In a time when we cannot attend all the art shows we would like to, many have been forced to open as virtual exhibitions and others have added this for those that cannot or do not want to physically attend.
Although of course we all love to be in the gallery, viewing in the flesh, sharing our opinions with other people around us , that perhaps previously unappreciated luxury will still have to stay on hold for now for some. The annual exhibition at the Royal Ulster Academy in Ireland was sadly forced back into lockdown and to a virtual exhibition, where the team have done their best to take us around the exhibition and help us to view and of course hopefully buy the artist’s works.
Brian Parker is an artist who’s work ‘Light into the Dark’, is exhibiting at the exhibition. It is relevant and important to consider an artist’s viewpoint on virtual exhibitions too and how artists have adapted over the past few months.
“Although virtual exhibitions have become the required norm over the last few months they are by no means ideal from the artist’s point of view. Take my work for example; it can only be truly appreciated in the flesh, it is just not possible to form a complete appreciation of the work from a 3 x 4 inch image on a screen as one cannot properly see the fine details or the precision that has gone into the piece which is one of the unique aspects of my paintings. My suggestion would be that if you are really interested in a work then visit the artist’s website where you will be able to see their work in more detail.
A virtual tour though can encourage looking at artworks that we may not necessarily have lingered on previously, sitting at home with a cup of tea and taking time touring the gallery online, can be great fun! Not only this but the increased availability of virtual tours does enable us to see so many more exhibitions than we could or would have been able to do before. One such exhibition which really is fascinating is the Southbank’s ‘Among the Trees’. The gentle and sensitive guidance takes us through the exhibition, its messages and overall atmosphere. This exhibition really does make us think about the majesty of trees and their significance. We take for granted the trees around us but when we view an exhibition like this and have such a great curator guiding us through, it certainly made me want to go for a walk and really look at the trees I pass every day, actually look at them appreciate them and the history and changing times they have witnessed – if trees could talk, the stories we would hear!!
The Tate has also extended its Warhol exhibition due to Covid restrictions and has a wonderful short video tour of the exhibition with curators Gregor Muir and Fiontán Moran as ‘they discuss Warhol through the lens of the immigrant story, his LGBTQI identity and concerns with death and religion.’ The video gives the viewer a deeper insight and understanding into Warhol, his art, his life influences, sexuality and life and death. These times have encouraged galleries to be more inventive with their videos and no doubt exhibition guests more accepting of how they can actually view exhibitions.
Of course we all want to see the colours, the textures, feel the impact of the size of the canvas and appreciate the effect an artwork can have on our emotions and outlook and actually get out and visit galleries. However to view online does offer other advantages too and the power of virtual exhibitions gives us the opportunity to continue to learn about art and artists in more depth through curators and their fascinating insights, as well as new and refreshing viewpoints and visions. In a time when we can’t all move around as freely as we would like, we have to change with the times too and make the most of this strange new world but still we can enjoy, view and hopefully buy and take home inspiring works of art to lift our spirits and challenge our thinking.