in art publications, the cultural sections of newspapers, exhibition catalogues, books and online within a variety of websites.  They differ greatly in style, from academic to chatty and the ones I personally prefer are somewhere in between although the very academic style does challenge me to broaden my knowledge, which is no bad thing.

As an art student we are encouraged to critically analyse our own and our peers’ work, as well as visit exhibitions and take as much from them as we can.  I enjoy writing, I even signed up for a distance learning course many years ago and it was whilst doing that I realised it was the research and analytical style writing that I enjoyed but with the freedom to also include descriptive narrative.  During my time as a Fine Art student I have found that there is a place for exactly that style of writing.

I approached Birmingham based artists Repeator during their residency with Office for Art Design & Technology and asked if I could volunteer and participate in their four day event in April and write a review.  This has been a magnificent opportunity for me in

learning more about the work of Cathy Wade and Laurence Price of Repeator and see behind the scenes of setting up for a public event outside of the traditional white walls of a gallery.  All the artists’ involved and my course leader have supported and encouraged me to strengthen my thinking and writing and remained patient with my numerous edits!

My reflective review on the Repeator:Transmission event can be read on the a_n artist information website:




Art is ….

materials, is imagination, is thoughts, is conversations, is passion …

It’s about materials, imagination, passion. It’s about expression, a vehicle for the visual representation of the voice and the mind.  Well, for me these are the foundations of art.  Art has so many different representations and it can mean something different to the artist and to each spectator.

I really enjoy playing about with materials and I’ve always got a lot on my mind.  Combining both and reacting instinctively to the materials I have to hand can result in surprising results, rarely a finished project but part of a process that leads me on a journey of discovery and expression.

As part of (and co-founder) of an artists’ collective, The Shared Collective, I have been collecting materials that I would normally throw away.  Most of it is packaging material, plastic bags of air, cardboard, polystyrene.  All of this will become some of the materials that we will use next week when we recreate Leamington Spa as a collective.  The project began with a drift (walk) around a part of Leamington Spa which is set for regeneration as the new cultural quarter.  It is a rundown area at first viewing but there is no escaping the grand architecture and many clues to its history.  It is a part of the town rich in diversity and I am excited to see what amazing creation/s we form.  I shall be writing a full review on the project.

Over the last couple of days I have been reacquainting myself with plaster bandages and said ‘hello’ to my old friend Mandy Mannequin.  On my mind is the question of identity and technology.  Part way through day one I was joined by my other half, also an artist, and he suggested we worked collaboratively.  I confess it was a little difficult to agree as I’d already started the piece as a solitary endeavour – but what the heck – let’s give it a go!

As an artist Andy uses found and discarded objects, in particular computer parts.  Although his focus is more on the throw away society and mine is more focused on human behaviour, we both use technology within our practice as both material and medium.

As we were working with the plaster we talked about the relationship between humans and technology and how intrinsic technology is now within our lives.  We both wanted to represent a fusion of the biological and the technological – other than that there has been no ‘plan’.  We continue to have conversations as we follow the journey that the materials and our individual thoughts take us on.

It is too early to decide whether we are happy with how it is going, we have more work to do and a busy week ahead!  Here are some of the work in progress pictures –

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