This inaugural exhibition, opened by Sir Nicholas Serota and Tudor Evans, highlights ideas and themes that will be explored in the following five years at Ocean Studios. These are: Identity, Communication, Feminism, Diversity, Radical Craft and Social Engagement. A Taste of Things to Come, will be part of the Plymouth Art Weekender, an ambitious three day event celebrating visual art across the city between Friday 25th- Sunday 27th September 2015.
The role of the curator at Ocean Studios falls to the two Directors, Leigh Mason and Jennifer Jayarajah both of whom have artistic/making backgrounds alongside their MAs in Entrepreneurial Creative Practice. Audiences are at the heart of their curatorial conversation; not to be guided by fashion or contemporary art trends, but to celebrate the diverse nature of this new artistic community and its location in the city. Their primary aim is to engage audiences who would not ordinarily engage with art or who do not have the opportunity to see work by internationally renowned artists. They want to dismiss the notion that art is for an elite and to welcome everyone. Another ambition is to have more people feeling that the arts are meaningful to them without the concerns of not understanding. This is a major opportunity for art to become integral to local life with long lasting benefits, this echo’s the words of Sir Nicholas, who said,
‘I am very familiar with the experience of being completely at a loss when confronting a new idea or image… This state of "not knowing", of "not understanding", of being disorientated or challenged by the unfamiliar… One of my responsibilities as a curator is therefore to remember that a visitor encountering an unfamiliar work of art in the museum is likely to be unprepared. But I've come to realise that it is precisely when I am most challenged in my own reactions that the deepest insights emerge’ (Dimbleby Lecture).
The selected artists offer work that is emotional, expressive, yet ideas-based. Some are political in nature, looking at identity and language. Above all the show comprises of artists whose work is challenging, accessible, diverse and very carefully selected. Sculptor Richard Deacon has chosen Ocean Studios as the first outing for his piece, Bronze Skin. Other selected works include, Hew Locke’s Medusa, The Garden by English photographer and video artist, Gillian Wearing, Post-Partum Document, a six-year exploration of the mother-child relationship by Mary Kelly, Bill Woodrow’s Pillarbox BW577 Invigilator and Grayson Perry’s Map of Nowhere.