Preperation before the Art in County Hall exhibition

Hello! Hello!

The preparations for “Art in Country Hall” exhibitions are now completed! The glass cabinets have been properly cleaned and polished, the artworks are now  perfectly displayed and everything is ready for the big day! The opening will take place on Friday, the 20th of May at 17:00 pm and the exhibition will be open every working day for the next 8-10 weeks.

Art in County Hall is a joint exhibition bringing several talented artists from Worcestershire together. Rita’s artwork will be displayed in two gabinets in front of the Council Chamber, while the artworks made by The Garage Art Group from Evesham will be proudly displayed on the walls.  Garage Art Group has just celebrated 20 years of promoting health and well being through the mediums of painting, drawing, textile and other visual arts. If you’d like to learn more about this fantastic charity organization, please visit their official websites:

Garage Art Group - biography

Garage Art Group – biography

Homepage: http://www.garageartgroup.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garageartgroup/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/garageartgroup

Address:  Vale Art Studio, 4/4a Crown Court Yard, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 4RY.
Contact: Pam White (CEO) on 01386 423245 or 07933512210
Email: garageartgroup@live.co.uk

Garage Art Group - exhibit #1

Garage Art Group – exhibit #1

Garage Art Group - exhibit #2

Garage Art Group – exhibit #2

Garage Art Group - exhibit #3

Garage Art Group – exhibit #3

Garage Art Group - exhibit #4

Garage Art Group – exhibit #4

Garage Art Group - exhibit #5

Garage Art Group – exhibit #5

Garage Art Group - exhibit #6

Garage Art Group – exhibit #6

Garage Art Group - full installation

Garage Art Group – full installation

Another artist showcasing his excellent works alongside Rita and the Garage Art Group is Mark Hilsden. Mark has been painting for many years and is very well known in Worcester art circles. He specializes in painting landscapes (especially forest and the sea) but architecture and portraits are also his strong points. Marks artworks are in many private collections including Europe and Australia. He encourages everybody to follow their passion and dare to dream.

Mark Hilsden - picture #1

Mark Hilsden – picture #1

Mark Hilsden - picture #2

Mark Hilsden – picture #2

Mark Hilsden - picture #3

Mark Hilsden – picture #3

Mark Hilsden - picture #4

Mark Hilsden – picture #4

Mark Hilsden - picture #5

Mark Hilsden – picture #5

Mark Hilsden - picture #6

Mark Hilsden – picture #6

Mark is open to commissions, so if you’d like to have your special picture painted, please contact him directly at:

Official website: http://markhilsden.com/
Marks bio: http://artymark.faso.com/page/8606/media-pack-artists-bio-and-cv
Commission guidelines: http://artymark.faso.com/page/7692/commissions
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artistmarkhilsden/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/markhilsden

We are very excited to work with so many talented individuals and grateful for having an opportunity to showcase our work to a huge number of visitors. Did you know that County Hall is visited by hundreds of people each week? It is a very busy place and hopefully it will help Worcestershire based artists reach a wider audience.

At the opening, you will have a chance to learn more about Rita and her work. Malicia was very kind to pen a truly professional bio for her and she is very  happy to share it with you all:

Rita’s bio:

Rita Dabrowicz (born October 1979) is a Polish artist currently living and working in Worcester. Although showing interests in art from an early age, she began to exhibit her works publicly during university years after being inspired by abstract artists such as Jackson Pollack and John Squire. Today, Rita works with several different mediums, ranging from paints (oils, acrylics, watercolours, inks), pencils, clay, pottery and ceramics. She is also an apt craft person using upcycling technique to create paper artworks, cards and decorated items like notebooks or book marks for her own “Cat Shop Décor”. She exhibited in her native Poland and in Malta (taking part in Earth Garden Festival five years in a row, twice at Notte Bianca in Valletta and being featured at Malta Artisan Markets).

Outside of her own artistic endeavours, Rita organizes cultural events and promotes other artists though her blog and social media. Teaming up with her sister under the moniker “Vanadian Avenue”, she organized a series of six exhibitions of local artists in Poland and drawing workshops (between 2000 and 2004) and was responsible for bringing prestigious World Press Photo exhibition to Malta in 2007. She was also a member of Silesian Fantasy Club in Poland for which she co-organized a series of conventions dedicated to Japanese comics, art and culture. She worked as cultural journalists for four years and specialized in female comics and presentation of women in pop culture. Three times she took part in Work Camp initiative to help organize Roskilde Festival in Denmark (2003, 2004, 2007).

