USW student artwork explores history of Tredegar House

Photography student Alistair Farthing with his piece 'Taking Shape' at the Tredegar House Exhibition

A new art exhibition will open at Tredegar House later this week, showcasing historical and cultural reflections of the house and gardens.

The exhibition will display work by second year Photography students from the University of South Wales.

The students were given a live brief to individually respond to various aspects of the house and gardens via photography and other visual media.

One student, Alistair Farthing, was inspired by the wooden floor in the Brown Room which is said to be have been produced from the wood of one oak tree. Alistair has created a wooden sphere from locally grown Oak, which exactly matches the volume of wood that has worn away from the floor over the years.

Alistair, originally from King’s Lynn in Norfolk, said: “My eureka moment came after learning the previous owners of Tredegar House had been implementing a different form of conservation that the National Trust are currently working with. From an early stage I knew I wanted to create a piece that connected these two ways of working but also reflected the task which the Trust had undertaken.

“The live brief has been our most challenging and engaging project to date! But most of all I feel this project has provided valuable experience for us as artists in training. It has been a great insight into the kind of obstacles we should come to expect as we progress into professional practitioners. We are all massively grateful to have been given this opportunity by the National Trust.”

Other pieces on display will include an installation bookwork, photographs and video, including a documentary about buried treasure. The works will be displayed in rooms throughout the house, alongside the house’s artefacts.

Matt White, Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of South Wales, said: “Each year we look for a different live brief to give the students and we are delighted to be working with the National Trust on this project. The students have really enjoyed exploring the historical house and the gardens and have produced really personal interpretations looking at issues such as conservation and restoration to domesticity and town planning.

“As Tredegar House is a listed building, it has presented a really interesting challenge with how these works will be presented to the public. We hope that visitors will enjoy exploring the artwork nestled amongst the backdrop of this grand house.”

Tredegar House General Manager Linda Wigley has worked with communities in museums as far flung as Dunedin, New Zealand and is keen to take a similar approach here in Newport.

She said: “It’s fantastic to see such a range of reactions to the house and how the students have tackled topics from buried treasure to restoration. With so many projects getting underway at Tredegar House this year it’s great to start off our season with something that has creativity at its heart.”

The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday February 12 to Thursday March 24, from 11am to 4pm daily (last entry at 3pm). Normal admission prices apply. For more information, please visit the National Trust website.

#photography #photo