Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the Art Department had to postpone their planned Sixth Form Art Trip to London. However, as a replacement they embarked on a mission to look at the art all around us closer to home, with a field day spent looking at art and architecture in Cheltenham.

The day provided our talented artists with an opportunity to experience and discuss some of the town’s sculpture and graffiti. They also learnt about some of the significant architecture in Cheltenham and gathered visual information to feed into their coursework.

Following the trip some of our students wrote a little about what they had gained from the experience:

Katy K

“Cheltenham is well known for its fine examples of Regency Architecture and is home to several notable sculptural artworks.

We visited four of these sculptures on our recent visit to the town. The ‘Weathered Man’ by James Gould, ‘The Friendship Circle’, by a South African artist relating to the twinning of the town, ‘Theme and Variations’ by modernist sculptor, Graffiti by various artists, Barbara Hepworth and the ‘Hare and The Minotaur’ by Sophie Ryder.

The ‘Hare and the Minotaur’ statue is an iconic part of Cheltenham’s Promenade. Initially installed as part of a temporary exhibition of the Gloucestershire based artists’ work and created in 1995, it was featured in the Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery, however, an overwhelming response from the public fuelled a campaign to retain one of Ryders’ sculptures and the ‘Hare and the Minotaur’ was acquired by public subscription.

The sculpture features an oversized female Hare and her imposing companion male Minotaur seated upon a large bench. It is constructed from reclaimed scrap metal, complete with cogs, screws and all sorts which you can pick out on closer inspection creating a highly textured, tactile finish.

Ryder takes her inspiration for her work from depictions of Picasso’s motif the Minotaur, an image that struck a chord with her as a child when observing his artworks with the ferocious creature, however, she states her Minotaur is more of a friendly partner for her lady Hare unlike Picasso’s more sexually aggressive version.

Her work is focused upon mythical creatures and hybrids, combining animal and human features often basing the human parts on her own body. She does not try to replicate true animal form and these sculptures forge a very powerful image fully charged with emotion.

She enjoys working ‘big’, which has become a significant feature of her work. For over 20 years this statement sculpture has been part of Cheltenham – Love it or hate it, it has become a worthy talking point and visitor attraction in the town ever since.”

Kenna M

“An interesting graffiti piece can be found on the Honeybourne line in Cheltenham. The artist’s name is Horace and his Instagram page is steadily growing in followers. Horace has done countless urban street art and his murals are just beautiful. But this one is my favourite. It is a tripled portrait he created for the Cheltenham Paint Festival 2020, of FKA twigs – who is a famous musician who happened to go to St Edward’s School!

This piece is extremely striking and stands out among the surrounding graffiti artwork. I like that he’s painted her three different times, as if he’s turned her into a pattern of the composition. He’s made her hair build the structure for the piece by exaggerating its shape with bold diagonal lines that spread across the whole scene. This gives a choppy layered aspect to his work which is part of the reason it’s so distinct compared to the others. Each depiction of her is slightly different with its own unique texture adjustment. And if you notice, she grows in height every time she’s painted. This could represent her continuous growth in fame and recognition.

The contrast between her monochrome profile against the vividly colourful background really adds disparity.”

Our students thoroughly enjoyed their long walk about the town and had a great day gathering valuable visual and contextual material.

Senior School | 15/09/2020