During the period of the 11th-17th June 2018, I, as a member of a small committee, organized and hung our Interim MA Painting Show, 62 Hands, at Lewisham Arthouse Gallery. I produced two pieces of work for the show (Figs. 1 & 2) despite knowing that I could only exhibit one. I decided upon an enlarged version of one of the sketches in the Acceptance series that I had recently completed (Fig. 1). However, instead of using paper as before, on this occasion I chose MDF board, as this had been a material that I had long been keen to experiment with. The surface proved very effective in translating the image, however, if I were to use MDF again, I would apply more layers of gesso primer in order to produce an even finer surface.
Fig. 1 Fig. 2
Acceptance 3 Acceptance 4
Oil and pencil on board Watercolour
The organizing and hanging of the show proved to be both an exciting and protracted task. The thirty-one works of art varied enormously, and although everyone’s work adhered to the maximum 30.5 X 30.5cm size restriction, it still proved difficult to place all the pieces, due to its diversity of colour and texture. One particular example of this was my fellow student, Ben Pollock’s piece (Fig. 3).
Ben had requested that the painted sculpture hang in the air, away from the wall. Although this initially presented a challenge, with help from artists’ and teachers’, Geraint Evans and Simon Callery, combined with much experimentation, it was finally decided that the work would hang centrally. This seemed particularly appropriate, as the piece was a replica of the Lewisham Arthouse studio in which our own work was hanging. Placing the remaining thirty works proved similarly challenging, and it was a case of trial and error to decide how best to utilize the available space (Figs. 4 & 5).
After experimenting with two of the four walls, it was decided to use only one of the walls in the room, on which a grey rectangle-like shape, but with curved edges, was painted (Fig. 6). Once the background was decided upon, the only thing left was to decide where to place the remaining works (Fig. 7).
My painting presented its own minor challenge. As I had not had an opportunity to add a wooden support to the back of the MDF board, it was necessary to add two metal supports on each side of the board. Although it was a quick solution to the problem, it was hardly ideal, and for the MA show in September I will prioritize adding the supports before applying paint on to the board. Below (Fig. 8) is a photograph of myself painting the metal supports so they were suitably camouflaged.
After two days of nailing, drilling and painting, the show was finally hung (Fig. 9).
Although the hanging of the show was critical, equally pressing was the promotion of 62 Hands, and a lot of effort was focused on publicizing the exhibition. It was also essential that there was an image for the invitation and press release, alongside a catalogue for the evening. Shaun Coates, another fellow student on the MA Painting course, had previous experience in graphic design, and so he was tasked with designing the image and the poster. There was much debate amongst the committee as to which image was best to use and what colour scheme to follow, some suggestions and mock-ups can be seen below (Fig. 10).
Ultimately, it was decided to go with a less vibrant colour scheme, and to write ’62’ numerically in order to make it clearer (Fig. 11). It was also decided to have coloured writing in order to contrast more significantly with the background.
As soon as the poster had been decided upon, we were able to send out invitations to potential attendees and to publicize the event on social media. This included utilizing platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to circulate the information, taking turns to post on them regularly. Following this, the next step was to create a catalogue.
It was decided that each student would write sixty words about their current practice which would be included next to a photograph of the work they were exhibiting. Fellow student, Anna Pogudz, then collected the pieces and transformed it into a neatly organized, informative booklet, two pages of which can be seen below (Fig. 12).
The show proved to be highly enjoyable (Fig. 13) and successful, and gained both the Wimbledon MA painting course and each student partaking some exposure. It also offered an insight into how best to hang and organize an exhibition. One particular aspect which proved most significant was the importance of time management and punctuality. It also gave us the opportunity to work as a group and learn each other’s particular skills – be it graphic design through to curating. The experience will inevitably work in our favour when preparing for, and hanging, the MA degree show this coming September.