Bath Contemporary Art Gallery https://www.bathcontemporary.com
January – May 2017
Volunteer Internship at Bath Contemporary Gallery. A competitive internship offered by Bath Contemporary to fine art students at Bath Spa University.
Roles included: Curating, hanging exhibitions, learning how a commercial art gallery runs, including assisting with solo and mixed private views and other events. Updating gallery records and photographing artwork for the new website.
I learnt about this experience through a talk given to us about this opportunity at university. Where upon I entered the selection process, including an interview stage and consequently I was fortunate enough to be selected to partake in the voluntary internship programme at Bath Contemporary Art Gallery (Gay Street in Bath). My interview took place in October 2016 and since then I was shortlisted along with 2 other candidates to have a two months programme (January and February), completing 8 full working days in the gallery itself.
Assisting with a variety of tasks from photographing artists work, updating the galleries ledger and helping to curate group and solo shows in the two gallery spaces. The time in which I have spent working alongside Oliver Adams and Bridget Sterling has been invaluable. I have gained so many more skills that have already proved to be very helpful for professionalism within my own artists practice. I was welcomed as an art practitioner and someone who works for the gallery.
I photographed work for the new website, by setting up a photo studio on the gallery floor during opening hours. Photographing all of the art in the exhibition from different angles, to give an online audience a true representation of the work as they would in the gallery. I have also done a lot of work on the galleries ledger, which records all of the details for all of the artwork that they have for ease of gathering data. I have learnt many practical and technical skills during this placement, that will be beneifical to my professional practice in the future.
I have particularly learnt that there is a huge importance to the hanging of an exhibition and the curation of a space in relation to the artwork. I have learnt professional skills behind the fundamentals of hanging a show and the practical requirements for exhibiting in a space in accordance with the work itself. I have learnt that measuring and adjusting the height of paintings to the same uniformed level in a space is a vital component to a show. This experience has been very useful shadowing and assisting in all of the galleries hangs for the two month period. Learning individual techniques and adapting their ways of working with my own has also been very beneficial. Below are some images related to the Boo Mallinson and Sumi Perera hang.
During the two months programme that I spent at the gallery, there were no private views scheduled. Consequently, I used my initiative and decided that I would benefit hugely from working events, for building my confidence in situations networking purposes.
Ian Fraser’s private view:
As I didn’t hang this exhibition I was prepped about his work before the evening started, and I was informed more about himself and his practice, in order to achieve a well informed environment from the gallery. I had a conversation with Rick Kirby that proved to be very useful, we spoke about the idea of teaching alongside being an art practitioner, which is a pathway that I am considering for a potential career option.
I also had a very interesting interview, which over ran and lasted two hours, with Catherine Pitt (a local historian and writer for Bath Life magazine). We discussed topics surrounding myself and also the gallery experience. Click here for a link to the interview…
Evaluation for my professional practice module:
An action shot networking at Ian Fraser’s private view.
Labelling artwork for a new hang.
Looking at the final details of a print for sale.
Action shot measuring the artwork for uploading details to the ledger and the galleries website.
I have gained many invaluable skills from this experience working in Bath Contemporary. My main aim was to see how an art gallery runs from a commercial perspective and how relationships and negotiations are set up between gallery and client. I have achieved this by interacting with artists such as Rick Kirby and Albert Montserrat. I have taken advantage of all opportunities that I have encountered with the artists. Albert Montserrat dropped off some new work for a mixed hang and I took the opportunity of asking him about his experiences with selling work through a gallery and the importance of networking with as many people as I can in order to get my name heard.
Having critically reflected on this internship, I believe it has been very successful and beneficial in many different aspects. Learning photoshop skills and being taught the importance of hanging a painting at the right level are skills that will help form my professional approach to my artistic career. The whole experience has opened many new chapters for me, invitations for collaborative projects and group exhibitions (please see my other external professional practice projects). These opportunities are continuing to arise within my constantly growing artist network.