“The only true voyage of discovery… would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes.” (Proust, The Captive, 1923)
Marcel Proust’s words resonate not only in the realm of art but also in our profound connection with nature and the Earth. Amidst the day-to-day hustle and bustle, it is all too easy to overlook the beauty of our planet and forget the intrinsic value of nature.
In support of Chelmsford’s Green City, an initiative from Chelmsford For You, Hive Artist’s Studios together with guest artist, Billie Bond, curated a collection of recent artwork centred around the themes of earth, nature, and human activities.
We gave our exhibition the title ‘Tipping Point’, alluding to the precarious situation we now find ourselves in after years of ignoring the damage we are invoking on our beautiful planet. Tipping Point’s aims were to use contemporary art to re-awaken our sense of appreciation for our natural environment, urging us to reflect on the impact our day to day actions have on our delicate ecosystems.
Drawing inspiration from British thinker and environmentalist George Monbiot, who suggests that real change can be achieved if 25% of the population embraces a new perspective, we sought to raise public awareness on environmental consciousness through the artworks on display. Embracing the power of fresh perspectives, the exhibition engaged its audience through the eyes of the artist offering new narratives of encouragement and commitment at what is arguably a crucial time for our planet.
The exhibition was held in Chelmsford Cathedral, a fitting location just less than a year since Gaia by UK artist Luke Jerram was exhibited. A seven metre diameter floating earth created from NASA imagery of the planet’s surface, which gave visitors the opportunity of seeing our planet floating in three dimensions. We had a conversation to continue!
The Cathedral had it’s challenges, we couldn’t hang work from the walls and with three painters we had to come up with an alternative way of presenting 2D work without resorting to display boards! A combination of matt black display easels which melted beautifully into the internal decor of the space, newly constructed plinths fitting snuggly against the walls and a very large sheet of pristine plywood with a sandbag was the answer, I think we did an admirable job!
We were offering a very contemporary exhibition outside of a gallery setting so were very conscious of our audience and how they would approach and digest the artworks. We took the decision to display detailed labelling to provide context and to encourage engagement and conversation. This worked better than we anticipated and we all witnessed visitors taking the time to read about each piece, with parents explaining the work and helping their children understand, asking them questions and encouraging involvement in the work and it’s messages.
We received a lot of compliments, visitors were attentive, taking in the detail of each piece and scanning QR codes where supplied, they were also surprised and delighted to learn that the artists were based in Chelmsford. Comments ranged from the high quality of the work to how well the space was used and the desire to see more of our exhibitions in the future.
To be offered a space in a central position in the city centre, to be part of a wider initiative with a series of events and activities, to be welcomed by the Cathedral, and to be joined by the locally renowned sculptor, Billie Bond, were all wonderful for our little studios. We are not far from the centre of town, but we are a working studios with no exhibiting space so this was a great opportunity for us!
For the Hive artists the chance to exhibit as a studio collective and to create new work in response to what we are all passionate about was a thoroughly positive and enriching experience. It’s been quite a while since our last exhibition together! Our aim was to offer new ways of seeing and create and continue conversation and action, nearly 400 people visited us across 7 days so we are hopeful we’ve made a small difference!
THE HIVE ARTISTS STUDIOS
Opened in September 2010 and set among quirky industrial units and corrugated iron sheds circa 1950, The Hive Artist Studios is a not for profit, shared studio space run by a dedicated group of established artists. We’re small, unfunded and independent with currently six artists working from the space. Each artist is selected for their talent, originality, standard of artwork and desire to forward their artistic practice.
We hold monthly creative gatherings where we share new work, talk about projects and ideas and offer feedback, and every other month we invite a guest artist or arts professional to talk about their practice or role. We also drink wine and eat a fair amount of popcorn and grapes!
STUDIO SPACES AVAILABLE!
From October we will have one large space or two smaller spaces available to rent, so if you are looking for an affordable Chelmsford based studio to create from with a friendly bunch of fellow creatives! please get in touch, email : firstname.lastname@example.org or call / text 077775 744276.
Elaine Tribley, Ignite Member