I am a member of Take13 and we have just finished exhibiting at The Courtyard Gallery, The Core, Solihull, (see Galleries and Shows on this web site). We decided on a themed exhibition, ‘A Room Of Our Own’, looking at our working space as artists and the art work that emerges from that.  As one of the artists, I found the venue and offered to help and found myself, curating at the Core.  

The Role of curating can be demanding – a need for a vision, to plan in advance, to select, organize and see through to the hanging of the exhibition. The role is a’ behind the scenes’ one, not seen by the gallery viewers – and requires lots of work towards the end result of an exhibition.

I had a vision of how I wanted it to be – not just a layout of paintings, an exhibition that was interesting and pleasing on the eye, but I also wanted to let the world know who Take 13 was, by sharing our history as a group, but also one that highlighted the quality of the member’s work.

The layout was important too – 13 artists exhibiting their individual work, with an image of them in their ‘studio’ and accompanying statement, saying what they felt about that space. All of that took some planning, with time at monthly group meetings and lots of help and discussion with printing of statements and images etc.

In this exhibition 13 of us were showing about 6 pieces each of our own choice and layout, though that varied and I decided each artist needed one and half metres wide exhibiting space with good empty wall space in-between, to fit into a big, bright, well-lit gallery. Lots of measuring needed!  

There was also the organizing of the layout of each artist’s contribution so that they did not clash. There were the printing of images, labels, written details like flyers, dates, directions to the gallery and organization of the group that lived some way away. 

Our work was mainly 2D, but there was also 3D on plinths and small pieces of work in a cabinet and lots of information about the group on a table and wall board outside. With these I had some valuable help from the group.  

The hanging of the exhibition needed some organization too, but with the help of efficient  Courtyard Gallery staff, my daughter, myself and group members, my vision was realized.

Solihull Exhibition - Gallery, left side.
Solihull Exhibition – Gallery, left side.
Solihull Exhibition - Gallery, right side.
Solihull Exhibition – Gallery, right side.

The feedback was very positive, I felt pleased, both with the exhibition and the rich, diverse work of us, a group of Take 13 women. I didn’t do much of my own painting during that time, but I felt I had been creative in a different way.

Maggie and her daughter Rachel
Myself and my daughter in the exhibition space in front of my work

By Maggie Holmes

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