Rita enjoys music, travels, photography and Japanese culture.
She can be reached via her blog: www.cocamidemea.wordpress.com or her Facebook shop page www.facebook.com/thecatshopdecor

Rita biography

Rita biography

To please the art loving people of Worcester, we prepared three installations. Below, you can find  pictures and short descriptions:

01. The Celestial Theatre installation

Inspired by Japanese traditional Noh dance theatre, this project links human emotions, superstitions with legends and beliefs that are written among the stars and planets. Each masks represent different omote, mask used during the performances. There are 450 different masks in Noh based on sixty types of characters. Rita’s masks are named after six legendary (yet non-existent) planets that influence us and the planet Earth.

Content of glass cabinet #1

Content of glass cabinet #1

Masks and Orbs

Masks and Orbs

Set of masks

Set of masks

Antichthon (Ἀντίχθων) known as The Counter- Earth. Mysterious twin-planet to Earth hidden from our view. It represents mystery, deceitfulness but also protection and bravery. Appeared for the first time in the writings or Pythagorean philosopher Philolaus. Price: £30

Antichthon Mask

Antichthon Mask

Hercolubus also known as the Red Planet. Mythical future destructor of Earth symbolizes power and vitality. Became wildly popular in Latin America thanks to the writings of Colombian author V.M. Rabolu (Joaquin Enrique Amortegui Valbuena, 1926-2000). Price: £30

Herocolubus Mask

Herocolubus Mask

Kolob also known as The Governing One. A star or a planet mentioned in the Mormon’s “Book of Abraham”, it symbolizes greatness, patience and superiority. According to the text, Kolob is the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God. Price: £30

Kolob Mask

Kolob Mask

Nibiru also known as The Crossing Star or The Point of Transition is an ancient Babylonian term of the equinox and its associated astronomical objects. It is also the name of wildly popular “Planet X” that will bring destruction to Earth. The original concept symbolizes tranquillity, serenity and peace. Price: £30

Nibiru Mask

Nibiru Mask

Vulcan also known as the Tenth Planet, is the hypothetical planet in the Milky Way, located somewhere between Mercury and the Sun. The hypothesis for its existence has been formulated by Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier (1811 –1877) French mathematician specializing in celestial mechanics. It represents strong mind and mathematical skills but also the physical power. Sadly such planet still hasn’t been found but the concept became popular in 1950’s in America and the planet gave its name to the famous alien race in Star Trek TV series franchise. Price: £40

Vulcan Mask

Vulcan Mask

Serpo also known as Serponia or Seinu is a hypothetical alien planet very popular among American conspiracy theories, UFOs, and faster-than-light travel enthusiasts. According to the urban legends, American government signed a top-secret scientific exchange programs with the planet that still goes on since early 1940’s. Serpo has been mentioned in the original X-Files TV series and represents wit, science but also secrecy. Price: £30

Serpo Mask

Serpo Mask

02. Planet Caravan installation

The Planet Caravan installation has been prepared for Earth Garden in 2011. You can read detailed description about each of the 6 orbs here: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/planet-caravan/

The Orb set

The Orb set

The orbs were priced as follows:

Starlight – The Blue Or
Price: £15

The Orb: Starlight

The Orb: Starlight

Twilight – The Violet ORB
Price: £15

The Orb: Twilight

The Orb: Twilight

Broadlight – The Yellow ORB
Price: £15

The Orb: Broadlight

The Orb: Broadlight

Sunlight – The Golden ORB
Price: £15

The Orb: Sunlight

The Orb: Sunlight

Daylight – The Red ORB
Price: £15

The Orb: Daylight

The Orb: Daylight

Additionally, Rita has decided to add three new items to the installation as they were also linked to the general “water” theme:

Two Water dishes

Water dishes

Water dishes

Two water dishes that can store rain water. The blue one is made from recyclable glass, the red one is made from recyclable plastic. Their legs are made from glass beads, the by-product of glass making that can be used for decorative purposes. Both are hand painted with abstract cat details. Can be used as soap or candle holders.
Price: £10 each or £20 for a pair

The DISC

The Disc

The Disc

Mixed media on plastic. The DISC has two sides – the Light Side and The Dark Side (as visible here). It symbolizes both; the Earth and The Moon as both are described having the light and the dark sides. Maybe it represents us all as well? There is light and darkness in all of us.
Price: £15

