Layout with titles - click the images for larger versions

For the degree show I brought in nearly 70 paintings plus around 70 prints and drawings, as well as a couple of 3D pieces and photos of others. Also a photographic record of the 3D crawl through maze.

The long studio my work was to be displayed in was to be divided between myself and four other students.

I counted the number of windows on the long wall and calculated that the space could be regarded as consisting of eleven equal units which I decided should be divided with three units for me and two each for the other four.

Naturally the other four did not agree, however I pointed out that I had a very great deal more work to display than any of them, in addition I was willing to have the double entrance doors as part of my area. The final clincher was seeing the size of a two unit space and recognising the difficulty they would have in filling it.

Had the allocation of space been calculated on the basis of each student being able to display an equal percentage of their work then I would have required at least half the studio space.

The main benefit of the extra space was being able to put up a central panel and a couple of panels in front of some of the window area.

The plan drawing (top of the page) is not to scale. I do not now remember where in the exhibition space the large number of 'unexhibited' works were stacked, nor the location of the table bearing more work.

Before I had sorted out the area available my personal tutor John Peace had a look through my work and drew up a suggested list (of ten works) for display. Independently I had drawn up a list (of fifteen works) assuming a larger display area. Five of the works appeared in both lists.

John Peace's list:-
Pineapple and beans on toast
Toasted, bleached, unimagined
The march event
Green cube
Barking up the tomato palm cruise, or BANANAD!
Oh, tedium - I've seen it all before. Don't you have a stick I can fetch?
What I did during my summer holidays
And so this is Christmas
Dogs doggedly dogmatizing

My list:-
Pineapple and beans on toast
Toasted, bleached, unimagined
The march event
Green cube
Beyond the pale
Ultima Thule
"Laugh? I could have thrown my brain in the fire."
The room beyond the room beyond
Ships that pass on the fault line
The passage of time
No Sherlock? The dog it was that didn't bark
The horse chestnut branch and the beeches disrupted foundations

Early in the 1st year I had noticed a written instruction on a door to a group being taught by John Peace telling them to paint a picture using a specific set of pigments. The list of pigments were either high chroma or low chroma - I can't now remember, but I appended an alternative list ('or you can try using......'), either low to his high or high to his low.

I little later he tracked me down and trembling with anger gave me a full throttle though low volume telling off. At that point I hadn't yet refereed a football match, even so I found it more comic than intimidatory. I behaved very well and resisted the temptation to laugh. I don't believe I apologised, but I did state that there had been no intention to cause offence, and that I wouldn't repeat the exercise.

Some time, in the 2nd year I think, I attended one of his lectures at which he showed slides of a number of his paintings. I was struck by the impressive use of colour, particularly secondary and tertiary shades. I was also impressed by an intentionally self effacing self portrait painted while he was suffering the flu.

We were both surprised when he was appointed my personal tutor for my final year. Again he sought me out, and clearly alluding to the incident from the 1st year asked if I wanted to request a different tutor. I told him it was all the same to me and if it wasn't a problem for him it wasn't a problem for me.

During my time on the Fine Art course I learnt exactly four art-related things independent of my own efforts.

Two of those came from a fellow student:-
1) the warp and weft should be parallel to the stretcher when canvas is being stretched
(I think I would have worked that out for myself, but he helpfully volunteered the information when he saw me start the process)
and some time later;
2) primed canvas should be gently sanded before use
('Oh, that explains the shredded brushes...').

The other two things I learnt came from John Peace. The first being that boiled linseed oil speeds up the drying time of oil paint.

The other being a demonstration - specifically the manner of constructing an exhibition. Making a bigger 'picture', balancing the parts, using 'lesser' pictures to set off others.

With the exhibition space ready and all the works to hand John suggested I should start laying out the works against the walls as I saw fit, using the works on my list. He would return later.

On the first run through I produced a layout which used all the works on my list except 'Silhouettes', plus 'BANANAD!' and 'Oh, tedium' from John's list.

I was reasonably happy with the layout except for one of the two long walls on which I had 'Ships that pass', 'Passage of time', 'No Sherlock?' and 'The horse chestnut'.

When he returned John agreed with my observation that the wall didn't 'work', and objected to the inclusion of one or more of 'Ships that pass', 'Passage of time' and 'No Sherlock?'. I said all three had to be in, and with that specific layout. He accepted this, the three were left lined up against the wall.

We moved on to other walls, where John separated the two drawings 'Tunnels' and 'Piazza' by the inclusion of 'Here and there' which was on neither list. Next John accepted my thematic linking of 'Ultima Thule', 'Beyond the pale', 'The room beyond', 'Laugh' and 'March event', but reorganised the sequence. He then removed 'Horse chestnut' from the first wall and placed it between 'March event' and 'Green cube'

Returning to the first wall I was less than convinced when John took 'Summer holidays' from his list and the unlisted 'Mr Hyde's pendulum' as well as the sidelined 'Silhouettes' and brought them across. However their addition transformed the hitherto 'iffy' wall.

The two works on John's initial list which didn't get displayed are shown below.

0 Contents