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‘NEWS FROM THE SUN’ – EXETER PHOENIX

Posted in: Latest News on Monday, May 20th, 2013

‘NEWS FROM THE SUN’ – EXETER PHOENIX

ADAM DIX | MARTIN FLETCHER SYSTEMS HOUSE
PETER MACDONALD
| CHARLIE TWEED

On the 1st May 2013 a group of year 10 GCSE Art students took a trip into Exeter City Centre to experience current contemporary art exhibitions and gather primary research for the next GCSE Art project ‘Identity, Future, Fantasy and Communication’.

We started at The Phoenix Art Centre, where we met  curator and gallery manager Matt Burrows who gave an in-depth talk about the current exhibition ‘News From the Sun’.

The exhibition brought together four artists (Adam Dix, Martin Fletcher Systems House, Peter Macdonald and Charlie Tweed) who, in a variety of ways, displayed an interest in subverted or obsolete modernity, referencing technology, architecture and design that offer up optimistic promises of a utopian future. Their work can be seen to explore a sense of nostalgia for the future through references that oscillate between the aesthetics of 20th century science fiction, cold war propaganda and fin-de-siècle modernity.

Students had time to view, photograph and sketch work that interested them, as well as gathering information about the four artists involved.

Students also viewed a new series of paintings by local artist Rebecca Turk-Richards called ‘Small Things’. Rebecca’s paintings intend to convey a playful engagement with the everyday, where memory and experience may inspire a series of jumbled moments that are translated into paint.

We then explored the newly refurbished Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery. This year the RAMM was playing host to the BP Portrait Award. The students examined the showcase of the very best in contemporary portrait painting from around the world. The exhibition presented outstanding and innovative new work in a variety of styles and approaches, from informal and personal studies of friends and family, to revealing paintings of famous faces. This year’s exhibition featured fifty-five works selected from 2,187 international entries. The students were amazed by the variety of portraits, discussing and examining which styles they enjoyed the most.

During our lunch in Northernhay Gardens, we discussed the exhibitions and our ideas for the new GCSE project.

After lunch we made our way down to our final gallery SPACEX. We spent time looking around the  current exhibition by British artist Katy Dove, ‘Thought Becomes Action’. Dove’s work can be interpreted as a kind of aesthetic essentialism, or the distillation of the everyday into fundamental shapes, sounds and colours. The students watched animated films alongside print based works.

Finally, students had the opportunity to explore the city of Exeter through photography, collecting photos to form the basis of new project.

We had a fantastic day, with amazing weather. Students were encouraged and excited by the standard and complexity of the themes running through the works they had seen.  We were able to take away new ideas, themes and primary research which will form the bases of the new project.

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