“Full Circle Half Knowledge” - review of Julia Schuster's Exhibition at the Mount House Gallery
This exhibition marks the end of Julia Schuster’s year as artist-in-residence at Marlborough College. Expect a challenging show that seeks a willingness from visitors to engage with the works on display. It’s an exhibition that asks for some of your time – but if you are prepared to give that time there is much to delight and to be discovered here.
Some art is not all it seems at first sight – it can appear to be one thing, then turn out to be something quite other.
Some art reveals itself slowly. This kind of art is not sympathetic to an instant engagement - an approach typified by an immediate “I like/don’t like it” response.
Some art explores ideas;
some art explores how materials behave;
some art is open-ended in its meaning.
So … what do we find in Julia’s show? An exhibition that exemplifies all these aspects of art.
Art that uses clay in many different and unexpected ways; art that explores our links with the landscape; art that makes rich and varied use of circles; art that envelopes you in wall-sized drawings, video and sound.
And how about this?: Julia has spent many weeks learning the skill of full circle bell-ringing. Has this influenced her work? Most certainly. She has also dug up her own clay from Clanger Woods, to most beautiful effect. And there’s a circle of 28 clay vessels… Go and see what I’m talking about …
Clay is an earthy, muddy, highly tactile material. When it is used in a refined, practiced, intelligent, inventive way, its extraordinarily beautiful qualities are laid open for all to see. In the right hands we are enabled to understand that it is truly wondrous, yet challenging stuff. Julia has the right hands.
This exhibition is yet another treasure to be found on our doorstep this summer.
“Full Circle Half Knowledge” - Julia Schuster is at the Mount House Gallery, Marlborough College until 1 July