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Out of this Earth - Student Exhibition 2023

I began to write this introduction on Earth Day, which seems appropriate for an exhibition drawn from the work of students who participated in the ‘Out of This Earth’ online workshop. I’m delighted to be able to present the pieces shown here and although drawn from a single workshop, they demonstrate how each individual found their own way, their own preferences and their own ideas. Learning new media is a journey of discovery. A journey that enables each of us to discover what we respond to… and what we don’t. Mastery over the media and the tools is also important. In engaging with this great bunch of people, I’ve seen how they’ve trusted the process and forged on through, sometimes having to repeat approaches many times in order to truly grasp the possibilities, grapple with the variables (such as the weather) and learn how their own selves affect the outcome. Having trod a similar path myself, I’m aware that as well as whoops of delight and pleasure, there will have been much gnashing of teeth and cursing!

I have repeatedly encouraged participants to turn any fear they might have into curiosity …and just do it. A tutor can provide guidance in terms of technique or process but guidelines aren’t rules, there will always be other ways forward. The “what if” question must be asked time and time again. We are only limited by the scope of our imagination, a willingness to take risks and a willingness to let go of outcome. Nothing is a failure – as long as we learn.

Once participants had begun to get to grips with media and process, the desire to create finished work entered the arena. Agnes Martin wrote “It takes a great deal of application to make a composition that is totally acceptable”. Application, time, work and effort. We have to look, cogitate, come up with and audition ideas and consider what the piece needs to cross the finish line. Finally, it takes courage to submit a piece of work for an exhibition. Courage, coupled with a willingness to be open to feedback helps us apply rigour in putting forward something we feel confident in putting our name to. So, I salute the participants of ‘Out of This Earth’. Your curious minds, willingness to strike out and find new ground, step out of comfort zones, support each other and forge ahead have been a privilege and a pleasure. For you, the viewer of this exhibition catalogue, I encourage you to look with ‘soft eyes’ and acknowledge the journey of the participants, which is a never-ending one. As Chris Ofili says, “The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion”.

Claire Benn

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Would you like a printed copy of this Exhibition book?

We are delighted to announce that this online student exhibition is now ready to be purchased as a book from Peecho!  By clicking the below link - you can purchase the online student exhibition as a hardcopy and have it on hand whenever you need it to share with others. Please note that Peecho is a third party book printing company and we have no control over the postage costs to your destination.

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