Introducing Colour & Poetry: A Symposium IV

Jo Volley, Palate #2 2019
Jo Volley, Palate #2 2019

Jo Volley, Symposium Director, introduces Colour & Poetry: A Symposium IV, running from March 20 to 22, 2022.

“Every day look at a beautiful picture, read a beautiful poem, listen to some beautiful music, and if possible, say some reasonable thing.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The symposium is a cross- and inter-disciplinary three-day virtual event held by the Slade School of Fine Art, in celebration of International Colour Day, World Poetry Day and World Pigment Day. We are also happy to have the support of Winsor & Newton again this year. The symposium hosts a range of speakers representing the arts and humanities, science, and industry, drawing upon knowledge from within and outside of the UCL community. It includes presentations, readings, performance and practical workshops. This year’s subjects embrace architecture, philosophy, historic film tinting, Persian miniatures, image and text, archiving, conservation, sources, and methods in the preparation of pigments and colour theory.

On Sunday March 20, workshops will include a poetry workshop with artist and poet Sharon Morris, professor of fine art, Slade, and Pochoir Print Technique, using a range of Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache and acrylic paints, with James Keith, artist and printmaker at the Slade. Pochoir is a  technique of making a limited edition of coloured stencil prints, also called hand colouring, which was very popular in the 19th century and taught at the Slade from 1939 for a number of years. Ian Rowlands, artist and TFAC demonstrator,  will explore  colour mixing and  the crucial attributes of colour – hue, value and saturation – of the restricted palette using Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Colour in his uniquely designed  Primary Triad  workshop. There will also be a life class, Drawing in Colour: Drawing with Chalk Pastels & The Colour Wheel, with Andy Pankhurst, artist and Slade alumnus. Mark Cann, Colart technical excellence manager, will deliver a Q&A session, Ask the Chemist, on material related questions, and Kimberly Selvaggi, Slade conservator in residence, will answer enquiries in Ask the Conservator. On Monday March 21 the keynote presentation will be given by Professor Daren Caruana, UCL chemistry and Slade scientist in residence.

This year’s online exhibition, Colour/Pigment/Poetry, curated by artist and curator Stephanie Nebbia, includes works by Slade staff, students and alumni who are invited to produce a single work each with the title of the show being the theme for the work. Stephanie will also be giving a talk on how looking at the past can inspire new colours, through the notebooks of 19th century chemist George Field, in particular Chromatography; or a Treatise on Colours and Pigments, and of their Powers in Painting, published by Winsor & Newton.

2022 marks the second anniversary of World Pigment Day, founded by Dr Ruth Siddall and me. To mark the occasion, we are producing a limited-edition digital print, No blue ‘til the Neolithic. This is a very special year at the Slade as we commemorate our 150th anniversary, and regardless of the trials and restrictions we are all facing through the pandemic, we have found new forms within which to function, communicate and celebrate. Last year’s symposium and exhibition, held on Zoom, reached a worldwide audience, and had a considerable impact and effect on our well-being, and in that spirit, to echo Goethe’s words, we hope over the three days of the symposium you may join us to "look at a beautiful picture, read a beautiful poem, listen to some beautiful music, and if possible, say some reasonable thing".

Jo Volley is an artist who lives and works in London. Her work is concerned with measurement, space and colour as light, and employs a wide range of material and mediums. It draws attention to the nature of archiving, historic materials and ideas of craftsmanship, incorporating traditional and contemporary techniques. She is Slade Deputy Director (Projects), Coordinator of the Material Research Project & Network and Director of the Material Museum at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, where she studied from 1972 to 1977 and has taught since 1986.

Colour & Poetry: A Symposium IV, March 20-22, 2022 is free to attend but must be booked thorough Eventbrite. The full programme and booking information will be announced in early March on the Slade website.

More like this

Spotlight on: Ruby Madder Alizarin

The inspiration for our new colour, Ruby Madder Alizarin, dates back to an archival tint book from 1937. Discover the rich history behind this powerful deep-toned variety of alizarin lake.

An interview with the Head of Conservation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, New Mexico

Pioneer, Georgia O’Keeffe's artistic practice is fascinating. Join our conversation with Dale Kronkright, Head of Conservation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico to find out more.