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New exhibition at UCA Canterbury explores the 'Curator's Cupboard'

An exhibition that explores the disorder of the ‘curator’s cupboard’ is now on show at the Herbert Read Gallery at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Canterbury.

Commonplace is curated by UCA curator’s Amy Owen and Georgie Scott and features artists Mark Selby, a lecturer and sculptor, and Rebecca Waterworth, a senior lecturer and multi-faceted practitioner, who both teach at UCA Rochester.

For the exhibition, the artists were invited to consider the narrative of the ‘curator’s cupboard’ and the objects within it to create a new piece of collaborative work.

Installation shot

“Theatrical references, such as curtains, sets and stages, have been used to transform the gallery space, as the artists explore the ways in which the architecture and contents perform,” explained Georgie.

The room beyond the gallery sometimes referred to as the ‘curator’s cupboard’, is a space that is difficult to define. It simultaneously acts as a storage space, a meeting room, an office and an archive room.

Due to these multiple uses, over time the ‘curator’s cupboard’ collects an assortment of discarded objects. These discarded objects, previously fundamental in one exhibition, can become rejected remnants by the next.

“The potentiality of these usually unseen objects and hidden space is explored as their formal elements are re-staged in the gallery,” added Amy. 

During commonplace, the gallery will also be used as a studio space for local musician and composer Sam Bailey who teaches at Canterbury Christ Church University. His expertise covers classical piano performance, jazz improvisation and free improvisation with a focus on collaborative performances. He will be tasked with developing a new piece of music in response to the gallery space and the objects that occupy it.  

Installation shot

Sam will be working in the gallery space every Monday, Tuesday and Friday morning, Rebecca every Wednesday and Friday, and Mark every Thursday and Friday. In this way, the exhibition will buck the traditional, static exhibition format, producing instead an evolving exhibition, with continuous dialogue and exchange between the curators and artists.

“We all seemed to work very fluidly in terms of turning the objects into collaborative work,” explained Rebecca. “The stands and structures for hanging were quite interesting and made interesting patterns on the floor, but I wasn’t sure what some of the objects were and hadn’t quite realised the potential of bubble wrap until now!”

Altogether, the artists will aim to create an ordered harmony from the former chaos of the ‘curator’s cupboard’, which will culminate in a musical performance at the end of the exhibition.

“There is a sense that there is a harmony already developing and it will be interesting to work with Sam in terms of exploring a sonic harmony as well as an aesthetic harmony,” said Rebecca.

commonplace is now open and runs until 20 March

The Closing Event with a performance by Sam Bailey will take place on Friday 20 March, 5-7pm.

Venue: Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury, New Dover Road, CT1 3AN.

Opening Times: Mon – Fri: 10am – 6pm, Sat: 10am – 5pm, Sun: 1 – 5pm.

To stay up-to-date with the exhibition's progress, follow @ucakentgalleries