Showcase: OCA publicity push

Exhibition: OCA celebrating 30 years’ distance learning and teaching.

Venue: OXO Gallery, London, SE1

Artists: 31 OCA students and former students in various disciplines

Curator/s: OCA admin staff

The space: Positives: * 133sq m of whiteness which can accommodate many visitors with

access from 2 sides.

*  Supreme location in the middle of the art quarter in London

Negative:     No hanging space, only shelves put up by OCA staff, and 2 vitrines .

Highlights: Having my name as one of the exhibiting artists printed on the glass wall at the back of the building:

OXO Tower exhibition IMG_2803.jpg


OXO Tower prints IMG_2807.jpg
The work I submitted as “The three graces” in a vitrine which had other work over the top of it for reasons unknown.

IMG_2811.JPG     IMG_2808.JPG

The work above was: (left) sculpture by an ex-OCA  MA student; (right) the work of Liz Nunn, one of our OCA SW students whose work was used in material advertising the event.

What I took away with me about the exhibition:

It was great having the opportunity to put my work forward for possible inclusion in an exhibition in  OXO Tower Gallery which charges £3850 per week.  I was supremely excited when it was accepted because never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever expect to have my work exhibited in a London gallery, let alone one in such a prestigious place.  To be able to put that on my CV at this point in my life takes me beyond a happy state!

It was wonderful to see the names of so many OCA SW students printed on the wall – I wonder how many would have done that if we hadn’t developed such a strong group?

I was surprised that, with so many practising artist-tutors, the OCA had not asked one of them to help with the curation of the exhibition.  It all looked lovely but, unless the name of the student was visible on the exhibit, there was no way of knowing whose work it was or what it was called.  At the opening event, I suggested that, although at the opening we had to talk to one another to see whose work it was, on the other days when it was open to the public, a numbering system would have helped.

It was an excellent public space.

The cloak displayed in the corner of the space (in the very background of the image above) was virtually ignored by those present – could it have been put in the centre so that viewers could have walked around it to see its intricacies?

It was an excellent idea to have a table where children could make their own work and a little shelf where they could display it.

The occasion was, first and foremost, an OCA advertising event: visitors were greeted at the entrance by an OCA information timeline, with OCA logos and the exhibition title emblazoned on the doors.

OCA timeline.

What I took away from the exhibition about me:

All the time I was there I was thinking about our forthcoming OCA SW exhibition and my own in July 2019, and I tried to get ideas or reassurances about how to curate them.  I found that my own ideas forming from my current reading about curating were valid and strong ones.  I became very defensive about my work and the way it had been displayed: when Clive White asked me why I had done them, I replied ‘for fun’.  He chuckled and walked away.

The work which spoke to me most was the book of cloth cyanotypes by Christine Bruce – we had a long chat about what her work was about & how she had done it.


It would be good at our OCA SW Bristol exhibition to have the names of the student artists etched on the glass but our resources are limited.

Vitrines are a good idea but where do we source them?

Are plinths in the middle of the Bristol gallery space such a good idea?  Yes if there is no other way of displaying them.  I am pleased to have decided to put the mannequins in the middle of our space so that people can walk around them.

I also do not just want to have pictures stuck traditionally to a wall.

The ceramic work in the entrance was that of ex-OCA graduate student Emma Delpech.

it was good to see OCA students I had not seen for a while, particularly Alison Dollery whose photo was so intriguing, Sarah-Jane Field, Dorothy Flint, Johnathan Hall and Kate Aston.  It was lovely to meet OCA admin staff and other students particularly Christine Bruce,  Chloe Labbett and Alan Larsen.



7 thoughts on “Showcase: OCA publicity push

  1. It was good to see your work there – thankfully I recognised it. It was strange not to see labels.
    I too liked the cyanotype cloth books – very tactile to handle.
    Re the vitrines – I did look at the glass on top because it was a loose piece of glass – held by thick sticky tape. I never thought to look at the construction of the top and base but there are some images on Facebook that show them. Wooden trays on trestles – almost like a butler tray/table.


    1. I wondered whose the vitrines were – the OCA’s or the gallery’s. Did you have a good time at the BB? I am writing up about the other exhibitions I saw including Artes Mundi where several ideas came together, which was good.


      1. BPB visit was excellent – so well-organised without being over-organised. Very cold weather though so thank goodness the sun was shining and bright at least. I came away with some ideas as well. Must do the write-up as soon as I can.
        Great that some ideas came together for you too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this Anna. Fantastic to get your insights about the event. I’ve seen other images too and I think your work looked great inside the display cabinet.

    I completely agree with you about the SouthWest group building confidence to put things in for it. The fact that you organised the exhibition last year gave everyone a push to get there work out there- and once you’ve done one it feels that hurdle is over.

    Can’t quite believe how much per week it is to exhibit there! And our names on the doors! Once in a lifetime experience for us perhaps but great to be involved!


    1. It’s good to read that you also feel that there was an impetus in the SW to test the water with last year’s exhibition. The fact that we have 7 more students exhibiting this year than we had last year must mean that it’s a positive experience for the group. Seeing our names on the glass walls was the best part of the OXO event for me – it was something I never thought I would see. It’s good to have that feeling once in your life!

      Liked by 1 person

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