Playing with the Masters

Catherine Lalevee is interviewing Deanna Tyson – discussing teaching art and the upcoming exhibition “Exploring…isms” by Ateljé Fulbourn at the Cambridge Art Salon.

Deanna and I finally get to speak about the exhibition via phone on a Saturday afternoon. She is very busy producing new work – mainly working in her studio at the back of her garden.

I begin by asking her about Ateljé Fulbourn. “It is a very unusual name!” I wonder if she is smiling at my silly comment or simply shaking her head,  Deanna explains that it is the name her group of students.  The group has have shown their work previously in Brookfields Hospital, twice in Fulbourn and the Geldart Pub on Ainsworth Street in Cambridge.

When asking about the inspiration for the exhibition, Deanna goes on to explains that the idea for the show first came from an exercise she practiced with her class. She says: “The aim of the original exercise was to research and explore three different art movements from 18th century to the modern day. The task was to grouped them into three time-related sections from Impressionism through Cubism to Conceptualism…to study styles and discover underlying philosophies.”

Deanna explained that she choose these modern art movements as some of her students hadn’t heard of them previously. “Just to create a new challenge!” The students had to learn about what differentiates the paintings and get a better understanding of the styles through composition and colour. “The aim was to aid the students to understand and read paintings within the context of an exhibition or their own work.”

As the exercise progressed, the pieces started to show real qualities as work in progress rather than finished pieces, she adds proudly.  The next step seemed to be quite obvious: “I decided to make the exercise an even bigger challenge by extending the decision making to mounting and presentation.” Deanna wanted her group of students to face the challenges of exhibiting a show and to learn to work together towards creating something unique. The students had to learn about marketing, publicity and curating an exhibition. The group was able to use skills from previous professions to help them do this. “All of their shows had previously been curated and organized by me”, says Deanna, but she never had much involvement with the hanging or marketing of this event, as she wanted her class to experience both sides of putting on an exhibition.

So, what will be next for Deanna? She says that there will not be another exhibition planned for the Ateljé yet. “This show is truly a unique opportunity to see these works.” However, Deanna explains that she is also a member of part of a “STRAY”, a collaboration of Cambridge artists, which are interested in the way their different practices work alongside each other, as well as creating a sense of rhythm, line and colour to create a relationship between their work. “STRAY” will be exhibiting at The Gallery on Red Church Street  in London from the 5th to the 10th of June.

“Exploring…isms” by Ateljé Fulbourn will open on Friday, the 25th of May at the Cambridge Art Salon.

Written by Catherine Lalevee and Anika Zschiesche.