Over the weekend of the Nissen Hut exhibition in July we welcomed over 100 visitors, prompting many interesting conversations and fascinating feedback.
The artists were particularly interested in visitors’ thoughts on the exhibition; its location, the work produced, the project as a whole and the supporting material, such as the photographs and videos.
Many people loved the fact that the work was being displayed in the barn and saw this as an apt setting, with comments about the aesthetic of the space complementing the paintings perfectly. Along with the artworks, the farmer, a couple of his rams and his dog were present throughout the day, this added a personal touch to the exhibition and people seemed to really enjoy learning more about his involvement with the artists and his take on the work they were producing too.
I had worked on developing several different methods of collecting feedback from people which meant everyone had a chance to make comments. This included a series of games, a written questionnaire and an interview/conversational style questionnaire. People were particularly drawn to the ‘Guess the Weight of the Sheep’ game and this certainly was a great starting point for opening up conversations with our visitors!
There was a relaxed atmosphere in the barn, partly due to the location but perhaps mainly due to the artists being present in the space and available to the audience to ask questions and talk about their reaction to the work. What I found most interesting is that the conversations in the space became a part of the weekend and the overall experience of the exhibition, had we not been actively talking to people as they entered the space I don’t think we would have gained so much of an understanding of how people felt whilst viewing the work and visitors certainly welcomed the conversations to help interpret and understand the works more fully.
Of course these pieces can stand alone in their own right but because the project is so intrinsically linked to the process and the collaboration with the farmer, it truly came alive in this setting. It will be really exciting to see how the context of the gallery space changes how the work appears; I wonder what might become most prominent against the white walls of the gallery? I suspect it will have a much more polished feeling and the focus will shift towards the concepts, collaboration and artistic methods used. It would be fantastic to see as many people who were at the Barn Exhibition join us at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery to see the work in its new setting. It would be brilliant to hear some of the same people’s perspective on the work displayed in a different way. And there will be some more sheep visiting too! (Sheep will be there for one day only on 12th September – see you there!)