Castlefield Gallery Feedback.
CASTLEFIED GALLERY FEEDBACK. ANGELA FOX ARTIST Whilst studying MA Contemporary Fine Art at Salford, it was required that I complete primary and secondary research for the creative research module.
My practice is autobiographical and can be challenging and sensitive for both the viewer and myself as artist. Researching the artist Jo Spence, I realised I had similar difficulties with ‘a wall of silence’. People didn’t like to discuss my work with me, and I was unsure why.
Castlefield Art Gallery agreed to display two pieces of my work alongside an anonymous feedback questionnaire. They very kindly assisted me in my research, and I am very grateful to them for the feedback that I received, it has been extremely important and going forward, I will certainly be aware of the responses in my future practice. What evidence did I find?
I used empathy mapping to collate the evidence. Splitting into two themes of troubling, dark etc and those that didn’t contain.
The evidence made for interesting reading, some expected responses and some unexpected. As the artist being all consumed in my practice, I can become distanced from the other and how they might interpret the work. There was as expected an overarching response of sadness, darkness, illness and discomfort. However, I didn’t expect the levels of discomfort and sadness in the feedback. I am grateful for the frankness of the feedback. In my practice I purposefully want the viewer to experience strong emotions, I want the work to be disruptive even controversial, a glimpse to the viewer of how cancer has disrupted my life. I wasn’t prepared for some of the responses being so dark. I think overall I am happy with the responses towards the darkness of the works, this means I am successfully conveying the message through my practice. Comparing the responses of the materials used to create the two pieces. 1. Prescription bags on canvas with red stencilled text. 2. Breast Plaster of Paris body casts. A few responses touched upon the repetition and commercialisation of the prescription bags and fragility which were all factors I knew existed within the work but didn’t think they would be recognised, especially fragility as I thought my work had an inner strength. I’m now realising my work can contain both. There wasn’t an overriding difference between people’s perceptions of my older work on canvas and my current work, body casts. This was a positive outcome, as there isn’t an obvious disparity between the pieces. It was an enlightening project, and it couldn’t have gone ahead without the help of the staff and volunteers at Castlefield Gallery Manchester. Thank you so much to the staff and volunteers at Castlefield Gallery who helped with my research, it has helped me to understand my art practice on a much deeper level.