Behind the curtain of a solo exhibition

A glimpse behind the facade of my beautifully presented exhibition at Trinity Theatre and the slick collage workshop held to celebrate it’s launch……..how did it really evolve?

  • Late October 2015, call comes in from the Gallery curator at our local theatre asking if I am available to exhibit Jan ’16. It’s 5.30pm and I’m focused on feeding two ravenous kids not on exhibition planning.
    Blasé and aware this sounds reasonably far away, I reply that I am delighted to be asked and yes of course I will have up to 20 paintings ready to exhibit.
  • How about running a workshop instead of holding the usual private view, she enquires? No problem, i blurt out with one eye on the pasta boiling over.
  • Christmas and New Year; a good time is had by all, my waistline expands considerably and I relax comfortably into January hibernation mode.
  • First week in Jan. A lightbulb goes on, with a stark glare…..10 days left to plan the Trinity Theatre Gallery exhibition, gather together paintings from stock that have a (reasonable) cohesiveness to their style and then make sure stock is in A1 condition, apply right fixings.
  • 3 days before exhibition, visit gallery space and note size available. Plan a hang that will have a good flow around the room with sufficient attention-grabbers in all the key places.

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  • 2 days before exhibition hang, remember that labels will be required so design labels and print. Minor delay for trip to Staples remembering that all label stock was used on the last exhibition (why didn’t I replace them then?).
  • 1 day before exhibition wrap all paintings in bubble wrap. Minor time wasted popping bubbles. Form of therapy? Can’t now move in studio for huge bubble-wrapped and parcelled paintings.
  • Night before hang, remember that greetings cards can be sold from the exhibition. Spend evening in front of Silent Witness putting cards into slippery cellophane packages, taking them out again after remembering to add envelopes, taking them out again after putting them in back to front. Meanwhile a murder is resolved on screen and I go to bed happy that ALL is ready.
  • Day of exhibition, kind and generous friend arrives to drive me and all my stock to gallery as paintings bigger than Mini! Saved on parking woes though.
  • Unload and lean work roughly in places to be hung.
  • Hoist paintings onto unforgiving metal fixing wires. Use time-honoured broom handle method to adjust position of said wires.
  • Realise I have left greetings cards at home and in any case have forgotten to put prices on the back. Slight delay to hang but still time yet to opening.
  • Hold workshop at which all plans of educational chat about collage and group discussion about work is shelved as guests arrive in dribs and drabs, appearing deep in own conversations then launch straight into tearing and sticking with wild abandon. No need for my input at all.

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  • Show visitors around my work, meet interesting and interested visitors, stick down a few bits onto the collaborative collage that is being made. (Admire way friends who have offered to help are guiding others in careful curation of it).

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  • Breathe sigh of exhaustion as last visitor leaves the gallery space. Sweep the floor and swill down remaining wine (someone had to). Proudly hang collaborative ‘A bow to Bowie’ collage.
  • Wake up and wish I could do it all again!

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Many, many thanks to the Town & Country Foundation who sponsored my exhibition at the Trinity Theatre and to Jane Churchill who, on behalf, of the Foundation invited me to exhibit and helped with the broom handle amongst other things!

Trinity Theatre Gallery, Tunbridge Wells:

Lucy Ames’ ‘Ripping It Up’ exhibition till 6 February 2016.

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