We visited The Witham at Barnard Castle, which will be the third venue for our touring exhibition of the Latest Edition project. The building itself is made up of two historic buildings which have been joined together to create a light and spacious development. There is a striking combination of beautiful heritage features displayed alongside more contemporary, usable spaces, which highlight how the building has evolved through the ages.
The Witham today is a not-for-profit organisation, and is largely supported by a team of committed volunteers. It is at the heart of the town, and plays host to a wide variety of events such as exhibitions, gigs, artist talks, supper clubs, children's theatre, and wedding receptions, as well as providing tourist information and acting as a important community asset attracting many loyal regulars.
The Dispensary Cafe Bar, so named because of its former use as a healthcare facility, houses a beautiful ceramic installation by Judy Caplin which explores the heritage plants of Teesdale. It was commissioned in 2013 to celebrate the Witham's redevelopment and makes for a very striking piece within the light, airy space.
The primary reason for our visit was to size up the exhibition room, and also the retail space which will stock the artist merchandise. I think it's quite helpful having already exhibited at the Festival of Thrift as we have all seen our work displayed together. Each space will house the pieces differently, and between us we discussed how each artists' work might adapt. A great feature in the Witham are the 2 moveable walls which allow the room to change depending on requirements of the artwork. I also appreciated the large arched window which lets in lovely natural light, a quality which will compliment my hanging installation by casting strong shadows onto the wall behind.
I'm excited to tour the artwork across the next three venues, especially since we now all have a better understanding of how things might be displayed. I feel confident that we work together well as artists, and I think it's important to recognise the social aspect of putting on group exhibitions, as you can often find yourself working alone. Other people's insights and ideas can be very inspiring!
Latest Edition will be exhibiting works at The Witham from 15th February to 17th March 2018.