William Martin’s ‘Sketch for Community,’ the new exhibition at the Art Shed Gallery

The Art Shed Gallery is proud to present its latest exhibition, featuring the artist William Martin.

William rereads ceramics with contemporary eyes. More than forlorn decorative objects, the artist’s porcelain vessels are an integral part of social and cultural networks. These artifacts are not simply objects but agents themselves, fostering in their surrounding communities a common sense of belonging. Sketch for Community juxtaposes this quaint craft with a new set of portraits by the artist. Based on pictures stored in social media websites, the portraits are traces of a new form of social interaction that govern our contemporary lives. However virtual, these new networks bond people in traditional relationship structures, especially the friendship. A relationship that is marked by a certain precariousness (with the possibility of being destroyed, or “unfriended” in a simple click), whilst being utterly strong. A  condition that mimics the very make-up of the vessels.

Invitation to William Martin's exhibition

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Phil Dobson’s ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral’: you are invited!

These are the invitations and adverts for Phil Dobson’s exhibition opening this week at the Art Shed Gallery. Do not miss it!
Each communication material has been created by a group of pupils from Chestnut class in our last workshop.

Making Ourselves Known: Creating invitations and adverts for an art show

How do the public know about an exhibition? This week pupils learned about two different pieces of communication often employed by professional galleries: invitations and adverts.

What kind of information should an invitation contain? The children are well familiar with invitations to friends’ birthday parties and other school events, but should art shows be different? We stimulated the pupils to create their own invitations from scratch… or almost. They were challenged to use their own creativity, putting together words commonly found in invitations and other not so typical to this type of communication. The results were astounding! Some pupils preferred to invite us to a sleepover rather than an art show (or should it be an artistic sleepover?), while others created a tongue-in-cheek advert that reads “You are not invited to a party at the zoo… You are invited to the opening of…” See some of the results below:

Once the children were familiar with the practical information that an invitation or advert should contain (dates, address, artist name etc.), they were able to work on the real communication pieces for our next exhibition at the Art Shed Gallery! And just by looking several examples taken from reputable magazines such as Artforum, the pupils could easily incorporate a common art world “aesthetic”—of course, adding elements of playfulness that make these invitations extremely fresh.

Phil Dobson‘s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, at the Art Shed Gallery from 13 February to 17 March, will use this material as its official invitations.

Congratulations for all the effort and involvement, Chestnut Class! Your communication pieces would impress any advertisement professional!

If We Could Make History is now open!

Yesterday saw the inauguration of our second pupil exhibition at the Art Shed Gallery. The children were in a festive mood and the room ablaze with energy and high spirits as they danced and sang to music. There was a palpable excitement in the air as we distributed the certificates; the pupils impatient to enter the gallery. Many of the children were eager to cut the opening ribbon to the exhibition. We decided on randomly picking a name from the certificates; Enes’ name was called out and given that it was also his birthday that week, the honour was timely. The children’s elation and joy at seeing their work displayed was indeed inspiriting to view. They were particularly thrilled to watch their finished animation, which Lisa our participating artist had made into a rolling film. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lisa again for her involvement in the project. Throughout the afternoon, we welcomed many parents, children and teachers in what was a sterling turnout, despite the inclement weather. We look forward to more visitors over the next few weeks.

If We Could Make History is open until the 1st of February 2014

If We Could Make History Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

If We Could Make History Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Writing Art and Faking History: our final workshop with Year 6

This week saw the last of the workshops with the pupils. Today’s objective was for the pupils to write their own history, thus completing the exhibition content which also includes animation films, plasticine models, collages and photography under the Olympic theme. We began the class with a warm up session to inspire the pupils: a quick presentation comprising examples by artists who explored the notion of creating history. The examples by Walid Raad and the Atlas Group, Micheal-Craig Martin and the Yes Men, investigated the twin concepts of truth and history: how we are so ready to assimilate that which is presented to us as ‘the truth’; what makes something credible; and how anything, if presented to us in a way which is familiar and recognisable, can instantly be accepted as the truth. After the presentation, the children who were visibly inspired quickly set to work with their ‘almost but not quite true’ newspaper-style articles on the Olympics theme. There were some brilliant stories: Usain bolt struck by lightening, a near miss from a Terrorist attack by the Mafia; a granny who accidentally cycled into the velodrome during a race, only to win it. We look forward to putting up the exhibition which promises to be truly wonderful.

