Natassja Barker is an exemplary student whose current interests are curving toward textiles and print. Her work is of excellent quality and her hopes are to go to university with the option of a year abroad. This is her first time blogging for the course and we asked her to discuss the trips we've been on so far. Watch Tasha's Art journey by following her instagram account: @natassjabarker
Within the first month of the course we have been on three trips organised by the Art department at college. Upon arriving at Sheffield on the 1st October we were given the instruction to visit three galleries that exhibited work that was part of Sheffield’s ‘Going Public’.
Whilst there, I attended the Millennium gallery, The Graves Gallery, Sheffield Cathedral and the Site Gallery. The City Wide exhibition brought together work from four European private collections. Each gallery approached presenting a collection in a different way, this was useful to me as an artist because our first brief was based around ‘collections’. It was interesting to see how each gallery was run and how their collections were curated within different gallery spaces.
|A detail of the immediately recognisable spoon sculpture in the foyer of Millenium Galleries|
On the 2nd October we visited Lincoln and were given the instruction ‘to collect’. We attended a talk from Ashley Gallant, curator at the Usher Gallery, he explained to us his role as a curator, his previous educational background and how he became to be a curator. We were taken around a closed part of the gallery which was in between changing exhibitions, I found it interesting to examine the inner workings of a gallery and what goes on behind the scenes. In my opinion this was the most beneficial part of the trip, even though it did not relate to my work directly, it opened my eyes to curating as a career option after higher education.
The most recent trip we attended was the Harley Gallery open studios day on the 7th October. Firstly, as a group, we visited the studios of Hope and Elvis run by Louise Presley. As an aspiring artist, I found listening to someone who runs a creative business inspiring in terms of how it is indeed possible to pursue a successful career in a creative subject. I was also stimulated by looking around real studios of artists in the real world outside of college. Whilst at the Harley Gallery, I also visited the studios of Phil Neal, a sculptor, and Natalie Harris, a jeweler. By conversing with both artists about different career and educational pathways it made me consider different options other than university after college such as apprenticeships and work experience. I think the aim of the trip was to make me think about my future in relation to what I would aspire to do after university – which it was successful in doing so – because of this, these kinds of trips are essential to an artist’s personal development, especially on the Art Foundation course.
Overall I believe visiting galleries, open studios and artist talks are essential in terms of understanding how art takes form in the real world. From learning how art is organised within a gallery through to understanding art as a means of business, it is important to visit galleries not only for the above, but because they provide a great source of inspiration for individual practice.