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Professional touch for John O’Gaunt’s Artists

13th July 2021

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GCSE Fine Art students at John O’Gaunt School, saw their work displayed in a secret, private, end of year exhibition, thanks to the dedication of their teacher Miss Francesca Barnes.

Unbeknown to the Year 10 students, Miss Barnes – a talented professional and practising artist herself - planned, devised and set up the exhibition with technical support from Mrs Joy Stone. Entitled ‘Existence’, the exhibition space showed their mounted and framed work, inspired by nature, to great effect, with name and title plaques and a full exhibition brochure, complete with beautifully written artist statements the students had unwittingly contributed.

The exhibition showcased the wide range of artistic skills the students had explored, such as the grid method, photography, photo-manipulation, oil pastel, paints, etching, lino-cutting and more, ‘with enthusiasm and rigour, taking risks along the way.’ Themes of global warming, the climate crisis, the self and the solace we find in nature were paramount.

Miss Barnes said ‘Year 10 artists, I commend you for your commitment that has involved collaboration, time management, resilience, problem -solving, organisation, self-expression and courage. The strong bonds and friendships that have flourished in the Art Studio and at John O’Gaunt are a lasting fellowship. We are looking forward to the light and creativity you will bring to the world through your artwork’.

A red ribbon was cut and students and staff enjoyed glasses of ‘fizz’ and nibbles, provided by the PSA.

Miss Barnes finished by saying, ‘I’ve never forgotten my first exhibition and how special it felt. I wanted to give that back to these lovely students who have worked so incredibly hard this year. We’ve always been known for our excellent reputation for fine art and design, and I wanted to demonstrate my pride in the students. Because the work was for GCSE, it couldn’t be shown publicly, but we are working on some exciting ideas for the future!