'DRAWN' - Joint Exhibition with Toby Rainbird-Webb at the ICE Space.
21 - 27 March 2017.
For a year and a half, me and Toby Webb have been going to public spaces and drawn. These drawings are not so much about the setting, the environment or people, but more to do with a raw satisfaction of the action of drawing. The tools we used were varied, from charcoal, graphite and traditional materials, to more graphic pens and even ink. After amassing a considerable amount of these drawings, we wanted a perfect gallery to convey intimacy and the material quality of these drawings. Traditionally, drawing is never seen as the end product- this exhibition was not supposed to deny this, however, we wanted to show our artwork as a process, as conversation. Ultimately, we agreed that the idea of drawing was the closest the art viewer could get to our own thought processes and the gesture and action of the artists hand.
Moreover, drawing takes up a massive part of my practice, having particularly looked at John Berger's book 'Bento's Sketchbook', (2015) I was inspired to purely use drawing - something I find hard to fit next to other medias that I use, such as photography, and hard to force to stand on its own as a media. Berger maintains the impulse to draw is an instinctive desire to understand how things work around us:
"There is a symbiotic desire to get closer and closer, to enter the self of what is being drawn"
Finding a space, advertising, funding and setting up.
The perfect gallery space was the ICE Space in Bath. The reason why we chose this was clear: it is only about 6 metres squared - a former toll bridge booth at the outskirt of the city centre. The small space was perfect to convey an intimate atmosphere.
We achieved funding via a crowdfunding page- we appealed to both family members and friends, as well the public- the target was £150, which we luckily exceeded, and achieved £213. This covered the cost of the gallery space and all the materials needed to finish the set up: mounts, tape, hanging hooks, etc. The full list of costs can be found at the bottom of this document.
Click this image to view the crowdfunding page.
After securing funds, the most important part was the advertisement.
We secured this in several different ways:
- Advertising on Visual Arts South West: http://www.vasw.org.uk/events/drawn-ellen-weeks-toby-rainbird-webb.php
- Advertising on the university website: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/20170317-drawn-exhibition/
- Most importantly: participating in a podcast talking about the exhibition and drawing. We contacted a regular presenter who was very willing for us to talk about our show, in return for us advertising his podcast company. 'Thinking Out Loud' allowed us to express our ideas about drawing, as well as producing the best way of advertising our exhibition.
Finally, several decisions had to be made with regards to the presentation. As we had a lot of pieces, we decided that many small works would go into plastic protection sleeves and placed on a rack/table surface. This allowed the audience to leaf through them without damaging. We hung four A0 works and two A1. The main decision made here was that we did not want frames or glass, as this separates the viewer from the work. The way that we hung these, was by backing and on an innovative cord line hanging system, that ensured that the walls were not damaged. The last element was pricing - which we decided: small unmounted- £15, large unmounted £20, A0 mounted: £60, A1 mounted: £45. The idea was that the show would be affordable, accessible and down to earth, nothing out of reach or overly expensive for a general public, seeing as producing the drawings was not too expensive.
Critical Reflections: good, bad and improvements needed.
In my opinion, this is the most successful exhibition that I have participated in, not only because it is a joint show (not a group show), but because of the sheer effort put into the funding, advertising and invigilating. It was an extremely large body of work that was succinctly summed up in this small space- conveying intimacy. The most successful part, for me, was watching the viewers as the could leaf through each drawing - the smallest being 5 x 4 cm, as the drawings were producing exactly the effect I wanted.
I learnt about the sheer amount of effort involved in the advertising and fund raising, as well as the instalment of the work- which I would say accounts for 70% of how the work comes across. There were subtle things that I would change, for example, the drawings were sometimes too light to hang on the cords so had to be fastened with masking tape. Also, I would have liked to have taylored the mount frames better to the size of the larger works (the mounts hid parts of the work as they were too broad)
Although we publicised both the fund raising and the event through different sites, there was still a lack of knowledge of the event. In the future, I would want the exhibition in Bristol, and plan more months ahead to really give momentum.
Here is a link with a gallery of all the works at the show: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2LenMPdNdkRbDA3em1BZHBIR2M