The Barber

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, established in 1932 for ‘the study and encouragement of art and music’, holds a relatively small but outstanding art collection. The collection includes the work of many great artists such as Dürer, Botticelli, Giovanni Bellini, Rubens, Van Dyck, Poussin, Claude, Gainsborough, Turner, Manet, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh and Gauguin. The magnificent Art Deco building also houses the Departments of Music and History of Art and facilitates offices, lecture halls, music auditorium and the lovely Fine Art Library. Let’s just say, I envy all the History of Art students at UoB who get to study in this setting with a world-class collection just up the stairs…

The Red Gallery
The Red Gallery. Picture retrieved from the Barber’s website.
The Fine Art Library
The Fine Art Library. Picture retrieved from the Barber’s website.

What’s so exciting about the Barber is that there is always something going on! The Barber’s calendar is packed with events such as workshops, gallery talks, lunch lectures, Youth club events etc. where the public is invited in to the galleries to enjoy the collection. I have attended quite a few lectures, talks and workshops on various topics over the past few weeks and what occurred to me is that the Barber is really good at targeting different groups – there seems to be something there for everyone!  This is why I very much appreciated to spend some time with the Learning and Access team and to gain insight into their work and the strategies they use to reach out and make the collection accessible to the public.

My main project at the Barber has been to research art works from the print collection and put together a proposal for an upcoming Print Bay exhibition in one of the galleries. I decided to include 10 prints and watercolours in my proposal – all images of landscapes. In my interpretation of the art works I chose to focus on “the Traveller”, exploring different attitudes towards and ways of viewing the landscape. I absolutely loved working on the project and the time spent in the print room (where I got to have a close look at Dürer, Turner, Beardsley, van Dyck and other great artists work!) has definitely been one of the highlights of my time here! GetAttachment.aspx

My final proposal
Last day in the print room: my final proposal
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