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Compton Verney and Coventry Biennial Exhibition and Residency

Tue 28 February 2023Sun 11 February 2024

Compton Verney and Coventry Biennial Exhibition and Residency

Residency with Nuneaton based artist Jo Gane In collaboration with Coventry Biennial.

We are hosting Artist Jo Gane in collaboration with Coventry Biennial to develop a series of portraits for an installation at Compton Verney this Autumn.

This project is looking at the changing environment in Nuneaton and Bedworth, collecting and activating stories about the people and the environment in and around the town. Through this the project explores how the environment, buildings and industry shape the identity of people and a place.

The Residency at Nuneaton Library: February – September 2023

Artist Jo Gane has been working with people from Nuneaton and Bedworth to take part in a photographic project to record stories of objects and environments from the local area, the collection of stories and workshops are based at Nuneaton Library. This project will share portraits of people alongside their stories in two exhibitions – one held in Nuneaton Library in July 2023 and another at Compton Verney in October 2023. The portraits are being made with a process from 1850 using a glass plate with a large-scale Victorian studio camera – a slower pace of photography which sparks conversation and collaboration.

For the exhibitions Artist Gane will also be working with the participants to make prints that visualise their stories. Stories have been collected physically in Nuneaton library and so will reflect the users of the library and its locality.

The Exhibition at Compton Verney: 21 October 2023 – 12 January 2024

At Compton Verney, the portrait artwork will be shared in the form of a new lighthouse artwork installation in our gallery space, with the glass plates held in a hexagonal structure around a central rotating light. This structure represents the ability of the photographic materials to communicate as a collaborative process, through the action of light during the photographic processes and the materiality of the photograph. The lighthouse and glass visualise both the action of light during the photographic process and the manufacturing histories of the midlands (for example – Chance glass, Birmingham and Clear Hooters, Bedworth). The central rotating light structure may also include elements of the physical locations explored during the co-creative phase. Alongside this, prints of the portraits will be displayed on the wall of the gallery space along with text about the individual’s experiences of their place in Nuneaton.

A second artwork/installation will be produced for the Compton Verney exhibition which further aims to communicate photographic materiality and the material transformation involved in manufacturing processes along with a connection to place and the environment. This artwork will involve making a raft and exposing photographic paper in the lake at Compton Verney to record flow patterns of the water – water being both a key, environmental element of most manufacturing processes and important to a sense of place and memory. The exposed photographic paper will be hung as a river from floor to ceiling in the gallery space. The shape of the ‘river’ installation will also reference the more distant manufacture of Nuneaton and Bedworth, beyond living memory, in the draping of fabric and threads through a Jacquard loom from floor to ceiling.

About the Artist Jo Gane

Jo Gane is an artist, researcher and lecturer working with the materials of early photography.
She is currently undertaking an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD in art practice about the early photography of George Shaw in Birmingham at the School of Art, Birmingham City University and the Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester, supported by Midlands 4 Cities doctoral training partnership. She lectures in Photography at Coventry University.

Based in Nuneaton, she is also a mum to two small children and two rescue dogs.

jogane.co.uk / @jo_gane1


This project is a partnership between Compton Verney, Coventry Biennial and Warwickshire Libraries, aimed at developing new opportunities for artists and communities in Warwickshire and the West Midlands. The project will see an artist in residence create new work in collaboration with communities in Nuneaton, which will then be exhibited at Compton Verney and as part of the next Coventry Biennial in 2023.

Coventry Biennial was founded in 2017 as an artist-led, strategic response to the city publishing a 10-year cultural strategy & the bid to become UK City of Culture. They support and present socially, politically and critically engaged art in Coventry and Warwickshire and work with artists to respond to the city’s complex history, geography, built environment and relationships, retaining an outward-looking perspective, ensuring that their work has broader appeal, significance & impact.

Image: local artist Jo Gane photographing her children on the large-scale Victorian camera which will be used for this project. The camera has a local story – it was found in the basement of the Hinckley Times building before the building was demolished.