Ashmolean Museum and Gallery
The Ashmolean Museum and Gallery is situated in Oxford and for those of you who have never been it is a jewel of a place. Not surprisingly perhaps in such a wealthy city, the Ashmolean seems to punch far above it’s weight and often has really spectacular shows. The scale is small but the vision is excellent and the way the shows are curated and scheduled is intelligent and exciting. I went recently to find a small exhibition of Howard Hodgkin’s personal collection of Mughal art rubbing shoulders with a lovely little collection of images by ‘The Squinter’ Guercino (an odd coincidence for those who read my last blog as Hans Peter Feldman has added squints to found portraits). The conversation that this juxtaposition set up, of the Mughal and Italian artists but also the ghostly voice of Hodgkin’s own work was entrancing. Use of perspective, use of line, use of figuration and colour; the similarities and differences were fascinating.
I would urge anyone who lives between Birmingham and the South Coast to investigate travel to Oxford. It is extremely well served by buses and trains which can often be booked in advance very cheaply.
I suppose because I am hebridean and have to travel long distances to do anything involving anyone else I have a different attitude to travel, but I wish now that when I had lived on the mainland I hadn’t been so squeamish about travelling to see interesting things. I would never have thought, for instance, of travelling from Brighton to Edinburgh or Newcastle to see an exhibition, whereas now I recognise that some of these shows are a once in a lifetime experience and the British Isles are actually very small and easily traversed. A check on the museum’s website as well as that of MOMA should help you decide when to visit. Next up is an exhibition about the Qur’an at the Ash and Shezad Dawood at Moma. You might even be able to fit in a visit to the Pitt Rivers with it’s voodoo dolls and shrunken heads.
Can I also make a plea with this blog to all level 3 students to PLEASE put your work on the OCA website. There are very few level 3 students participating and yet you are where your fellow students are heading. It would be really useful for your peers to be able to see what you are doing and get a better idea of what a degree level course is in terms of skill level, commitment and workload. You really ought to be using the website anyway and uploading your work so that you can link up with other level 3s and crit each other’s work. Don’t hide your light – we all want to see your work and it is important for the degree course as a whole that it has a robust and energetic presence on the website. If you are a level 3 student reading this and you have a website, blog or flickr page, add the link here so we can have a look straight away and then please consider uploading the images onto the oca website as well.