Tucked away in the Jewellery Quarter, the current exhibition is an opportunity to experience Birmingham’s art scene and the diverse styles and works from a range of artists. The pieces featured differ in style and content, a decision explained by the young curators, as they wished to explore the different styles of painting used by the artists in their pieces. This decision works well within the exhibition, as it not only celebrates the unique style of each artist, but it allows for a range of highly different works to be discussed and explored within the gallery.
Pieces ranged greatly within the exhibition, ‘self-portrait’, by artist Brian Fletcher uses vibrant colour and blurs boundaries between art and literature, quoting from Dylan Thomas’s poem Fern Hill on his piece. In addition to self-portraits, there are impressions of different locations; Brown Door by David Brammeld uses pastel to capture the character of in-animate places, whilst Lanzarote, Volcanic Layers by Frank Cook, uses mixed media. The exhibition also invites exploration of the process of painting, as John Davenport displays his sketchbook, where you can see the process that goes into his work and how he achieves his painting style, allowing a fascinating insight into the mechanics and inspiration behind his work. He even includes a section within the sketchbook for comments from the public, which provides an opportunity to actively engage with the artist himself.
The young curators – Lili Dreikhausen, Sophy Thomas, Emily Woolley and Lauren McInerney, gave a short speech during the event and not only spoke of their gratitude within being involved in the project, but an interesting insight into how the actual exhibition was constructed. They spoke of their active communication and open dialogue with the artists that were included in the selection and it was clear that each work was chosen and presented with a great amount of care and detail.
Other speeches stressed the importance and significance of engaging with the art world actively as a student and how the exhibition allows this opportunity for students to explore and experience art-work on a local scale. The exhibition successfully draws together the experience and passion of those who are studying art and those who create it, which results in a fresh, diverse and thoroughly engaging exhibition, appropriate for a range of different tastes.
RBSA’s Young Curators’ exhibition offers an opportunity to explore Birmingham artists at an intimate level and is a must-see for anyone with a passion for, or appreciation of art. The exhibition runs until Saturday 5th of May.
Words by Lottie Halstead