Westminster’s Clare Twomey gives a modern twist to old technology in a new art exhibition

Art and Design 28 March 2018

A new exhibition by University of Westminster Research Fellow Clare Twomey, which shines light on the people who live and work at the historic Welbeck Estate, is now on display at The Harley Gallery until June.

The exhibition, called ‘Half in shadow: Half in light’, features a collection of photographs capturing ten people, with each one illustrating the diversity of life and work on the estate, which sits on the borders of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.

Through the use of advanced digital production, Clare Twomey has overcome the technical challenge of engineering ultra-thin, 1mm thick, porcelain lithophanes at A3 size. Images can only be seen clearly when the lithophanes are illuminated from behind.

Twomey’s interest in the Welbeck Estate was sparked by her first visit 15 years ago, and she has followed its development into a more contemporary space since then. Apart from The Harley Gallery, the estate hosts dozens of artist studios, a highly regarded farm shop, the School of Artisan Food, production of Stichelton cheese, as well as The Portland Collection, the historic art collection of the Dukes of Portland whose family has been at Welbeck for over 400 years.

'Half in shadow, Half in light' exhibition

For the Hucknall Dispatch, Clare Twomey explained: “I chose lithophanes for this exhibition because, for me, they can show the future held in the glow of the past. I feel that’s very relevant for an historic estate.

“This project will skew the way that we perceive the contemporary and reveal the push and pull of time at Welbeck. Just as the lives and work of generations before shape modern life, so too will this old technology frame the telling of modern stories from the estate.”

This exhibition is part of The Grand Tour, showcasing the diverse richness of art, architecture and landscape Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have to offer and which also includes Nottingham Contemporary, Derby Museums and Chatsworth.

Clare Twomey is a leading British artist and a Research Fellow at the University of Westminster, where she directs Ceramics Research in the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM). Her work often involves intense research, focusing on themes such as collaboration in fabrication.

Last year, Clare Twomey initiated the project ‘Wuthering Heights – A Manuscript’, which involved more than 10,000 visitors in the co-creation of a new version of Emily Brontë’s long-lost manuscript by copying it out one line at a time.

Earlier this month, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall contributed to Twomey’s project by re-writing the last sentence of the novel in a celebratory visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth.

Over the past ten years, Clare has also exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate, Crafts Council, Museum of Modern Art Kyoto Japan, the Eden Project and the Royal Academy of Arts.

Learn more about the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM).

Read news story about the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum.


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