Physically visit an art gallery, exhibition or museum. Select a piece of work and develop a project for the primary classroom based on your study, research and understanding of the piece and its context.
I visited the McManus gallery in Dundee and selected a piece called ‘Waldella’ created by the artist David Batchelor. It was top on my list for catching my attention.
“The only colours that interested me were unnatural and artificial colours. Industrial colours, city colours: chemical, electrical, plastic, metallic, neon…”
I picked this piece to write a reflection on as it was the brightest and most colourful piece of artwork in my eyes in the McManus. It is made from 200 plastic bottles, electrical flex and low energy lamps. As you can see from the photos, the central concern for this piece is colour. The subject matter Batchelor explores are always rooted in and linked to the artificial and industrially manufactured world. Everything that he has used is found (manufactured for some purpose other than art) and ‘poor’, being used up or industrial. The ‘shiny’ colourful materials are always contrasted by mechanisms of how the work is powered and supported – electrical flex, junction boxes and plugs (both of equal importance and both transformed int sculptural objects of mesmerising beauty).
A project for the primary classroom could involve taking children on a trip to the McManus galleries and getting them to study ‘Waldella’ and allow them to make sketches and annotations based on their judgements and visual experience. I thought this piece would be relevant and enjoyable for children as it is visually appealing and made out of household items. Following on from this back in the classroom, children could make their own replica of the piece using ‘Waldella’ as a stimulus and making reference to annotations they took while in the gallery. Each child would bring artificial items from home that will being going to waste after they are emptied and then create their own artwork out of the items. The children can then choose to use bright, neon paints that can be added after the construction stage. As a class, we can discuss and explore why we think Batchelor created this piece and what it says about our environment and the place we live in. Additionally, moving away from art and design, as a class we can explore the importance of recycling plastic and the effect it has on our environment.