Selection and curation of BANA (Bath Area Network for Artists) members’ work.
Widcome Studios Gallery,
24 October – 4 November 2006
Comfortable Place, Upper Bristol Road, Bath
Exhibitors were Anthony Clark, Alison Harper, Amy Houghton, Janine McLellan and Lawrie Quigley.
The work submitted for any open submission exhibition is always eclectic. Looking through the submissions is the opening of a Pandora’s Box. You get what you’re given, like it or not, and you have to make a coherent exhibition from it. There were many routes that I could have taken, simply selected my favourite pieces, selected works from just one medium, selected works by just one artist or looked for common themes within the work. I did find quite a few reoccurring themes. There were numerous images related to domesticity – portraits of passive women (many drinking cups of tea), empty domestic interiors and the transformation of domestic objects into art objects. The natural world was a common theme as was the colour yellow.
Unsurprisingly a lot of textile related pieces were submitted but sadly there was little ceramic or sculptural work. Some of the artists had submitted three exceptionally strong works and I could easily have had a solo or two-person show but I wanted to make the show broader and, dare I say it, stranger than that. In the end I decided that I would use the theme of domestic textile production and try to create a dialogue between works by different artists, using different mediums. So there you have it, an exhibition of 7 works (across a range of scales), by 5 artists (3 female and 2 male) at various stages of their artistic careers, in 4 mediums (animation, hand embroidery, hand knitting and painting). An idiosyncratic exhibition of strange and wonderful works that I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to select. It is always a privilege to see the work of other artists close at hand, especially when you are entrusted with decisions about it.
Several of the pieces I would like to own, one of them I will own and some frighten me so much that I am very glad not to own them. Which is which, is for you to decide. Rather perversely, I did not select my favourite piece. What that was, and who it was by, I will leave to your imagination.
(Essay by Freddie Robins from Partial View catalogue)