Visual Arts Festival

Monday 13th February 2023

This year, our much-anticipated Visual Arts Festival provided a lively and busy schedule of events across the Art School and within the Mount House Gallery. Pupils were highly absorbed in the range of invited speakers, artists, activities and an exceptional exhibition organised specifically for the annual celebration of art.

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Post-War Printmaking from Bath Academy of Art: Exhibition Opening

Our opening event, proved to be an invigorating evening, co-ordinated in association with Chippenham Museum, who kindly agreed to loan many of the outstanding printmaking works from leading 20th Century artists. The show is a rich collaboration of artistic exploration and endeavour from this unique period in Wiltshire’s creative history.

Featuring works by Gillian Ayres, Clifford and Rosemary Ellis, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor, Peter Lanyon, William Scott and many more, who all taught at Corsham Court in Wiltshire, the collection is also accompanied by the supporting Chippenham Museum publication, ‘A Century in Print 1920-2020: The Golder-Thompson Gift’.

It has been an absolute pleasure to organise this exhibition with the expert assistance of Alan Fuller at Chippenham Museum. I am also grateful to Lower Sixth pupil, Sienna M, for her excellent curatorial support.

Post-War Printmaking from Bath Academy of Art’ runs until Friday 10th March 2023 in the Mount House Gallery.

The Man who Stopped Time: The Life and Work of Photographer Eadweard Muybridge Talk

The high number of attendees to our evening Festival event were given an in-depth exploration of Victorian photographer Muybridge’s desire for experimentation. Author Brian Clegg discussed how Muybridge moved from capturing landscapes of Yosemite using a portable darkroom studio and large format camera, to developing an obsession for recording the transition of animal and human movement. At the now famous location, Palo Alto, Muybridge positioned 12 stereoscopic cameras, with quality lenses and high-speed shutters, to capture a full sequence of an animal’s motion. These sequential photographic recordings allowed artists, scientists and writers to fully understand physical movement, including the discovery that horses did not float when in full gallop, thus eradicating the portrayal of stretched horses within painting.

Brian further analysed and questioned whether Muybridge was in fact one of the fathers of moving pictures, following his unique invention of the ZOÖPRAXISCOPE. Following a discussion on the persistence of vision, his talk concluded with a number of engaging questions from the audience.

Swindon Academy visit to the Mount House Gallery

With the support of College beak, Matt Blossom, I introduced Year 7 and 8 pupils to a number of key artworks within the ‘Post-War Printmaking from Bath Academy of Art’ show during our Arts Festival week. This included a discussion regarding how the artist Howard Hodgkin worked from memory to create his expressive and gestural fine art prints. The visiting pupils impressed with their understanding of why the large-scale print ‘All Alone in the Museum of Modern Art’ related to Hodgkin’s childhood memories of visiting paintings by Picasso and Matisse, following his evacuation to New York during the Second World War.

Trompe-l’œil Drawing Workshop with artist Michael Angove

Highly successful pencil smith visiting artist and designer, Michael Angove, gave a deeply fascinating introduction to his career to date, including sharing an exemplary collection of his highly detailed trompe-l’œil and more experimental coloured drawings with our pupils.

For this event within the Arts Festival, attending Remove, Hundred and Sixth Form Art enthusiasts were also rewarded with a one-to-one observational drawing workshop, guided by Michael, all learning the artist’s tricks of the trade, to create intensely life-like studies of small pins puncturing paper, one of Angove’s specific motifs.

Post-War Printmaking from Bath Academy of Art Exhibition: Festival Talk

We were incredibly grateful to have Alan Fuller, Chippenham Museum Collections and Exhibitions Officer, Brian Thompson and Dr Mark Golder, art collectors and donors, with us for a concluding Arts Festival discussion. Mark firstly explained how he and Brian worked collaboratively with museums such as Pallant House and Chippenham Museum, selecting, purchasing and donating the artworks to provide and enhance highly regarded collections at each venue as part of the Golder-Thompson Gift.

Alan Fuller followed on with an introduction to Chippenham Museum’s range of historical objects and art collections. He specifically focused on sharing his detailed knowledge of many of the works by International artists such as Peter Lanyon, Howard Hodgkin and Richard Hamilton, whose work is on show in the Mount House Gallery exhibition. Alan’s exploration of key works and the story behind their creation by these artists who taught at Corsham Court, was well received by our audience. All were greatly impressed by Alan’s insight and passion for the printmaking displayed and the contextual links to Bath Academy of Art and its satellite art school Corsham Court.

Pewsey Vale School visit to the Mount House Gallery

To close our Arts Festival week, Year 11 GCSE Art pupils from Pewsey Vale School visited our ‘Post-War Printmaking from Bath Academy of Art’ exhibition with their art teacher and the support of Marlborough beak, Mark Conlen. It was a great pleasure to introduce and discuss the selected works, alongside giving a short drawing composition and mark-making workshop relating to the show. I was greatly impressed with the pupils’ focus and keen interest.

We look forward to further school visits after half-term to the Mount House’s current show by pupils from Ludgrove and St Francis Prep School.

A heartfelt thank you to all of the contributors involved with our Visual Arts Festival. It was a joy to witness the excitement and enthusiasm conveyed by our pupils and wider public for each of our events.

Jonathan Parnham
Head of Visual Arts Promotion & Visual Arts Festival Organiser

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