Open Day

Open Day is a chance for prospective students to visit the Visual Arts department, find out more about the various Graduate and Postgraduate programmes, tour the studios and facilities, as well as to meet staff and students. Information about funding support, accommodation and study options will be available.

Saturday 3 February 2018, 10am – 2pm.

Please register here.

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One-day Symposium at West Dean College

One-day symposium at West Dean College

Friday 26 January 2018, 11am-6pm

Reflecting the resurgence of craft and skills-based making in art over the past decade, this one-day symposium explores common ground between contemporary art and studio ceramics. Emphasising the commonalities between artist and craftsperson, the event focuses on practical, theoretical, and professional aspects of working with clay, embodied in its malleability and resistance – its plasticity.

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Artist-in-Residence Exhibition

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

Florence Peake: CASS/West Dean Residency

Florence Peake ‘The Keeners’, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and commissioned by SPACE.         Image credit Tim Bowditch.

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

Visiting Our Neighbours: CASS Sculpture Foundation

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

Workshop: Colour Theory with Caroline de Lannoy


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!




Exhibition News

George Charman, Artichoke House (1:100 scale model), Laser-cut plywood with acrylic paint, 35 x 57.5 x 39 cm

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.

Rebecca Partridge, Cube Octahedron, Ceramic 25 × 25 x 25 cm
Rebecca Partridge, Cube Octahedron, Ceramic
25 × 25 x 25 cm

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

Jane Fremantle, installation preparation. West Dean house 2014
Jane Fremantle, West Wing and East Wing (in progress), West Dean House 2014

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.