A unique exhibition, using a variety of artworks including taxidermy, photography and ‘sound’ sculptures to explore how voices echo through generations, will be officially opened by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO at Haddo House tomorrow (Saturday 6 October).
Part of Haddo Arts Festival, the Voices Exhibition will feature the work of staff, students and graduates from Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art and will run from 6-14 October.
The exhibition aims to bring together various artists in the grounds of the historical Haddo House to contemplate how the voices and shared language of humans transcend generations to anchor us in the past, shape our present and inspire our future.
Gray’s lecturer David Blyth uses sculpture and collage to challenge assumptions about man’s relationship with the animal, creating displays featuring taxidermy. For the exhibition, he has produced an installation featuring owls, buzzards, a peacock and other birds created through his innovative process of ‘reverse taxidermy’.
Collecting old and antique pieces of taxidermy work, David started to reverse the procedure by skinning the animals to discover the different techniques used by his predecessors in the unusual craft.
He comments: “I found that the materials used to stuff the animals by previous taxidermists often reflected the animal-in-question’s natural form. For example, it’s almost as if wire and wood replace the duck’s skeleton, rough hemp tow substitutes for cartilage and cotton wool materials replace the soft tissue.”
“Throughout this process, I felt as if the voices and craft of the past taxidermists were being uncovered to a new generation of enthusiasts.”
Martin Parker, Senior Designer at the University’s design and print consultancy is exhibiting his atmospheric photography work which aims to capture the voice of the Haddo estate, its wildlife and woodland.
He said: “The grounds of Haddo and the mansion house itself have an enduring legacy. In my work, I hope to encapsulate the state’s rich history, echoing the voices of those from all walks of life - from the aristocratic residents to the gamekeepers and servants that have been associated with it over the years.”
The exhibition has been curated by University of Aberdeen Masters student, Katie Henderson, who has a lifelong connection to Haddo having been a member of the Haddo Youth Music Theatre, Youth Choirs and latterly the Choral and Operatic Society. It will also feature the work of recent Gray’s painting graduates Lois Green and Katarina Chomova. Final-year sculpture student, Ashley McNaughton, will also demonstrate her performance-based work along with Aberdeen University student and composer, Ross Whyte.
The Voices Exhibition is open to the public from Saturday 6 – Sunday 14 October from 11am-4pm at the Haddo House Peatyards. For more information, please visit www.haddoartsfestival.org.uk.
Robert Gordon University
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