Florence Peake’s RITE is a layered reinterpretation of a monument in Modernism’s history: Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, composed in 1913 for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, the original performance is notorious for the riot it provoked on the first night, when theatregoers apoplectic with anger had to be forcibly removed. Peake’s take, though, has little to do with those mythological beginnings. Instead, it taps into The Rite of Spring’s vital force, lending it a renewed sense of urgency. Continue reading
14th May – 6th June 2017
Cass Sculpture Foundation and West Dean College
With thanks to Arts Council England.
West Dean College and Cass Sculpture Foundation are pleased to announce Florence Peake as the 2017 CASS artist-in-residence. This May, Peake will be resident at West Dean College for three weeks, making use of the incredible studio facilities, resources and technical expertise available at both the college and at CASS to create a new body of ceramic work inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s musical score The Rite of Spring. With the assistance of dancer Rosemary Lee, Florence Peake plans to choreograph a routine to be performed on a stage of raw clay. Through grabbing, pushing and pulling the clay, Rosemary will form violent eruptions on the surface to echo the dramatic score of The Rite of Spring. As a result, the surface of the clay will become an abstract documentation of this performance and a sculptural interpretation of Stravinsky’s composition. The clay stage will subsequently be divided into tiles to be fired in the wood-fired kiln at CASS. Continue reading
A few weeks back, the Visual Arts students and a few staff members made their annual visit to West Dean College’s neighbours at CASS Sculpture Foundation. As well as having time to tour the grounds and see the latest display of large-scale sculptures by artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, James Capper, Tony Cragg and Tania Kovats, we were also given access to the CASS archive. Having the chance to look through the stored collection of large-scale drawings and works on paper, together with maquettes relating to previous commissions, is always a particular privilege and an experience that feeds directly into the practices developing back in the Studios at West Dean. At the same time, we were given a brief tour around the temporary exhibition in the Main Gallery, combining with separately commissioned works by UK artist, Alex Hoda. Continue reading
Last week, as part of introductory sessions into various materials and methods, London-based artist Caroline de Lannoy conducted a workshop on colour theory. Combining a lecture on colour and light with a series of workshop-based exercises, as well as individual tutorials, Caroline focused on process, analysis and the application of colour theory to work students are currently developing. As well as full-time Visual Arts students, across all disciplines of Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Tapestry and Textile Art, the two sessions were attended by three full-time students from West Dean’s renowned Furniture Conservation programmes.
One of our guests, Graduate Diploma student Yuqi Chock, has written a post for the West Dean Conservation blog, which she has kindly allowed us to repost here:
The Furniture Conservation students were recently invited to join a two-day workshop on ‘Colour Theory’, organised by the Visual Arts department and taught by Caroline de Lannoy.
Caroline presented an engaging introductory lecture on the topic, providing a comprehensive explanation on how we perceive and depict colour. She spurred us into contemplating issues of human interaction with colour, such as the psychological effect colour has on the human brain, and the sensations and emotions it arouses in us. Even more exciting (to me at least) was the alleged correlation between the seven colours of the spectrum and the musical scale – a notion supported by Newton!
We were also introduced to recent research linked with the perception of colour, such as the work of Semir Zeki, a Professor of Neuroesthetics at UCL (see his book Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain). Professor Zeki’s fascinating research expounds that all colour is constructed by the human brain, and that the colours we “see” do not actually exist in the external world. This makes complete sense, when you think of people with colour blindness, or animals who view colour in a different way to what we identify as normal colour vision.
Following the lecture, we participated in painting exercises, experimenting with mixing pigments using the three primary colours of red, yellow and blue to develop, in effect, an infinite palette of colours. We learnt how to achieve warm or cool colours by throwing a touch of yellow or white into the colour compound, and how to de-saturate colour by sneaking in some grey or a complementary colour into the mix of pigments. Useful stuff!
Having understood how to generate specific colours, we then proceeded with attempts to colour match various stained wood and veneer slices that we had brought along to the workshop.
At the end of the workshop we all came away with a greater appreciation of the complexities of colour, and an increased confidence to create, as Caroline is fond of saying, “our own colours” from the basic pigments of blue, yellow and red, rather than rely on the standard available pigments.
A big thank you to the Visual Arts department for hosting us!
George Charman – Artichoke House
20 September – 30 November 2014
West Dean College
George Charman, recent Artist-in-Residence at West Dean College, presents Artichoke House, an interpretation of a pavilion conceived by Edward James and drawn up by architect Christopher Nicholson circa 1936. Working from original drawings held in the Edward James Cultural Archive, as well as taking inspiration from the concrete forms James built at ‘Las Pozas’ (Xilitla, Mexico), Charman’s installation proposes a renewed engagement with an unrealised structure. As such, Artichoke House is concerned with reviewing a surreal proposition as a means of exploring the ontological relationship between image and object. More info.
Collective at the Jerwood Gridshell
11-14 September 2014
Jerwood Gridshell, Weald and Downland Museum
Artists associated with the West Dean Visual Arts department, including current students, alumni and visiting tutors, will be exhibiting at the Jerwood Gridshell. The artists include: Anne Alldread, George Charman, Lotti V Closs, Peta Devine, Nicola Ferrie, Pernille Fraser, Jane Fremantle, Sarah Heenan, Margaret Jones, Jill Laudet, June Ngan, Beth Neal, Diane Palin, Rebecca Partridge and Martina Salvin
George Charman and Jane Fremantle at West Dean Open House
6-7 September 2014
West Dean House
As part of the West Dean Open House 2014, artist-in-residence George Charman and recent graduate Jane Fremantle exhibited work in the house at West Dean. Charman exhibited a scale model and drawing of his forthcoming pavilion installation Artichoke House. Jane Fremantle exhibited two stone carvings produced whilst a student on the Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts at West Dean College. More information on Jane Fremantle’s sculpture can be found here.
Graduating students from the full-time Visual Arts programmes are currently exhibiting a selection of their work at the Embassy Tea Gallery, London. The exhibition presents work by students graduating from the Graduate Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma and the MFA, and includes stone-carving, painting, printmaking, ceramics, hand-woven tapestry, and sculpture.
Full details can be found here.
At the beginning of May, the full-time Visual Arts students presented Line and Form, an fundraising exhibition of prints, drawings, ceramics, sculpture and objects. Both the private view and the public opening were a great success – all proceeds raised go towards the production and development of two Summer Shows in West Dean and East London, as well as toward the MA exhibition in September. Further details of all these exhibitions can be found here.
We would like to thank all those who contributed original artworks to the exhibition, including Michael Brennand-Wood, Maz Jackson, Marcus Rees Roberts, Amy George, Nicolas Feldmeyer, George Charman, Vernon Tong, Su Hue Kim, Alison Sandeman and Frances Hatch.