Student work: Rachel Metcalfe - The Open College of the Arts
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Student work: Rachel Metcalfe

Walking the Tide

Finally, my work is being exhibited. The journey has been long and winding, but worth it. The sense of relief and achievement is huge. 

The nerves and excitement I expected to feel as the exhibition approached were not as I predicted. I was constantly holding my breath, selfishly hoping I wouldn’t need to self-isolate or be placed in a local lockdown before the hanging day. Nerves with regards to the actual exhibition layout or success, seemed insignificant in comparison. Fortunately, hanging day arrived without any hiccups and passed calmly. 

The work on display explores the Drigg shoreline in West Cumbria, where I have been recording my experiences of walking the tideline over several years. The work documents my journey through the landscape using field studies and journals, and records my personal ‘lived experience’ with the place, through the use of photographs, sketches, poetry, notes, film and artist’s books. The ‘Walking The Tide’ exhibition provides the viewer with a rare insight into my methodology and the inspiration for my large, dynamic paintings as well as detailed records of the strange and unusual items found in the flotsam and jetsam along the tideline. Maintaining the local theme, my work incorporates paints made from local materials made on site at the Florence Mine Gallery (Egremont Red, St Bees Yellow and Kirkby Grey) where the work is currently being exhibited.

I hope that by acting as an honest witness to the changes occurring within a place, I can influence my audience, by encouraging them to respect and appreciate their environment, and to work together to help preserve, protect and restore it. 

Knowing the hard work and energy used to get to this point in my course, I really feel for my fellow peers whose exhibitions have suffered at the hands of the virus. Their disappointment must be great. My expected visitor numbers will be down and opening events and artists’ talks are not permitted, but I know I am very lucky. My work is on display as planned, and in my chosen gallery. My vision for my work has been realised, for which I am both pleased and proud.

Should you be travelling up or down the A595 in the next month, then please stop off at Florence Mine Arts Centre, Egremont and discover my ‘Walking The Tide’ exhibition, exploring the Drigg coastline in West Cumbria. Due to the strange times we find ourselves in, masks need to be worn, a one-way system around the gallery adhered to and only six people are allowed in at one time. However, there will be a warm welcome by the gallery staff.

Exhibition Details

‘Walking The Tide’ runs until Saturday 31 October 2020 at Florence Arts Centre, Florence Mine, Egremont, Cumbria. CA22 2NR. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. FREE ENTRY and FREE PARKING. For more information contact the Florence team at: (01946) 824946

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Posted by author: Rachel Metcalfe
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17 thoughts on “Student work: Rachel Metcalfe

    • Amazing, wonderful art!! It hits me where good art….in my humble opinion….always hits me, right in the middle of my chest!! Wish I could see the real thing. One day!!

  • Lovely work Rachel in a stunning context. We have walked with you some of the way along the tide line! Thank you for taking us there

  • Would love to come and see it but a 3 hour 24 minute drive from Barnsley and back would be a bit much in a day 🙂 It looks stunning.

  • Well done Rachel.
    Lovely work, and a huge credit for getting an exhibition on especially at the current time.
    Would love to see it live but tucked away in the South East I’ll just have to view it on-line.

  • Do love the visual passion in your work and the interconnection to the environment. The aesthetic beauty does not distract from the message . I too hope my work nudges viewers towards protect and restore much needed ecology. Well done and I just wish I could come and see both your work and the coast line!

  • Congratulations, Rachel! Your work is really impressive and it’s great that your exhibition could go ahead. You should be very proud of your achievement!

  • Congratulations on reaching this point. The deep exploration and commitment to the place really comes through.

  • I love both your work and the concept. I’d love to have been able to see it in person. My own work explores the theme of an artist as a ‘Recorder’, particularly in relation to place, so your work really resonates with me.
    Congratulations and good luck.

  • Congratulations Rachel. Your work is incredibly inspiring and beautiful . It resonate strongly with me also. Really hope your exhibition goes well and people are able to get to see it. All the best.

  • Congratulations- looks great. I too wish I could get there. Are you thinking of publishing more about your exhibition? Catalogue or virtual visit ? I’d like to see more.

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