Today I went to see a pop-up exhibition at Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard. The exhibition is The Art of Truth in the Digital Age and the artists are Oona Wagstaff and Alan Qualtrough. The work on display “explores the cosequences of digital communications technology on our society such as the spectacle and the changing nature of truth and reality.”
Alan leads workshops on letterpress printing and explained to us how it was done. It sounded similar to using stamps but instead using big wooden blocks with letters carved into them. I’ve seen one of the prints in the PCA Pre-degree Centre, and Alan said that he has been working with a group of students there. This installation of his letterpress prints seems like a protest against misuse of social “meedia” and lies that are spread digitally. It is a striking and colourful display and the simple slogans made me really think about the messages I see and hear every day. Interestingly, one of the most interesting prints seemed completely blank until I took a very close look, but you’ll have to visit to see it for yourself!
This print feels louder then the others because of it’s huge, blocky typeface and dark colour. I liked the way that the print isn’t completely finished in places and Alan explained that this technique is called a ‘kiss’, whereas a strong complete print is called a ‘bite’. I’ve never done any letterpress printing but seeing this exhibition and meeting Alan has gotten me really interested in trying it out for myself!
This abstract piece by Oona Wagstaff is a painting, but her paintings felt more like sculptures when I viewed them up close. She layers oil paint on board and there are sections cut out of the boards which made me want to stroke them and feel the edges.
Information Bomb is a silkscreen of a graphite drawing by Oona. It is dark and scary but still beautiful, and so are her black and white monotype prints. Both Oona and Alan will be in the gallery at different times throughout the exhibition if you want to talk to them or have any questions.
The shop at the front of the gallery has several pieces by artists from Ocean Studios including this story box by Fi Smart. Her story boxes are cute and inspiring. We have been making houses with story box rooms at my Saturday Arts Club and these have given me some ideas.
The Art of Truth in the Digital Age exhibition is part of Home Grown, a month of pop-up exhibitions at Ocean Studios by various Plymouth Artists. I hope I can go to and report on all of them!
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