The minute we brought the artworks (finished and works-in-progress) into the barn for our pop-up exhibition last weekend, it was obvious that they were in their natural home.
Works inspired by the farm, now exhibited in the lambing barn, seemed to find their perfect home. The interplay between the beautiful old walls, subtle tones of bricks, plaster, concrete, all mixed in with good doses of aerosol spray paint (from marking up the new born lambs with their ewes), traces of straw and sheep poo became as important to the context of work as the ink, gouache, gesso and other media used in the artworks themselves!
This temporary exhibition’s aim was to bring the gallery to the farm, enabling members of the local Blackdown Hills community and others from further afield to enjoy an exhibition in an unconventional rural environment. The exhibition comprised a mixture of framed completed collaborative works on paper and board, together with paper works-in-progress, edited video footage of the sheep flock’s activities collected via webcams (another blog to come soon about this specifically), a drawing machine in a sheep pen, working away at drawing throughout the show and also interactive film footage for visitors to develop into a collaborative drawing. It really was a true taster of our collaborative works and methods.
And of course, a couple of Tony’s prize pedigree rams completed the exhibition on both days – here’s one at the end of the day ready for some grass in the field again!
Our exhibition coincided with the South West Airfields Heritage Trust’s military celebration weekend, so we welcomed plenty of visitors perfectly in role in 1940’s gear – lots of art enthusiasts too who were fascinated to find out more about the works and exhibition. Some great conversations about our methods, project aims and the resulting artworks were had and Sara’s figurative painting based on Sedgemoor Livestock Market provided clues to visitors about the theme of the more abstract collaborative works. Do these auctioneers know how instantly recognisable they are from the backs of their legs?!
Having the participatory video running beside the full-size artworks enabled visitors to understand very clearly the connection between the works and the sources we use. Many people were fascinated to learn about the relationships between the farmer, sheep and dogs which the artworks explore and reinterpret and also how and why we extract aspects of the video to create the works.
Visitors left with sheep-faced badges, and Thelma Hulbert gallery brochures containing details of our forthcoming solo exhibition there – we hope to see some of our barn exhibition visitors there next.