Kotryna Knystautaite from St Oliver's Community College, and Niamh Woods from Our Lady's College, Greenhills, along with 10 other students have been working in partnership with the Highlanes Gallery in Drogheda and with the British Council as part of the 'In Sense of Place: Student Select' exhibition. The students involved have selected and curated an exhibition, which opens Friday the 25th of November 2017.
In Sense of Place: Student Select
A unique exhibition of iconic artworks selected from the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection and the British Council Collection selected and curated by Drogheda secondary school students.
In Sense of Place is supported by the British Council, Drogheda Credit Union, Drogheda-Bettystown-Trim. Highlanes Gallery’s ongoing funders are Louth County Council and the Arts Council.
The excitement has become a constant buzzing feeling inside all of us. A lot has happened in the past two weeks, but it was when the delivery truck came, the work we had put into this exhibition became a reality.
The artwork came in precise and ingeniously engineered, sky blue crates. Seeing the magnificent shade of blue increased our impatience to open them up. We learned about the specially modified lorry that transports artwork; the temperature must be kept at a constant 19 degrees celsius, to accustom the artwork to the gallerie’s climate. We also examined the padding on the inside walls of the truck and the cables used to hold the crates. We had to let the crates sit in the gallery for a few days, to allow the artwork to climatise. The excitement was heightened when the crates were unscrewed and the lid opened. Inside we saw the artwork comfortably and securely packaged in between specially designed foam as to avoid damage from movement. When all the artwork was opened we now could start to consider where to place the work for our exhibition.
We had already researched themes that could link the artwork together, but seeing them before us sparked other ideas and thoughts. I think it is the unexpected contrast between seeing a photo of the art and standing before it. Some of the pieces shocked us by their size or their vibrant colour. There was a never ending list of factors which we had to consider when hanging our show, we were all so excited despite the amount of decision making as it was finally real, the work was all there in front of us. Now we had to figure out where to place the artwork; lighting, wall space, neighbouring art, the journey of the viewer… etc. Eventually, after several days thinking and re-thinking, moving work around, having to make difficult choices came the conclusions and solutions. It wasn’t easy as we had to leave some of our work out as it didn’t seem to fit with any of the rest of the art work. This was a decision that none of us thought we would have to make.
We linked and placed the artwork by themes, contrasting and complementing colours, ideas. Where and why we put the art, but also the art itself carried a message, provoking thoughts, ideas and questions for the viewers.
Some of the artwork that we selected for our exhibition required specific allocation. In particular the ‘Canoe’ by Tony Craig needed a large open space and therefore we made one of the easier decisions of placing it downstairs. There the wide white spacious gallery space accented the large colourful sculpture. Which lead to figuring out what would go with this sculpture. The Rachel MacLean ‘The Lion and The Unicorn’ needed a dark place with no noise pollution- luckily the Highlanes Gallery had just the right space the ‘cement room’ with the required conditions for this piece. Another artwork in our exhibition in which we had to put extra placement consideration into, was the Richard Long sculpture, ‘Stone Line’- this piece also required a large space all to itself. The upstairs of the gallery was painted a royal blue, which we thought complimented the grey in the cornish stones. We were lucky enough to search the Drogheda Municipal art collection for art that would work well with this particular piece.
Our exhibition is a walk through a landscape, a journey of someone trying to find their place.
In the next blog we will tell you all about; the exhibition opening, the tours and workshop.
Written by Kotryna Knystautaite
All images courtesy of student Grainne Smith