Drew Gallery Projects Archive

View images from the Drew Gallery Projects Archive 1984-1990

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About the collection

This archive contains a selection of images from the more extensive archive of Drew Gallery Projects held by UCA at their Canterbury campus.

Between 1984 and 1990 Drew Gallery, Canterbury instigated a series of ground breaking temporary art exhibitions, installations in various locations around the city of Canterbury, creating new ways of working and experiencing artists' work. Curated by Sandra Drew these interactions offered people the opportunity to see cutting edge work, from across Britain and the world, in a democratic outside the static gallery situation, in Kent.

The work was mostly made on site throughout the city of Canterbury, with the artists working in situ through the three week duration of the Canterbury Festival. By focusing on the process of making the work, providing the support required by the artists to function in unusual and at times difficult situations, and interacting with the fabric of a small cathedral city, it's streets, buildings and population, a particular exhibition model was developed, unprecedented at that time. The selected artists were working with a range of very different materials - plasticine, match sticks and magazines - and also with video, photography and performance, all common today but different from the traditional stone and metal sculptures previously exhibited in the public realm.

This body of work has significant relevance, particularly to Canterbury and East Kent, as it broke new ground and was the forerunner to more recent initiatives such as Artangel, Stour Valley Arts, Whitstable Biennale and the Folkestone Triennial. On extremely low budgets, it supported artists in the early stages of their careers, some of whom are now important figures in contemporary British art.

These site-responsive, outside gallery exhibitions put Canterbury on the map as a city, beyond London, with a pioneering visual art scene. The curatorial model used and the artists’ process-led way of working created excitement and inspiration for the people of the city, visitors, and, in particular, its students. Collaborations between exhibiting artists and students enriched the supportive and open environment and created long-term working relationships.

A project is underway to reanimate the Drew Gallery Projects archive. This will include a publication and a series of exhibitions and talks which will be taking place in Canterbury and other locations beginning October 2018.


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