Interior views of Birmingham School of Art
The week actually passed quickly, the meetings were fruitful and important planning was made for next year’s schedule. During the week I even managed to hold one-to-one tutorials with several final year Fine Art students. This was a real pleasure and for me sitting down with students in front of their work to discuss practical and conceptual approaches is what teaching is all about. The students were confident, ambitious and had a clear direction. One student had already secured a place at the Ruskin School of Art and despite having produced several strong pieces of work, he was still prepared to experiment with new materials and processes.
Before it was time for me to leave Birmingham, I visited the lovely local Ikon Gallery.
Birmingham Ikon Gallery
The gallery was featuring a solo show by American Dan Flavin, giving me the chance to see a major show of his work for the first time. I had previously seen individual examples of his work in various galleries as well as being familiar with his work via books, magazines and the internet but this solo show, entitled ‘It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else’ (sic) was a revelation for me. Each room in which his work was installed was transformed by the light emanating from the neon tubes in a variety of colour combinations. The light sometimes rendered the corners of the room invisible and sometimes it exaggerated the corners as if they had become acute gaps receding away from the viewer. The light also radiated away from the tubes, affecting and transforming the architectural details of the room itself. I thoroughly enjoyed this show and it made me completely reassess his work.
The week passed far too quickly and as I traveled back to Heathrow by train I hoped it would not be too long before I could return.
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