Artist Presentation–Castlefield Gallery

Stan_Dickinson_IMG_9832 corrected

(Image courtesy of Castlefield Gallery)

On Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity present my practice, and specifically ‘New Photographic Chemistry’, alongside three other artists, at a meeting of the Castlefield Gallery Associates group, in Manchester. It took the form of a 10 minute presentation followed by five minutes of questions. The meeting was attended by around 16 members of the group.

Stan_Dickinson_9835 corrected Stan_Dickinson_9837 corrected

(Images courtesy of Castlefield Gallery)

These are some of my reflections following the event:

  • Once again, the value of time spent in planning and preparation was evident. I had a slideshow (under my control rather than running independently) and a ‘script’ that I had rehearsed – so it was no surprise that the timing worked out more or less exactly. It took the form of a slightly extended version of the video from my website – here – covering the grounding of my practice; the origins and development of ‘New Photographic Chemistry’; and the various forms in which it has, to date, been brought to an audience. So, I covered a lot of ground in a short time but that didn’t seem to be a problem.
  • Everything seemed to be well-received by the audience, in terms of attention and body language during the talk, questions that followed, and responses during the tea interval and at the end of the evening. Most of those in the audience (and all of the other three presenters) were practicing artists with multiple exhibitions, commissions, residencies etc; so there was the potential for a ‘credibility gap’. But I didn’t sense it, and the interest seemed to go at least a little way beyond the merely polite.
  • Questions/comments immediately post-talk covered – printing onto fabric; choice of colours; time to produce; size of output (with a suggestion that I might go bigger … a lot bigger!); and praise for the way I managed to create a sense of depth and dimension in the images. I was pleased when, after the talk, one audience member compared the images of text manipulation (below) to the work of David Batchelor (which had been part of the original inspiration, as blogged here. It was also good to find some connection with the presenter who preceded me – Roger Bygott – who was talking about a recent residency during which he produced some work that physically deconstructed and subverted Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida.

Sulphur Sensitizers

Sulphur Sensitizers (2015)

Perhaps most importantly, I enjoyed doing it and felt confident in the work and my ability to talk about it. Artists tend to be supportive of each other and to have genuine interest in what others are doing; and the CG Associates scheme offers plenty of opportunities to develop and maintain contacts. As I have observed before in various contexts, the basis for a sustainable practice is there and its future is entirely dependent on how much I want it and how much I am prepared to commit.

Oh – and my image featured in the e-mail to all associates about the evening …

Castlefield Presentation e-mail-1

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12 thoughts on “Artist Presentation–Castlefield Gallery”

    1. Interesting question, John; and my response would be, I think, ‘rather less than I did through exhibiting the work’. Though I suppose it partly depends on whether I was asking any questions or looking to find out anything. On the whole, I’d say this process was more about me performing the role of an artist than about the work … or at least that’s probably what was uppermost in my mind. It did, perhaps, confirm some things that I had already come to realise – that the work’s ‘formal’ qualities are important; that this is the area in which it most closely relates to other contemporary art (if at all!!); that it has enough credibility to be accepted by other artists.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I ask because I’ve always felt that by engaging with the work with others it reveals ‘stuff’ about the work. And I suppose it keeps the work alive, allowing it to develop in different and sometimes unexpected directions.

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