Students visit Birmingham Art Galleries

Form 6 Art students took inspiration from a recent trip to galleries in Birmingham. Student Lorna tells us more.

"We started at the Birmingham University Barber Institute of Fine Arts that was exhibiting, in its permanent collection, art from the 15th-20th century.  Four differently decorated rooms housed works following the stylistic changes that occurred over this time period; from the Early Renaissance to Modernism. We discussed and analysed pieces from each room then picked four pieces to study in further depth.

We found that many paintings were strategically placed next to each other. For example, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painted ‘A Women Seated in a Garden’, which was placed next to Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s ‘A Young Woman Seated’. These two paintings are very similar in style but with subtle differences such as variations in brushwork, creating different textures and subsequently affecting the spectators' reading of the work, aesthetically and emotionally.

After having lunch in the Bull Ring, we walked over to the Ikon Gallery where there was an exhibition showing works by artists Edmund Clarke and Thomas Bock. Thomas Bock’s work was based on his time in Tasmania as a convict; he had a wide range of subject matters including portraits of Tasmanian Aborigines, fellow criminals and landscape. Most of his works were miniatures, making them appear more intimate between the artwork and the spectator.

We then looked at Edmund Clarke’s, 'In Place of Hate' exhibition, displaying pieces from his time working with prisoners and therapeutic staff. His work explored ideas of visibility, trauma and self-image, including the 1.98m² piece, which demonstrated the size of the prisoner’s cell surrounded by pressed flowers to represent freedom and the outside which the prisoners did not see often.

Our last stop, was the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which was exhibiting 'Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity'. This was a more modern gallery with pieces ranging from ceramics, paintings and clothing. There were many different artists such as Grayson Perry, who donated his favourite dress and many ceramics that showed the challenging themes related to contemporary life and the uncertainty in identity.

Overall, the trip was entertaining, insightful and gave us additional information to aid us with our studies."

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