Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Silver Arts Award Reviews from Jack and Oliver

Silver Arts Award Reviews

Jack - Twinwoods Visit
On the 27th January I went to the former RAF Twinwoods, now the site of a museum dedicated to its, and other local airfields, history.The airfield is best known for Glenn Miller, as this was where he took off from on 15th December 1944 on his very last flight, but I went there to see the aviation art that they have in their collections.   

Glenn Miller's Norseman

Their main collection of aviation art is by local artist Keith Hill and is in an exhibition on the ground floor of the control tower. This is a collection of oil on canvases of WW2 planes with three large original commissioned works as part of the gallery. The pictures were well laid out and spread out on the walls. They had obviously tried to fit as many as possible into the small room - including three large paintings - but had done well not to overcrowd them. Around each picture was a plain frame and then a narrow space of plain-coloured wall around that. This meant that each picture stood out and you could therefore take in and enjoy each picture individually rather than viewing all of them as one collection. I also liked the way that the original picture of Glenn Miller’s  Norseman was hung directly opposite the doorway, illuminated with lamps aimed at it which made it the centre of attention. 

They also displayed the paintings at Twinwoods by hanging them among the artefacts in some of the museum buildings. I liked this method because if the artwork is directly linked to the artefact (e.g. same model of plane) then they complement each other. Also, you can relate this small piece of aeroplane to the original through imagining where it would be on the painting in front of you and therefore the aircraft. This helps to give the artefact an identity rather than just a lump of metal - making the museum visit much more interesting. 

Overall, Twinwoods have displayed the artwork in a very effective way. My only concern would be the spotlights that shone on the artefacts, and therefore neighbouring pictures, reflecting off the glass. This meant that the picture could not be seen that well.

Their collection also included an original mural painted at Glatton airfield. The mural depicts two surveyors  in the foreground and then in the background Glatton airfield is being constructed. The mural was painted onto plaster on the side of a building at Glatton airfield before being removed and brought to Twinwoods. Sadly, the plaster is now bending because of the damp. I am assured though, that when the museum is open to the public and therefore heated, it will dry out and flatten.
The Glatton Airfield mural

Keith Hills Artwork (at Twinwoods’ Gallery)

The Originals

            A Few of the Others

I would like to thank Robert Allen and the rest of the team at Twinwoods for a truly amazing and inspirational visit.


Oliver - Royal Academy Bronze Show - 3rd November 2012

I was overall very impressed with the exhibition. The statue that you saw as you entered was absolutely incredible. The exhibition designer put the statue in the first room to obviously make an impact on the visitors as they walked in. As good as the statue being there for impact was, I would have preferred the exhibition to be in chronological order to the give more of a story of the production and working of bronze which I did not feel came across very well. I also thought that the design of the exhibition itself left a lot to be desired. Firstly, it was incredibly dark which made it hard to see people or trip hazards. It made it very easy to bump into people which wasn’t helped by the narrow corridors between the exhibits which made it feel crowded and claustrophobic. Also all of the objects were high up which I guess was to make them feel impressive as they would have been when they were displayed originally. But it made it hard for people who were short like me to see, and I can only imagine what the experience must have been like for wheel chair users.

But the objects themselves were phenomenal. My particular favorites were the Greek statue at the beginning of the exhibition, a beautiful Greek bust of an old bearded man and the Crosby Garret Helmet which had its debut on display after being discovered by a metal detectorist last year with controversial buying by a private collector abroad still hotly disputed. There were also quite a few other objects that I have only read about and never thought I may actually see including many chinese bronzes that have never left China before. I also found the room that explained how the lost wax process was carried out very interesting and informative.

Although, I found the labels slightly less informative. I found myself asking regularly throughout the exhibition how some of the objects had been made, or where they had been discovered. I think this was probably the case as the exhibition was held at the Royal Academy that usually deals with art and not archaeological artifacts so they were probably thinking of the objects as just art rather than objects that are important to world heritage.

Overall I really enjoyed the exhibition because of the incredible objects displayed and the variety and quality of the objects, although I thought the displays were badly curated and the exhibition as a whole was badly designed, as well as not considering the information that should go along side archaeological objects on display.