Thursday, 29 April 2010

Sneak Preview

Well, months of planning and discussion and a week of rushing about lugging timber, paint and dowelling, photographs and notices are over, and the exhibition at the O3 Gallery in Oxford Castle is mounted, ready to open its doors.  Sarah Naybour and I have designed an outdoor exhibition space for local sculptors to display their work (including a class of local schoolchildren whose wickerwork unicorn looks terrific).  With severe restrictions on the site - no excavation, no hard landscaping, and next to no budget, we have developed an installation that celebrates the inclusiveness and democratic nature of the Oxford Artweek festival, and created an intervention in the courtyard that responds to the colours of the site, the strong grid of verticals and horizontals and - although this only struck me looking at the photographs just now, evokes something of the prison that the buildings once housed, thrown open to all in the name of creativity and artistic endeavour.  The timbers undulate across the grass and in the coming weeks this will grow up in its rapid early-summer way to soften the edges and more clearly define the waves on the ground, particularly if we cut it to follow the lines of the wood.
Given that the installation will be in place for six weeks, the £325 we spent is a complete steal - it's amazing where tight restrictions will lead you...
We are really pleased with the result, but probably shouldn't be surprised - as Sarah noted this morning, as we put in the last of the uprights under the pouring rain, it still seems extraordinary that computer modelling gives you such a clear idea of how the finished article will look!
I'm also delighted with the look of my exhibition - this is the first time that I have exhibited photographs, and they sit really well in the space, backed by the curved roughcast grey walls of the castle tower in which the gallery is housed.  If you are unable to call in to the gallery in the next month, the images here will give you a feel for the space and, hopefully my work.  To see the images in more detail follow the link to my Flickr page on the right.

We have a few days before we mount the second show at the Said Business School - more of that later, for the moment we hope you can get to the Castle to enjoy the Artweek Exhibition...
Paul Ridley Design


  1. Looks fab! Will try and pop by

  2. Well done partner!! Really loved working with you. Totally agree about the uprights refecting the prison bars... it WAS intentional!

  3. Paul and Sarah - this looks so fantastic - well done!