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Exhibition review: Great Exhibition of the North. Part 2 - The Open College of the Arts
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Exhibition review: Great Exhibition of the North. Part 2

Yesterday, I blogged about my visit to Great Exhibition of the North at Baltic. I got as far as the ground floor and ran out of space. This morning, I woke up wanting to tell you more…
Moving around Baltic, I enjoyed the playful speaking sculptural faces built into the internal walls by Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan. I also took a copy their accompanying newspaper to read at home.
So far, all of the artworks I have seen in Baltic square and inside have combined art with bits of writing. In particular, the writing seems to explore forms of proposition, aphorism and affirmation. Hmm, is that a coincidence? or is it a deliberate connection made by the curators I wonder.
Pondering on this, I took the stairs to level 4. Here, Idea of North presents a lively series of projects that play with the convention of the ‘expo’ event. This is a really full and busy exhibition where you could spend hours reading and exploring the spaces, texts, objects and images of various complex art and design projects. The show includes pavilions, architectural constructions and guest-curated displays that, ‘celebrate the enduring resilience and transforming spirit of a northern identity through architecture, photography, music and design.’

Visitors looking at an architectural model by Ryder Architecture of unrealised modernist masterplan TyneDeck, 1969. In the background, a constructed geodesic dome housing an exhibition by guest curators MaterialDriven. Are these people doing first-hand research?
A section of Idea of North is devoted to photography exhibition entitled Women by Women curated by photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen. ‘This intimate collection explores the representation of women and girls in the North East by women photographers, moving back and forward through time, between the 1970s and the present.’
I did enjoy a sense of intimacy and pathos in these photographs. Later on, I visited a related exhibition at Side Gallery.
There is so much more to see but too little space here to tell you about it all.  I will continue tomorrow with some art seen outside the gallery in the city of Newcastle.
Please do check out the web links and consider if you could get to see some of these exhibitions. Don’t forget it is all work and improves first-hand research skills and critical awareness. There is so much to see all around Newcastle-Gateshead throughout the summer.

Posted by author: Dan Robinson
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