17 September 2021
Woldingham students, staff and guests were treated to a private view of an art exhibition like no other on Thursday 16 September, as Teacher of Art Ms Hare explains.
Ms Amy Hare, Teacher of Art
If the best art reflects our lives and experiences, then Parallel Adaptations, an exhibition of work made by Woldingham’s GCSE and A Level students during the pandemic is art of the highest standard. Parallel Adaptations brings together painting, drawing, textiles, ceramics, digital artwork, film, animation and mixed media work made across three continents and five time zones in the last academic year. Woldingham artists have been resilient and resourceful in their approach, often working in smaller spaces or with access to fewer tools and materials. This has led to artwork that is truly varied, exciting and entirely reflective of a unique year. The exhibition clearly demonstrates Woldingham students’ hard work, and determination to continue learning and creating even in challenging conditions. The excellent 2021 GCSE and A Level results of our art students are further testament to this.
GCSE students’ work on display comes from three projects; Natural Forms, completed in Woldingham’s studio; Event, which was started in the studio and completed at home; and Cartography, which was inspired by the idea of mapping a particular place, object or idea and recorded students’ lockdown experiences in the 2021 spring term. Although painting and drawing produced at home tended to be on a smaller scale than work made in the studio, it was wonderful to see GCSE students adapting their practice and experimenting with digital artwork, sculpture, printing, and animation.
The A Level work exhibited was completed in the autumn term of 2020 on the induction and skills project, Chair.
Working from home in the spring term this year was no barrier to Upper Sixth students applying for art and design degree courses – indeed they used it as direct inspiration, resulting in some highly innovative and experimental projects. I am delighted to report that they were all successful in their applications for further study and are now beginning their next art adventure at Central St Martins, University of Edinburgh, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, and Parsons School of Design, New York.
Working from home and navigating an ever-changing world over the past twelve months has also given students a deeper understanding of how art can contribute to our mental wellbeing by focusing the mind on the creative process and how it can give us a sense of achievement when mastering a new skill. When we see the work brought together in this exhibition we can also understand that, although we have spent some time working apart from each other, we are all connected by our desire to make a permanent record of our experiences, to be creative and to reflect the world around us by making art.