By: Sue Tansley, Head of Art and Sarah Jones, Teacher of Art |

Year 13 headed to London last week and were first presented with a journey through Life and Death by Bill Viola and Michelangelo at the Royal Academy. An unexpected and odd combining of two great artists.

This exhibition challenged several and fascinated others. The exquisite drawings by Michelangelo were rather overwhelmed by the scale and drama of the Viola multi screen film installations. It certainly was a dramatic way to start the day. The groups then split as the Photographers headed to the Photographers gallery to see the moving images of pre-holocaust European Jews by Vishniac and the delicate abstract images of nature by Arno Schidlowski. A quick tube ride to Pimlico and photographs being snapped all the while in response to exam themes until we arrived at the wonderful Tate Britain, which entertained us for the rest of the day. The Don McCullin retrospective ensured that our day was still full of thought provoking and moving images depicting war zones and poverty. This meant that the landscapes in the last room and the beautiful colourful paintings throughout the rest of the gallery were a welcome relief from the mirror upon the worst of society’s death and destruction.

After the Royal Academy the Fine Artists took it all in their stride, the second stage of their tour began in Duke Street where we explored the independent galleries. Students explored Lowry’s urbanites and Hepworth’s abstractions close up. For many they enjoyed the small-scale horse paintings of fellow Framlinghamian Alfred Munnings. The walk across the Thames enabled photographic opportunities for one student’s thematic choice of ‘urban environment’. Southbank’s graffitied skate-park provided a vibrant backdrop for further photo-shoots. Tate Modern overpowered in scale and offered up urbanised views aplenty. ‘Magic Realism’ portraits within were expressive and shocking in their raw emotion. Our portrait painters chose the theme of ‘shadows’ and many light effects were presented amongst a myriad of painting styles. We look forward to seeing the culmination of their efforts in their end of year show in Paul’s Court.

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