The Dream Catcher

The Dream Catcher

The Dream Catcher

Rita’s description for this strange sculpture reads: “Made entirely from natural materials: dry leaves, wooden spheres and long green painted grass. What you cannot see is the inside of the biggest sphere: there are several plastic beads that move when the Dream Catcher is rotating. Imagine you are a Dream champion, somebody who can travel through people’s dreams. You would need some kind of device to enter the Dreamscape. It also shows you the good and the bad dreams people are having. It is very useful – did I mention that it can make anyone fall asleep at once?” Price: £20

03. Zodiak

Zodiak is the biggest abstract art series that Rita has ever done. It was prepared in collaboration with British artist Matt Griffiths (sketches) and took nearly half a year to prepare. 12 pictures were displayed for the first time in the Messina Palace in Valetta as part of Notte Biance celebration in 2011.  The exhibition entitled “Astral Room” was big success. One of the artworks has been purchased to a private collection by member of the German-Maltese Circle.

Zodiac - part one

Zodiac – part one

Zodiac -part two

Zodiac -part two

We  have extensively covered the preparations and the exhibition previously on our blog. Please take a look at the entries below to  see detailed information about each picture and high  res images, taken by Malicia:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/zodiak-part-1/
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/zodiak-part-2/
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/zodiak-part-3/

Each of the 11 remaining Zodiak signs were priced at £45. Sign descriptions were laminated and presented for the  members of the public to read.

Description of each Zodiac painting

Description of each Zodiac painting

To raise the number of exhibited artworks to 12, Rita decided to add  smaller abstract piece entitled “The Rain Maker”. It has been inspired by Kate Bush song entitled “Cloudbusting”, the second single from 1985’s album “Hounds of Love”.

The Rain Maker

The Rain Maker

Acrylics and mixed media on canvas.
The artwork is professionally framed and signed by the author.
Price: £30

It’s been a very long day for us as the preparations took several hours to be completed. Please visit us tomorrow at 5 pm. Refreshments and finger food will be provided.

Hope to see you all tomorrow evening. Friday night is perfect for art,  remember that!
xxx
Rita and Mal

Art at County Hall

Dear readers,

Art at County Hall project logo

Art at County Hall project logo

Its mid-May already and in just few days Rita will have her artworks exhibited at Worcestershire County Hall, being a part of Art in County Hall project that showcases local artists  to general public at the picturesque local government building. Art in County Hall is an impressive project – bringing together unusual space and artists that make the Worcester scene a vibrant one. Rita cannot be more proud to be participating. We will make few posts about the project naturally as we want to show you the space and the exhibition itself.

We will start off with The County Hall itself as we love the building and how it works. It is an absolute gem and the surrounding grounds/public park are worth visiting as well. There will be many pictures in this post as we tried to show you the space from every angle. But if you prefer a bit of reading, you won’t be disappointed. We had a visit to the Worcestershire County Archives and they found us an article from 1990 about the building and how it was designed. Fascinating reading it is.

Plus usual links, dates, maps and directions – one happy package.

So let us begin:

County Hall

Entrance

Entrance

Heart of the campus

Heart of the campus

The home of Worcestershire County Council is one of few public buildings in this part of the UK representing brutalist architecture (think Barbican Centre in London for comparison). It was designed for short-lived Hereford and Worcester County Council and located at the semi-rural “E Edge” of the Worcestershire.

Although the building itself was completed between 1974-1978 under the careful eye of its architect – Robert Matthew of Johnson – Marshall & Partners,  the plans for the complex were ready as early as 1972.

View of the Registrar Office

View of the Registrar Office

One of two "wings" or "houses" of the building

One of two “wings” or “houses” of the building

The Hall became house for Worcestershire County when Hereford and Worcester County Council ceased to exist in 1998. Built in red and brown brick, The County Hall was opened for further expansions (which ultimately did not happen if you don’t count few annexes like boiler room) and was considered both innovative and surprisingly ecological for its era.

How brilliant the design was for late 70s – you can tell from good practice case study quoted below. We have to admit, we were impressed by the amount of work put into the concept! It is a very early model of an “intelligent building” making use of solar energy depending on the season and turning elements of the façade into blind shades.  Outworldy, genius and futuristic in the same time.  It is like architectural version of a Doctor Who episode!

 Energy_Efficiency_Hereford_Worcester_County_Hall_1990

County Hall building consists of three connected parts:

  • “Central Section” includes reception, IT help desk, public areas, meeting rooms and Riverside Café open for visitors and staff.
  • “Two wings” or “Houses” include offices, Registrar’s Office, offices of main political parties, gallery passage and the Council Chamber.
The building seen from the side

The building seen from the side

Cantena Terrace

Cantena Terrace

Shades and columns - beautiful details

Shades and columns – beautiful details

County Hall grew very quickly after its inception. Since 1977, many of the buildings owned by Council in the centre of Worcester have been vacated and the staff moved to County Hall campus. In 1985 the Record Office moved to a purpose-built building added to the site.

