In this week’s blog, David Rhodes – Lead Programmer at Project Art Works – talks about ‘In the Realm of Others’; their new exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. The show is a collaboration between Project Art Works and the Pavilion which intends to question perceptions about the process of art making. Over forty-five large and small-scale paintings, drawings and sculptures – produced by fourteen makers with profound intellectual impairment – are presented in a living, evolving installation that offers a rare glimpse into the unknowable, creative states of being.
“I am Programme Lead at Project Art Works; an artist-led organisation that works with children, young people and adults who have complex needs on a wide range of projects that aim to improve the quality of their lives through personalised activities and the promotion of creative freedom. I was attracted to working with Project Art Works not only because of the work its team of artists do in supporting individuals to find and develop their own unique talents, but also because its programme explores some fundamental questions about art which I am also interested in such as – what can art be? What can it do? It seems to me that these questions are becoming more relevant as we strive for cultural inclusion in all its forms.
A year ago, I moved from being a curator at the De La Warr Pavilion to Project Art Works and I have carried on working on a collaboration that I initiated with Kate Adams, Director of Project Art Works, in 2013. We have just opened a new exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion, which is the culmination of this two-year collaboration. The exhibition was opened by Peter Bazalgette, Arts Council England Chair, and has attracted over 6,000 visitors in the first two weeks.
In the Realm of Others explores the creative process and decisions of fourteen makers with profound neurological impairment. Although many of them may not describe themselves as artists, creative production plays a significant and positive role in their lives. There are over forty-five large and small scale-paintings, drawings and sculptures in an installation that continuously changes throughout the duration of the exhibition. It is a choreographed navigation of the hidden worlds of Paul Colley, Albert Geere, Neville Jermyn, Eden Kötting, David Marriott, Louise Newham, Sharif Persaud, Michelle Roberts, Jonathan Rogers, Carl Sexton, Brian Simpkin, George Smith, Sam Smith and Daryl Spencer, revealed through recent works selected from the 4,000 held in Project Art Works’ collection.
With the tradition of thought provoking exhibitions at the Pavilion in mind we decided that we would create an environment within the main gallery space that was both an installation and also provided a studio space that the makers could inhabit, and make work within. It is also a space that the makers can control and reconfigure to suit their needs, enabled through the inclusion of mobile walls and racking systems in the design. Alongside the display of artworks on the gallery walls, this studio space provides the potential for live interactions between the gallery visitors and the makers.”
More about the exhibition: Periodically the makers have a presence in the gallery working with the artists that support them. The makers will next be creating works in the studio space on: October: 13,15,17,20,22,27,29 November: 3,5,8,10,12,17,19,22,24,26,28 The first two weeks of workshops have proved a great success and have included a group from Liverpool who came and stayed in Bexhill for a week specifically so that they could be involved. The exhibition also includes two new films by Project Art Works Lead Artist, Tim Corrigan – Modus Operandi and No Church in The Wild, which offer a rare glimpse into the unknowable, creative states of being of people who experience the world differently. There are two events at the Pavilion to accompany the exhibition: Symposium: Everyone an Artist? Investigating connections between Culture, Society and Health and Wellbeing Friday 30 Oct, 10am – 5pm Auditorium, tickets £20 Artists and Makers Talk Saturday 14 Nov, 2pm The exhibition continues until 29 November 2015. For more information, please click here to visit Project Art Works’ website. [Featured image courtesy of Nigel Green]