By: Sarah Jones, Teacher or Art and Sue Tansley, Head of Art
Year 10 artists were taken on an educational study visit to London recently. With Fine Artists and Photographers, we split the groups initially and then joined up later at the Tate Modern.
Fine artists were treated to a ‘schools only’ opening of ‘Picasso Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery. For an artist in his 90s, Picasso had a vast collection of portraits on display that encompassed a variety of styles and media: from the neo-classical, the caricature, to the cubist. With over 80 portraits on offer there was something for everyone. We also had the opportunity to work with an artist who taught us about drawing with light and continuous line drawing.
The Photographers began at the Natural History Museum to view the annual exhibition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. They found this exhibition particularly exciting and had many questions about the technical aspects, the compositions or even the ethics behind some of the images in this spectacular exhibition. With the winning image, being shot on a GoPro, it brings into question so many ideas of what photography is in today’s society. From here the Photographers went to the Tate Modern to see the Radical Eye; an extensive collection of modernist photography loaned by Sir Elton John. This was the other end of the spectrum from the wildlife photography, as these images form the very history of the medium. The images presented here are from when photographers started to explore the way in which cameras could view the world differently.
The Fine Artists joined the photographers at The Tate Modern, which provided a contrast with a variety of artists on show. While the Photographers went in to see the retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg, the Fine Artists focused on portraiture and the figure. Many were entranced by Degas’ ‘Little Dancer aged fourteen’. Rauschenberg’s exhibition proved a puzzle for some but extended others ideas about possible media and means of appropriation in art. Many enjoyed finding the odd item of clothing or quilt used for a painting background. His work can be quite challenging for pupils and as such some loved it and some did not. A little bit of debate in art is always welcomed!