‘A mirror walking down a strange street’, Richard Noyce (UK)
2016 10 10 - 19 VAA Graphic Art department invited art researcher, writer, curator and teacher Richard Noyce (UK) to lead lectures, workshops, seminars and artists’ study visits in a frame of cycle named ‘A mirror walking down a strange street’ in Vilnius Academy of Arts in the frames of program 'Support to foreign scientists and artists to teach in Lithuanian Higer schools'. The cycle of lectures, workshop and seminar, combined with visits to individual students’s studios, was aimed at creating opportunities for sharing information and opening the dialogue about the condition of art in the 21st century. It is aimed at all students undertaking a course with a visual arts basis at Masters and PhD level, and to provoke questions as much as it offers answers. The title for the programme, ‘a mirror walking down a strange street’, is a quotation from a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, ‘a poem is a mirror/walking down a strange street’
- Richard Noyce is well known in the contemporary art world. He writes and speaks regularly on the visual arts and, in addition to many reviews and articles published in British and European magazines, he has written books on contemporary painting, graphic arts, and printmaking - in the form of the highly successful Printmaking at the Edge (A&C Black, 2006). He was awarded the 1996 AAASS/Orbis Polish Book Prize and is an experienced international competition juror,serving as President of the Awards Jury at the Kraków International Print Triennial, 2003 - 2009.
R. Noyce gave an illustrated lecture ‘The Continuing Journey’ which looks back at the development of his work as a researcher and writer over 50 years, pulling together some of the threads and influences on his work, and showing how an explorative approach has been of value in the development of his thinking.
My working life as an explorer and researcher in the visual arts and associated areas has been characterised by my independence, in that it has developed from stage to stage without my being formally employed at any stage within the academic world. While I have indeed been involved with the academic world, in conferences and as a visiting lecturer, I have nonetheless retained a distinct individuality. This has meant that I have been able to work as an ‘outsider’ without having to play a collegiate role defined by the philosophy and approach of any particular academic institution. I have been described as ‘an independent scholar’ and cannot argue with that description. As such I consider that my personal philosophy and attitudes, although obviously influenced by a wide range of experiences and writings, offer a unique view within the broad area of the international contemporary visual arts.
In connection with my work have travelled, read and studied widely, and with an open, challenging and very eclectic view on the world. My visits to numerous studios and galleries across many countries with very different cultural circumstances, as well as from my participation in numerous juries for printmaking and drawing, and the curation of international exhibitions, have given me a depth and breadth of experiences and knowledge that combines with my independence of view to give me a unique view of the arts.
The five books that I have had published, together with the large number of articles, reviews and interviews that I have written and conducted that have been published in journals in Britain and internationally, together with numerous catalogue essays, constitute a considerable record of publication. Each of these books, detailed in my accompanying CV, has required extensive personal research in a wide number of countries, both through personal visits and through the use of internet technology. I consider it true to state that no other writer, anywhere, has gained the experience that I have been fortunate and determined in obtaining, and that no other writer has covered the same field of interests as I have. The two earlier books dealt with contemporary art in Poland, firstly painting and then graphic art, at a time of great political and social change, to which the books make reference. These books led on to my considerable involvement with the International Print Triennial, Krakow, from 2003 onwards. The three most recent books on contemporary printmaking – with ‘printmaking’ being expressed in wide and inclusive terms – have included writing on the work of 151 artists from 54 countries, including 8 from Lithuania. I am grateful that I have been able to write these books, but at the same time I am very aware that there are many more artists in many more countries whose work is of equal value and interest.
All the work I have done in promoting, describing and writing about the contemporary visual arts, has its foundations in my broad education and has been accompanied by subsequent wide reading, from novels to poetry to history and the visual arts, as well as writing poetry and short stories, and creating my own work in the form of paintings, drawings and photographs and some prints. I have work included within three collaborative portfolios that have received public exhibition in a number of countries. My travels within Europe and more widely in the Far East, South and North America, and North Africa have not only provided me with experience and opportunities to discover and write about a wide range of artists, but also to create an strong archive of visual images.
Importantly, I have good experience of working with students at university level and with people in community contexts. I have presented numerous conference papers and lectures, as well as chairing conference panels, and I have good experience of all the aspects of international conferences and exhibitions. My own higher education at Leeds College of Art, and subsequently in a number of informal ways, benefitted greatly from the experience of visiting lecturers from outside the College, and of meeting with and sharing time with numerous artists, writers, actors and musicians, from all of whom I learned much. I know that my own experience has been one of continuing education, and I hope that by meeting with a working with students I will be able to share some of that education and experience and thus encourage them to adopt, as I have done, the role of the artist as explorer.
Participative Workshop on Written Communication for Artists and Designers took time where some preparatory work from the participants before the workshop was require, from which critique and discussion could emerge. In an age in which the mediums of communication evolve into the electronic media it remains important that artists and designers develop their skills in both reading and writing in the conventional sense. The aim was to enhance the confidence of the participants to use clear and concise written and spoken English that avoids the use of intellectual jargon, and in ways that are aimed at clear communication of their ideas and aims, being of benefit in writing grant and employment applications, letters to galleries, and texts for catalogues.
Lecture ‘The Mirror and the Crystal Ball’ was a tentative look at the condition of the contemporary arts today, and some of the ways in which they might develop in this century. It was a largely speculative review, incorporating a wide range of ideas from within and from outside the visual arts. All lectures looked back and forward, demonstrating how ideas develop and how past experience can trigger imaginative leaps into considering the future.
Participative Seminar, given the broad and non-prescriptive title, ‘Art in the Future’ allowed those who have chosen to participate to prepare in advance and present a short paper, perhaps of no more that 10 minutes, in which speaker could express his/her thinking about how art might develop in the 21st century.