Still Life Study Workshop
with Agata Wojcieszkiewicz
27th November to 1st December 2018
These are FREE sessions and open to ALL
Agata Wojcieszkiewicz will be resident in the gallery to install her astonishingly beautiful and intricate installation of collected objects themed on women and work and inspired by the Centenary of womens' suffrage. It was a long fight to get the vote and there is a long way to go in so many ways. Not least in the world of work, both paid and domestic. Agata has collected a huge array of quirky and mind boggling objects and items relating to the work traditionally, and largely still, carried out by women. Central is an amazing piece of Victorian kit - a washing machine - no doubt conceived with the intention of making work easier but inevitably leading to the phasing out of the employed and paid to the unpaid realm of the home. Just one area of thought and the discussions could be lively!
These Study Workshops are an opportunity for adults to take part in sessions that will be guided by Polish artist Agata Wojcieszkiewicz who sees them as a way of renewing and refreshing a sometimes maligned genre - Still Life - but also as a way of bringing people together in a collective effort to learn to look, select, enquire, explore and discuss their responses to a carefully staged tableau which may throw up ideas around the nature of the objects in more than the literal sense. These sessions are open to the open minded of all abilities and none at all. We welcome those of you who have not picked up a pencil or brush since school or that were put off by being asked to make a pretty picture of an ugly fruit bowl or to those of you who don’t have the time to dedicate to regular organised classes. Perhaps most importantly we wish to encourage those who lack the confidence to step into the art environment and give it a go.
The Still Life workshops take place over a period of 5 days and will end with a small show and open discussion about the work produced by the session participants and friends and family they may wish to invite. You are asked to book in advance for a minimum of 2 hours but you may book up to the full 5 days. The sessions are organised into 3 hour slots and there is one evening session so that those in work or with other commitments can take advantage of more flexible hours. We welcome suggestions that might facilitate attendance.
Tuesday 27th Nov 10-1pm, 2-5pm
Wednesday 28th Nov 10-1pm, 2-5pm
Thursday 29th Nov 2-5pm, 6-9pm
Friday 30th Nov 10-1pm, 2-5pm (evening session)
Saturday 1st Dec 10-3pm
Saturday 1st Dec 4-5pm ‘ FINNISAGE’
Tea and coffee will be provided and participants are encouraged to bring sharing plates of food to encourage socialising and discussion. We ask that participants bring their own materials - paper, pencils, paints and where required easels. We encourage mixed media as participants can approach the subject as broadly as they wish. The workshops are FREE but must be booked and are available to people of all abilities aged over 16 years. Places are limited so those interested should contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what days and slots you wish to book and discuss any access or other requirements. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.
Still life has been used in the past in many ways - to big up the owner by showing his material wealth or as a metaphor for mortality, as in the Vanitas which included images of candles, skulls and books as a reminder that we are all heading to the hereafter. 20th Century artists began to depict a seemingly random or mundane group of objects to imbue them with message and meaning. Making the decision to paint a peasant’s tools or sparse meal could be seen as a highly political act by an artist in times of revolution. In other ways the selection of a few domestic objects apparently significant only to the artist can convey highly charged emotion and poignancy with the viewer quietly unsure as to why?
Now see below how we got on in our first workshop sessions. The feedback is that everyone wants more.
We held our first week long study workshops starting 27th November in the gallery with Agata installing a fantastic and intricate still life set up designed to give participants the choice to select a small area of the the still life or try to take in the whole to give an impression of the installation. For some it was at first a daunting prospect until they developed ways of working which enabled them to really get something from the process and learn to select, see and transcribe. There were times when the room was silent with concentration and absorption in their subject. Other times laughter and conversation. Participants came and went over the course of 5 days to pick up on a previous day’s work or try out new techniques or materials on a new picture. In between they shared the food and drinks and snacks brought in by participants and friendships were made. Some stayed for all the sessions whilst others dipped in for inspiration and continued to work on pieces elsewhere, others popped in for a couple of hours after work but on the last day everyone brought in the fruits of their labour for a final exhibition and get together to discuss who did what, why and how. Abilities varied with professionals working alongside those who hadn’t used a brush or pencil since school. We were amazed at how much work the sessions produced after a busy week of making art and socialising as some of the pictures below show:
About Agata Wojcieszkiewicz - When she arrived in England from Poland about 6 years ago Agata took a job on a ‘scrub team’ at a local hospital using heavy industrial equipment to deep clean ‘infectious’ areas, her team of workers were mostly women and some of them immigrants. These women and their daily work became the anonymous silhouetted subjects in a powerful series of drawings and paintings which are both stunning in their technical intricacy and surprising in their beauty. Agata depicts ordinary objects and people ‘normally lacking any importance or significance. I recycle them and give them new life by re-assembling in a composition that gives fresh meaning and context to everyday detritus.’’
'My interest in representational drawing and painting comes from the very traditional training that I gained during years of studying in Poland, where art education is still quite academic and very much based on the observation of nature. Still life study is a basic exercise that every first and second year student has to practice on a daily basis. It teaches strategies for recording shapes, judging proportions, creating successful compositions and overall sharpens visual perception. During the two-day session I would like to create the opportunity to 'slow down and look' so that we can focus on details and explore in depth the true physical nature of certain objects taken straight from our surroundings. I believe that in today’s jpg image-saturated culture, where we devour and discard images, without much reflection, this now unique way of creative depiction in such slow mediums like drawing or painting, can make us more sensitive and therefore has the power to change how we look at the world.' Agata Wojcieszkiewicz