Jamie Hill + Mission Gallery Partnership

Identify Me | curated by Deirdre Finnerty

image: Ruth McLees

What is Identify Me about?

The exhibition is about vanity and identity. This theme came about from my own practice that developed from my BA in Architectural Glass and my current MA practice in Glass. The setting, [Jamie Hill Salon] a hair salon, allows people to select how they want to look and they are also the primary audience for the exhibition. I wanted the artwork to be enjoyed by them and I wanted it to suit the location. This methodology stems from my architectural glass training to design for a specific site to create work that is successful in many different ways.

“These four artists are grouped together to unveil methods of representation. Through varying mediums and perspectives, they each present themselves through art, an addition to their identity for us to criticise, a material expression, an offering. It’s all about making an impression.”

Who is in the exhibition and how did you select the artists?

There are four artists in the exhibition: Catherine Brown, Kerry Evans, Ruth Mclees and myself. I selected these artists for a few different reasons. They were all artists whose work I had admired for a long time and found inspiration in their individuality. This exhibition was a chance for me to have my work beside theirs and it probably wouldn’t have happened any other way; I think that is where I would like to see my work positioned now and in the future. Being familiar with their work also meant that I knew what kind of artwork to expect from them. I could have taken a chance and selected an artist that was unknown to me but that can be a challenge for the future!

There were also practical reasons – their localities ensured easy access to the gallery for delivering the work. The logistics of receiving and returning work was quite an important factor when you have a limited budget. I made sure to factor this in before I invited the artists to exhibit.

image: Catherine Brown

Your own work is in the exhibition, how do you feel your current practice fits alongside the other exhibitors?

My selection of artists seemed a bit self-indulgent at first but, honestly, I feel that my work sat comfortably among theirs. I had selected their work for a reason. In my opinion, the setting and theme selected for the exhibition through the title and the introductory statement created a connection between the artworks and a comprehension to the overall exhibition.

I wouldn’t want to say that my work is, perhaps, on the same level as them but I most certainly have an aspiration to be influenced and encouraged by their artistic and professional practices. The variation in their careers as a whole is something that I learned about through curating this exhibition and shows that versatility is part of being an artist as well.

The artists’ careers vary from lecturing, studying, teaching workshops, undertaking commissions, running a business, selling work at conventions and so on. All of these activities and avenues that they pursue have an impact on the integrity and success of their work as an artist. It inspires me to be open and to take any opportunity when it arises as it will feed into my artistic practice and its success.

image: Deirdre Finnerty installed at Jamie Hill Salon

How has your experience influenced your decisions for the professional development of your career?

I would say that it has influenced the decisions that I am making at the moment and for the future; I intend to be open-minded to the opportunities that present themselves and to continue developing my skills through the responsibilities that I have at the moment.

The skills that I gained from curating this exhibition alone are transferable to many different situations and roles that I may undertake in the future. These include collating information, approaching and inviting artists to exhibit, compiling the catalogue with Matthew Otten, managing the installation/de-installation of the exhibition, and working with other volunteers at Mission Gallery. It showed me how important it is to share skills and knowledge to help get things done basically!

Overall, I enjoyed the challenge and the experience. There may have been some things could have been executed differently but, knowing that, I can apply those to future endeavours. Even though my time management skills and stress levels may have been tested, with the support and assistance from the Mission Gallery and all the lovely volunteers, it was all worth it in the end.

Exhibition dates: 01 July – 08 September 2012

Installing at Jamie Hill Salon

Links:

Website:
http://www.missiongallery.co.uk/events/mission-offsite-projects3/

Online Exhibition Catalogue: http://www.missiongallery.co.uk/downloads/Identify_Me_Catalogue.pdf

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