This week we visited the Jerwood Space and Purdy Hicks galleries in London. These two galleries were very different to each other. They had very different atmospheres and work collections.
We went to see the Open Forest exhibition at the Jerwood Space, with work created by Juan delGado, Adam James, Amanda Loomes, Semiconductor and Chris Watson & Iain Pate. They definitely made made it feel like the outside had been brought inside. It was naturally lit with one wall made of just glass panels and many sky lights around the ceiling. There was also a water feature outside which could be seen through the glass wall. We had a talk from Sarah Williams, Visual Arts Gallery Manager, who told us about the exhibition.
It is funded by the Jerwood Foundation, which was established in 1977 by Alan Grieve for John Jerwood, who passed away in 1991. Grieve has created the ethos of Jerwood which is to support excellence especially within the arts and education.
There were four sections to the exhibition. The first was in the centre of the main area. Televisions were placed on top of large wooden crates and videos were being shown with headphones for you to put on if you so wished to listen to the videos. The next section showed a collage of different sized images put together to create an uneven shape.
At the back there were two dark rooms, one of which was very cool and the other very warm. Whether this had been done intentionally to create atmosphere I am not sure. A large wooden structure was in the centre of the room, with two projectors inside (facing different walls). The projections were a circular shape which flashed images of trees and forests.
Purdy Hicks felt much more like a typical gallery as you would expect it; a white space with images dotted around the room. The upstairs had a much warmer feel than the industrial feel which the downstairs had. As at the Jerwood Space, we had a talk from Nicloa Shane, director at Purdy Hicks. Purdy Hicks seem to keep everything very simple; the leaflets we were given were very minimal with just a few images and the essential information, whereas the Jerwood Space gave you several leaflets all very busy, on coloured paper/card and full of text. Purdy Hicks gallery does not receive any funding and purely relies on the sale of work to run. It is linked with the University of Art and Design in Helsinki.
Upstairs was a photography exhibition showing the work of Anni Leppala. There were a few very small scale pieces which we were told is how Leppala normally works and that the few larger pieces (which weren’t really that big) were very unlike Leppala. Most images were mounted on thin white wooden frames, however one or two images did not have frames.
Downstairs there were several small rooms which showcased artwork and one or two sculpture pieces. I did not enjoy these as much, they didn’t seem to have as much story behind them or to interpret. However, this Susan Derges image did catch my eye; it is a Unique Ilfochrome Print. The ripples in the water distort the shape of everything else but also adds detail to the water.
I liked how the two exhibitions were very different to each other but still had their similarities. This has shown me that exhibitions do not have to be presented in the same way as eachother and has inspired creativity within me for when it comes to me presenting my own work whether in a white space or book.
- Leaflets and information from talks at the galleries