New Art Gallery Walsall – art, life and a rather damp pot plant

About last night… what can I say? It was the start of something beautiful.

Last night being of course the opening night of the MA fine art and art and design by research show. And, despite spending the evening very sober, my memories of the night before now appear in my mind as a big fuzzy blur of light, faces, colour and warmth. That is the best way I can think to describe it. It’s a good feeling.

Before I talk about the show itself, and as a slight digression, I have one particular highlight of the night I want to share with you that involves a pot plant. Picture this: my middle son and I (him in his school uniform, me in heels and a dress not built for running) dashing from my car, in the rain, fifteen minutes before the speeches were due to begin, with a pot plant.

My middle son thought our rainy pot plant rescue dash rather hilarious and even shared it with his Instagram followers. The pot plant in question was to be a gift for the MA course leader Dean Kelland and I’d left it in my car (a last-minute second choice gift as it happens, the first being still ‘in transit’) so needed to get it before speeches and presentations. 

The plant deserves a long life

All I can say about that the above is this: Dean, if you are reading this, you’d better keep that plant alive or there will be one very sad thirteen year old! That plant may have been our second choice of gift but my son and I grew quite fond of it in the few hours we were its custodians.

As for the show, it went very well. If I am honest, and this blog is all about me being honest about my art, I have mixed feelings about my own offerings in the show. I’m not being modest or fishing for compliments when I say that I could have done better. I’m not going to delve into why I feel this way, I can reflect on that in another blog. But in my heart I feel that I haven’t quite fulfilled my aims or my potential, at least in my art practice. But that is ok. I feel quite calm about my conclusion. And as a collective, and individually, my fellow graduates and I have managed to pull off a magnificent show and I feel firmly part of that. I feel really proud of our achievements. I’m very excited for the future of the wonderful group of people I have come to get to know over the last year, two years, or even longer for some. I have watched their journeys with awe and some have travelled very far. There are some very talented people in this year of MA graduates and I wish them much good fortune and success. There are a few who I know have been through some hardships in their life, in terms of their physical or mental health, and I think what they have achieved is quite astonishing. I feel privileged to have been a part of it, and, before I go too far down this road of celebration and sloppiness, it isn’t quite over yet. The show runs until 2 November at the New Art Gallery Walsall.

My things

I have deliberately not mentioned any detail about the work itself. There are two reasons for that. Firstly, for fear of bias. I don’t really want to say what I liked best. I think it is all amazing, of course I do! Secondly, it is my best interest to entice any readers of this to go see for themselves. Please do go. If I had to summarize the exhibition in a haiku it would be like this:

Art that mirrors life

Contains essence in its things

Then life has colour

To conclude: just go. Please do. And as I will be invigilating on a few mornings, I might see you there.

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