The Lightbox is made up of lots of busy departments, from Learning and Engagement, Marketing, Exhibitions to our busy Front of House team. We thought what better way to get to know everyone and gain an insight into what it’s like to work at a gallery and museum, than by featuring them in our blog. This week we chatted to Exhibitions and Collections Officer, Amy Plewis, who is the newest addition to The Lightbox Team.
Tell us about yourself - how did you come to work in the arts and heritage industry?
I have always loved art, both the practical and historical side of it. After studying Art and Art History at Woking College and doing a Fine Art foundation course at UCA Farnham, I realised that working in a gallery or museum was what I wanted to do, so I did a degree in Art History. Since then I have volunteered at Watts Gallery, interned at Christie’s, and most recently, worked at the Royal Academy of Arts, where I was incredibly lucky to have been involved in some amazing projects.
Three weeks into my new role here at The Lightbox – my first permanent paid job in Exhibitions and Collections - I am enjoying the combination of both the hands-on work and the curatorial side of things. As a keen gallery-goer myself I am attracted to museums that put on diverse and interesting exhibitions, as well as displaying collections in different ways. The Lightbox does just that, and I am excited about the exhibition programme ahead.
What is your favourite part of working in a Gallery and Museum?
I love being surrounded by art every day; handling objects, learning about their history and finding new ways to interpret them through exhibitions. It has been hard work to get into the industry and I never take that for granted. I take any opportunity I get to learn new things or talk to people in the sector because there is always something new to discover. I feel very strongly about the importance of the arts and heritage of our culture, and to work somewhere where there is such a strong connection to the community and a wide proactive outreach is a great privilege.
Do you have a favourite piece in the current Main Gallery exhibition ‘The Road to Abstraction: The Ingram Collection’?
I often find abstract art confusing, and it is something that I have to work at to understand. The Road to Abstraction shows how diverse abstract art can be, every piece is different and has a story. C. W. R. Nevinson’s 'Column on the March' (1916) really stands out to me. It is a small lithograph in which the soldiers are depicted more like machines than men, faceless and marching robotically under command. Stylistic elements of Futurism give a sense of action and urgency, the men push forward at slanted angles, jagged in their compact formation under a threatening sky. There is a sense of anonymity, it is not an image of patriotism and heroism – to me it is anti-war and tragically sad.
And finally, who is your favourite artist and why?
My favourite artist of all-time is Caravaggio. I love his originality, his darkness and his rebellious attitude! Turning away from the popular artificial Mannerist style of the time, Caravaggio brought in a return to realism through his paintings that was to revolutionise Western Art. He did what he wanted to do, indifferent to the disapproval of those commissioning him - usually the Catholic Church. His works are direct, psychologically deep and convincingly real. His paintings never fail to move me, I could spend hours in front of them. Every holiday I plan revolves around tracking down his paintings, I have to see them all!
Thank you Amy for chatting with us. If you have an interest in art, you can visit Amy’s blog, Art Theoria, where she explores and writes about Art History and culture.