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An Interview with the Curators: "Private Territory" and "Forest"

The Norman Rea Gallery is happy to play host once again to two new exhibitions. These are very special exhibitions to us as they are brought to you by two of our very own members! “Private Territory”, curated by Kalina Kossowska, is an exhibition presenting works from both Alexander James Wood and Ruairi Fallon. Ella Baker brings us "The Forest”, a collection of illustrations from Phillip J. Jones.

I had some questions for the two curators as opening night loomed. Starting with Baker:

Could you tell us a bit about the artist's work?

EB: Phillip’s work is absolutely stunning. He works freehand in pen and ink, using natural shapes and patterns, textures and tones as his inspiration. His illustrations blend whimsy and nostalgia within an entomological framework. The illustrations on display are mainly black ink on white, but keep a look out for cheeky pops of colour!

Have you curated an exhibition before?

EB: Yes, I've had the chance to curate an exhibition for the NRG as part of a team before. Last summer myself and four others put together a show of University of York students' art work. We chose the theme, publicised the exhibition, called for submissions and all in all had loads of fun doing it!

How has it been working on a solo show? What are some of the highlights and challenges?

EB: Working on a solo show has been a great opportunity, but not one without it's challenges! Having complete control over creative decisions has been pretty daunting but everyone at the NRG has been entirely supportive! There have been a tonne of challenges and set backs but nothing that a bit of quick thinking and a few words of helpful advice couldn't fix! Now I know that hanging work from bulldog clips is godsend for quick repositioning! The highlight for me though, was being able to step back after a long weekend of setting up the exhibition, and seeing how everything had taken shape! That was really satisfying!

Prices start from £10 for prints and £40 for originals.

Up next was Kossowska:

What are some of your experiences with curating previous exhibitions?

KK: I learned a lot from my previous experience with curating. During the project for York Art Gallery I discovered how important research can be for the process of curating. Whilst preparing NRG X LUMA I realised about all the little things that you have to plan and organise before launching the exhibition.

How has it been to curate a solo show?

KK: Challenging. It's a highly multitasking process. I needed to plan everything myself, from developing the concept and choosing the artists, to printing the leaflets. The amount of physical work is overwhelming but the same time, it is very satisfactory and rewarding when you look at the final product.

How did you decide to exhibit two artists? Did you have an idea of the theme first, or the artists?

KK: I went to London to see Graduate Art Shows with the aim of finding a few artists who would attract my attention. I ended up with five artists and after having a closer look at their works, I realised that A.J. Wood's and R. Fallon's prints have much in common. Their art inspired me to come up with a concept of different types of privacy.

“Private Territory” and “The Forest” are open from 7pm, Monday 8th February.

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