‘Artists in Focus: Celebrating Museums and Wellbeing’ at The New Art Gallery, Walsall

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Until the 2nd December 2018 The New Art Gallery, Walsall will be celebrating wellbeing in museums, through their ‘Artists in Focus’ display. Having opened in Museums and Wellbeing Week, the gallery’s annual rehang this year, focuses on placing individual contemporary artists in themed rooms. These are presented amongst highlights from the renowned Garman Ryan Collection. Wellbeing events will be taking place throughout September to October.

Artists In Focus and Wellbeing

The ‘Artists in Focus’ display is structured as a trail, exploring ten key themes, including Animals and Birds, Figure Studies and Religion.

Floor 1

New Walk Gallery, Walsall, Main Hall, Floor 1, 2018
New Art Gallery, Walsall, Main Hall, Floor 1, 2018

Each room has been carefully curated, with minimal use of interpretive information, such as gallery labels, to prevent distraction and create a more meditative environment. On floor one, the painted wall colours range from neutrals to mellow green tones, evoking a sense of calm and tranquillity. Furthermore, the first room entered, known as the Main Hall (as above), not only introduces the themes on display but also celebrates the 100th year anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, by focusing on artworks by women.

Floor 2

Andrew Jackson, showing Washing Line (Guguletu, 2006) top left, Hot Plate (Guguletu, 2006) bottom left, Baton (Mowbray, 2006) bottom right, Underpass (Central Cape Town, 2007) top right, Floor 2, New Art Gallery, Walsall
Andrew Jackson, showing Washing Line (Guguletu, 2006) top left, Hot Plate (Guguletu, 2006) bottom left, Baton (Mowbray, 2006) bottom right, Underpass (Central Cape Town, 2007) top right, Floor 2, New Art Gallery, Walsall

The colour scheme gradually changes when visiting the second floor, where the backdrop becomes more vibrant, including brighter orange, yellow, green and purple tones, designed to uplift and enthuse.

One of the contemporary artists on display is Andrew Jackson (see above).  Jackson is a graduate in photography from the University of Wolverhampton in addition to having an MA in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales. His photography is shown in the Work and Leisure room. Jackson’s photography is set against a background of deep orange, designed to inspire optimism and creativity.

The works explore Jackson’s observations of urban spaces in Cape Town, South Africa post-Apartheid where more than 70% of the population are now living in cities, bringing together different backgrounds and classes. The ‘in-between’, an overlooked space in the urban landscape that Jackson focuses on, is designed to question the concept of identity amongst Cape Town’s extremes of wealth, poverty and social alienation.

 

Curator’s Comment: Julie Brown

The positive impact experiencing art and culture can have to improve wellbeing and prevent ill-health is now widely recognised. With this project I wanted to introduce a different approach to the displays in our Collections spaces, to encourage visitors to slow down, look, think and ask questions, and provide a variety of engagement opportunities, including yoga and mindful drawing, to encourage museums to be used as spaces for wellbeing.

Upcoming Events

There are a series of upcoming events throughout September to October:

Mindful Drawing Practice: Saturday 8th September 2018, 11am-12pm

Audio Described Tour: Saturday 8th September 2018, 2pm

Silver Memories: Saturday 8th September 2018, 2-4pm

Drawing from Life: Saturday 6th October 2018, 11am-4pm

For more information, please click here.

All events are free to attend however, please consider a donation to support the gallery.
On display from 17th March – 2nd December 2018

Time for one more read?

If you enjoyed today’s post, you will enjoy our recent post on the ‘Fevral – A Folklore’ Exhibition with the art of Stewart Francis Easton at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry.

Author: April-Lina Waine

I am an undergraduate student at University of Birmingham, studying History of Art. I am working with Midlands Art Papers as part of the UGRS scheme.

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