Today the main campus includes The Hall itself, Record Office annex, eight car parks (682 spaces for County workers and another 96 reserved spaces), boiler room, a bus stop, large public grounds/park and a lake. It is a site for over 3000 workers daily.

The Garden

The Garden

The second "house"

The second “house”

The campus boarders Worcester Woods Country Park and the grounds are home for multiple wild animals (hares, squirrels, badgers, terrapin turtles) and birds (swans, crows, robins, wild ducks, seagulls and even herons). We will not count the amount of species of flowers and trees – but thanks to its unique ecological value, the campus is often referred to as “Worcester lungs”.

Notice about wild life

Notice about wild life

The lake

The lake

The grounds are very well preserved and offer many surprising features, beyond the lake. If someone was to take a stroll around the area – they would encounter jogging paths, a big fountain (called The Flat Fountain by locals), a pond with a brick bridge,  a herb and flower garden and a huge weeping willow.

Pond and the bridge

Pond and the bridge

The solitary Weeping Willow

The solitary Weeping Willow

The Flat Fountain

The Flat Fountain

Public path

Public path

You can also find many sculptures scattered among the campus: dancers, capoeira  fighters and even a heron eating a fish.

The Dancers

The Dancers

Capoeira Fighters

Capoeira Fighters

Heron sculpture

Heron sculpture

Heron sculpture again and artificial pond with a bridge

Heron sculpture again and artificial pond with a bridge

Being an important business and public place, County Hall has an easy access from city center and from the nearest highway network (M5). You can see the directions from the attached leaflet.

County_Hall_How_to_get_there

And once you arrive on site,  you can use the following map of the campus

Map_County_Hall

If you are still not fully convinced that County Hall campus is one green and living organism, please have a look at the panoramas we had done. They may convince you that Worcestershire has one of the best landscaped sites in the United Kingdom and its County Hall deserves at least a Grade II of protection.

Panorama #1

Panorama #1

Panorama #2

Panorama #2

Panorama #3

Panorama #3

Panorama #4

Panorama #4

The Gallery at County Hall

Gallery at County Hall is formed by large circular public space outside of The Council Chamber.  The Gallery passage contains three large wall spaces each being 7 meters wide and 3 meters high.  There are also two cabinets approximately 6ft high by two feet which can exhibit 3D work.

Art in County Hall ad

Art in County Hall ad

Glass cabinet

Glass cabinet

This space is recently being used to host art exhibitions promoting local artists and showcasing works from students of a nearby University of Worcester under the Art in County Hall. We cannot offer you a virtual tour of the place but we can surely show you a 360 degrees view via images.

Entrance to Gallery Passage

Entrance to Gallery Passage

Both Rita and I believe that Art in County Hall project offers a lot of potential. Just think, County Council is Worcestershire biggest employer, with over 5000 employees. Nearly 3000 people are present daily at the site. That is a large crowd of those potentially interested in art and a good public for upcoming local artists. Moreover County Hall acts as a hub for business meetings, political parties, it is so to say – the headquarters for the councillors. By its very nature it brings together business and funding and is a place where decisions (also about art) are being made.  Art and culture are hardly invited to such places of power, they usually remain in the galleries or  museums  which are not places where political decisions are forged. It kind of marginalizes art in a way.

Passage #1

Passage #1

Passage #2

Passage #2

At the County Hall the division is broken down – art is exhibited in the very heart of the building, for everybody to see. It is hard to pass it and not notice it. And once the art is noticed, it cannot be left out of the equation.  It becomes a part of the scene – not just a fancy background. Bringing together artists, businesses and local government can only create  a positive environment – a platform where a true discussion about the role of art in today`s society can begin. Simple, yet revolutionary idea.

Passage #3

Passage #3

Passage #4

Passage #4

Passage #5

Passage #5

There is also another dimension to the project. We often look up to fancy and very expensive centres –like Microsoft campus in Seattle or Googleplex (headquarters of Google) in California, with its smart buildings, environmental friendly surroundings and secretly wish  we had something similar in close proximity. We often  forget that we have fantastical sites near us, with unique buildings and public parks like the County Hall campus. Those places can be morphed into real epicentres for the community  with just a bit of love and creativity. And that is what art does the best.

We hope you enjoyed this small tour of the County Hall. We will now proceed  to pack the artworks into the suitcases – as tomorrow is a setting up day.

We will see you soon.
Mal& Rita