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BEHIND THE SCENES

This week we spoke to Duty Manager, Gary Hunt, about working at the gallery, his favourite painting in the Jerwood Collection and what he is looking forward to this year.

What is your role at the gallery? 

I'm one of three Duty Managers at the gallery and when I'm here I have overall responsibility for the building; including staff, volunteers and visitors.

Can you describe a typical working day?

A typical working day as Duty Manager involves getting to work in time to open up the building, unlock the spaces and brief staff and volunteers for the day ahead. My duties then include assisting visitors with any issues that arise and generally ensuring the smooth running of the gallery. As the day draws to an end it's my task to cash up the tills, fill in any paperwork and finally secure the building before going home.

What excites you the most about working at the gallery?

I think knowing that I'll be surrounded by such a diverse collection of art really excites me about coming into work. As well as the fact that I work with a large team of people from different artistic backgrounds makes for a job that stands to teach me something new every day. This also goes for the visitors; it's lovely to work in a building that people genuinely enjoy coming to and want to spend time in.

What is your favourite painting in the Jerwood Collection?

This is tricky, as when you've worked alongside the collection for so long your favourite tends to change with your mood, the time of day and even the weather. However the painting I keep coming back to is Houses in a Wood by Keith Vaughan, c.1972, which is currently on show in room 4. The spectrum of greens, blues and greys coupled with the mix of abstract and representational elements makes it one of a few that I'd like to take home with me.

What has been your favourite exhibition to date and why?

Asides from the current exhibition, the one I enjoyed the most was Jeffery Camp: The Way to Beachy Head. The show reminded me of why I love living by the sea; the colours, the fantastic landscape and the excitement you get when you spend a day on the beach. I think the gallery was the perfect setting for Camp's work and throughout the exhibition I thought of it almost as an installation; with the sound of seagulls echoing throughout the spaces, it made it feel as though you were standing in the paintings themselves.

What are you looking forward to?

When I'm not at the gallery I'm a self-employed illustrator, so the upcoming Jerwood Drawing Festival (19th July - 15th Oct) is something that I'm very much looking forward to. I've always loved the dynamic, frenetic illustrations of Sir Quentin Blake and when I found out that we'd be having an exhibition of his works inspired by the collection, I was understandably a little bit excited. The process of drawing is at the heart of most of what I love about art and this summer's show looks to be my (new) favourite to date.

Finally, describe the gallery in three words.

Light, relaxing and surprising.

Image: Jeffrey Camp, Sunbathers at Beachy Head, 1995 © the artist. Courtesy Art Space Gallery 

17 April, 2014
Written by Kirsty Williams