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GETTING TO KNOW

In this week's blog, Welcome Assistant and Duty Manager, Victoria Evans, tells us about her favourite painting in the Jerwood Collection and what she's looking forward to in 2015.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role.

I have lived in Hastings all my life and studied for my art foundation here. I then went on to study History of Art at The University of York. On returning to Hastings, my aim was to work in the art world, even though I knew how competitive it could be and I couldn’t afford the living cost in London being a recent graduate.

I have always loved Hastings and admired the exhibitions at the gallery, so I decided to volunteer to gain experience. The location of the gallery is stunning and I always feel at home by the sea. Everyone was extremely friendly and it felt like the small knit community I have always been a part of as a Hastings resident. A short time in to my volunteer role, there was an opportunity to apply for a Welcome Assistant position. I applied and was successful and from there, I have recently received the role of Duty Manager.

What excites you the most about working at the gallery?

I get excited about being able to carry on learning. I loved my degree and it only fuelled my desire to learn more about art theory and traditions. The gallery programme allows me to discover new artists which I wouldn’t normally have discovered. The exhibition I started volunteering for was Drawn Together: Artist as Selector. This show gave me a good introduction to the British contemporary drawing scene, which I didn’t have the opportunity to study at University. Ken Currie quickly became one of my favourite artists.

I also love the views of Hastings from the windows. The architecture captures beautiful snap shots of the cliffs, which is always enjoyable to talk to the public about.

Do you have a favourite painting in the Jerwood Collection?

My favourite piece in the permanent collection is The Churchyard, Rye, 1959 - 61 by Edward Burra. It’s such a haunting portrayal of a place I have been before - figures have a ghost like quality and dance between fantasy and reality. Burra has such a fantastic art deco style to his painting and I love how he has painted many parts of the world, but still portrays the strange idiosyncratic quality that exists in Hastings.

What has been your favourite exhibition to date and why?

My favourite exhibition has to be Jake & Dinos Chapman: In the Realm of the Unmentionable, mainly because it was so much fun watching how our visitors interacted with the works. You could never presume whether a person would be horrified or fascinated by a work and a lot of your preconceptions of society were altered, which was fantastic.

Is there an exhibition or event that you are particularly looking forward to this year?

Probably Rachel Howard’s exhibition, as I enjoy the very contemporary work being shown alongside the permanent collection. I think it’s so interesting to see the changes in British art from the 1950s to the 1990s for instance, and how different the reception to a well-known artist can be.

Her work really intrigues me and I love her use of colour. I really feel you can get to know an artist’s work inside out when you are part of their exhibition, so it’s exciting, waiting to see how it will be put together.

Finally, describe the gallery in three words.

Warm, inquisitive, light.