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April seems to be the month for exhibitions: visiting, curating and exhibiting. It’s easy to feel too busy to take a day out and trek up to London to look at what’s new in some of the smaller avant-garde galleries or to appreciate the Picasso blockbuster show at Tate Modern.  But making the effort this month led me to the Royal Academy Schools interim postgraduate show and Sadie Coles HQ Gallery to see Marvin Gaye Chetwynd’s witty, theatrical assemblages of awkwardly constructed objects against digital prints which challenged my thinking.  Both exhibitions included print, notably digital, often as a backdrop to, or combined with, paint, textiles and objects.  I found them both a rich source of ideas on how to present work and how to use the exhibition space to create a coherent narrative. They also gave me some ideas on how I might use the large scale digital printer now available at Ochre studios.

Salamander, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd



Digital print of foil from the RA Schools Interim Exhibition                             This week I am helping William Pullen to hang his exhibition Watercolours of Crete at the Physic Garden Room in Petersfield from Thursday, April 26th until May 1st. A graduate from Edinburgh University, William has spent many hours drawing in the garden, as well as recently developing a parallel career as a gardener working in herbaceous border design, renovation and maintenance. His deep fascination with the processes of growth, ageing, change and decay in nature and landscape are evident in this suite of work, which focuses on trees, verdant landscapes and fruit. It feels particularly fitting that they should be shown together within a walled garden space surrounded by trees.

All are most welcome at the preview on Thursday from 4pm and at the same time, why not make a visit to the Petersfield Physic Garden which is open to the public without charge. Created in the 17th century, the plants were considered to contain medicinal properties. Generally the beds are of a defined geometric shape and laid out in a formal pattern. In addition to these formal herb beds, planted with such things as Woad (Isatis tinctoria), Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) and Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), there is a topiary walk, a knot garden, an informal orchard with wild flowers and a rose arch. The 17th Century was also a time when many plants were introduced from the New World and there are borders planted with shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants which would have been familiar at that period.

You may also have seen in last week’s Coffee Break newsletter that a few of us curated an exhibition of Ochre Print Studio works at the Yehudi Menuhin Concert Hall in Stoke d’Arbernon. Sometimes it can be difficult to make decisions about where a work will look best, particularly if the artist is part of the team.  With Annee’s leadership, decisions were made quite swiftly and without conflict so we were able to concentrate on hanging the work and removing fingermarks in time to get away before the London rush hour hit the A3.

Dicing with death, straightening Emma Tabor’s screenprint.