New Expressions 1 Projects
New Expressions 1
The first New Expressions programme fostered fresh interactions between artists, museums and audiences. Ten South West museums added specially commissioned new work to their collections as part of the programme.
The £150,000 programme was funded by MLA South West, along with the National Lottery through Arts Council England. New Expressions 1 was the final project from MLA South West, which closed in 2009 after 15 years of working with the region’s museums libraries and archives.
Projects ranged from jewellery-maker Daisy Dunlop interpreting the work of potter Bernard Leach at the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, to surrealist artist Patrick Woodroffe helping Falmouth Art Gallery re-evaluate its historic frames collection.
Ceramics artist Edmund de Waal - now winning awards for his writing as well as his art - created his installation ‘Very Moveable Things’ for Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum’s Arts and Crafts furniture gallery. De Waal says: 'I found the whole commission hugely worthwhile, particularly as it led me to working out new structures for containing my work. It helped me to think through how to move through an exhibition, and this is informing new exhibitions at the Fitzwilliam, Ashmolean and Waddeson'.
Plymouth City Museum commissioned maker Dail Behennah to create 'Labelled' - a work which interrogated the museum's natural history collections, collecting and the concepts of species extinction. Dail says: 'It was the most important and enjoyable commission of my career to date. For the first time I had an opportunity to make work which was primarily about an idea rather than a structure. The project raised my profile as a thinker and recently I have given keynote speeches and lectures both in England and America. I have also been invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society'.
At the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, artist Peter Stiles delved into the world of Victorian science with his exhibition, Vivarium. It takes in evolutionary theory and creationism in an interpretation of the museum’s marine biology specimens and the stories of the Victorians who collected them.
“The relationship with the artist has been inspirational. We haven't worked with an artist like this before,” said Alison Mills, Museum Manager.
“Peter's enthusiasm and the surprising directions in which the project has moved have given us all kinds of ideas for working with the museum's stored collections. We're finding unexpected uses for them; unlocking the knowledge side as well as the physical side of what we have here.”
The New Expressions 1 exhibitions were:
Falmouth Art Gallery
Frameworks: the beginning by surrealist artist Patrick Woodroffe, December 12 2008 – March 31 2009
Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
Very moveable things by ceramics artist Edmund de Waal, February 7 – May 4 2009
The Leach Pottery, St Ives
New Expressions: An exhibition of contemporary resin jewellery by jewellery-maker Daisy Dunlop, February 21 – 25 April 2009
Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Bath
Inspirations around the sun by sculptor Chris Williams, February 27 – June 29 2009
Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
New Expressions photography project by photographer Matt Pontin, February 28 – May 10 2009 and throughout March on King Harry Ferry
Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery
Labelled by artist Dail Behennah, February 28 2009 – March 27 2010
Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon
Vivarium by artist Peter Stiles, March 14 – April 25 2009
Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
New public art sculpture by Suzanne Redstone, installation late Spring 2009
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
An instillation by textile artist Gabriella Falk, July 4 – August 31 2009 at Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracy, then at re-opened RAMM in 2011
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Works by Helga Gamboa (ceramics), Graeme Evelyn (sculpture) and Motorboy (street art), from Summer 2011 at the museum’s new Challenging gallery