Congratulations for all the effort and involvement Oak Class! You created incredible works!

Coming up next: the unveiling of Year 6’s exhibition If We Could Make History.

Making history Part II

This week’s workshop was pretty much a repeat of the previous week’s. The children created or finished modelling their plasticine characters, and photographed frame by frame sequences of the narratives. Whilst keeping to the theme of the Olympics, a plethora of characters in a riot of colours abounded – Usain Bolt, an alien athlete, a magician athlete, and the original ancient Greek competitors against the back-drop of Mont Olympus were just some examples of the children’s creativity. There was a lot of excitement as the narratives were played out whilst the pupils who were comfortable with using a camera snapped away. After the frames were photographed, the children moved onto making display cases to exhibit their characters, painting and decorating their boxes as we inch ever closer to the unveiling of their exhibition.

Coming up next week: the pupils write history!

Making history: Our second workshop with Lisa O’Donnell

Following their extremely positive reception of Lisa’s work last week, the Oak class pupils were looking forward to this session, where they would create animation stills that would form the basis of the films. We began the session with a quick recap of the previous week, then Lisa showed an example of an animation film she had produced. There were some excited gasps; one pupil even expressed astonishment (“wow–are we really going to make all that?”).

Working on the theme of the Olympics, pupils had an open book in terms of the characters and narratives they wanted to create. Divided into groups of 6, the children each produced their own character using plasticine clay, which comprised athletes of various descriptions (including a wizard and an alien). Using a range of backdrop imagery provided, they developed the overall themes and narratives between themselves. Once a structure for the narrative was agreed, we shot a sequence of stills. Pupils with previous experience using animation were in demand, either through relaying their own experiences, or providing advice to the rest of the class. There was a good division of labour amongst the groups; some would assist others with developing their characters, whilst those pupils more adept at using plasticine would help with producing backdrops such as a podium and medals. It was great to see so much initiative as it was teamwork. A few pupils took to the camera and conducted the photography of each still with panache–David Baileys in the making!

Coming up next week: more animation and painting of the display boxes, as we near completion of the films.

What is History? Our first workshop with Year 6 and Lisa O’Donnell

Wednesday saw our very first workshop with the new Year 6 pupils. Our collaborative theme this semester is ‘History’. Challenging in the breath of its scope, yet rich in its variety, history may not be the easiest of subjects to tackle, but it certainly makes for an interesting one. The aim is to encourage the pupils to think about the word itself: its etymology, how we define history–and indeed who defines it–, how history can sometimes repeat itself, and how the perception of an event can change with time. All this through the prism of art–from using the current artist exhibition Cyclical Narratives by Lisa O’Donnell as a starting point and inspiration to the pupils, to the final outcome of a pupil exhibition on different historical perceptions of the London 2012 Olympics.

There were three elements to Tuesday’s workshop: a warm-up to get the pupils in the right frame of mind; Lisa taking the pupils through her exhibition at the Art Shed Gallery, followed by a Q&A; the pupils being presented with various newspaper clippings of the Olympics written before, during or after the event, and from which they produced a collage based on the subject of their article.

We began the class with a light and entertaining warm up of Chinese Whispers. Some of the pupils looked visibly baffled (what does history and art have to do with Chinese Whispers?), but all were delighted. We pitted two groups against each other giving them  the same sentence. Neither of them got the sentence right. We used the the example to demonstrate how history changes according to the identity and nature of the teller, and with each successive retelling, and how sometimes, which was indeed the case with one of the groups, it is deliberately distorted.

Lisa then took the children through her exhibition. She explained how it was inspired by articles from the Irish Post from the 1970s/80s, and how, as an Irish national living in London today, she was interested in the history of the Irish diaspora in London. There were lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’; the story of two 80 year olds who married after being friends for over 40 years drew much interest, as did the sound of the on-screen animation. Lisa’s work was indeed a hit with the children!

Then, it was the children’s turn themselves. Visibly inspired after Lisa’s work, they set off with gusto producing their collages in groups. The room was hive of activity until the end of the class when 5 beautiful collages were presented. 

Coming up next week: the children produce their very own animation.

Cyclical Narratives Exhibition Activity Guide

Going to see Lisa O’Donnell’s exhibition? Grab our Cyclical Narratives Activity Guide in the gallery with several different types of activities around the show. There are exercises and games for children of all ages that can be done among friends or family. It’s a fun and instructive way to experience the show. We hope you enjoy it!