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Blog - Rachel Gadsden

The artists get to work completing sketches


Watercolour painting

This first day was a day of studio-based work, establishing ground-rules and starting-point.  I asked the group to introduce themselves individually, and tell each other something of their lives. The difficulties imposed upon each member of the group by their circumstances and impairments became apparent very quickly, the significant mobility, psychological and social restrictions; and this became a very emotional and turbulent interaction.

I collected a tall flower from the grounds of Star Mountain, a stridently-growing white bloom having a sinuous petal-structure, opening and closing, and chosen as a metaphor for beauty, interest and confinement.

At Star Mountain we had been given the use of an extremely spacious studio as a base, and today all of the artists completed sketches and began drawings and paintings. I showed the work of many different artists who through their art have considered their lives and the societies they are a part of in terms of their own vulnerabilities, including, for example, Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas (Against the Wall paintings), Anselm Kiefer. In view of the obvious cross-over of circumstances I asked the group if it was worth considering, at least in part, this approach to subject-matter.

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