courtesy of Ralph Gee
The above is not part of the catalogue, but was Alan Garnett's poster for the exhibition, using an image of David Bragg's 'Kon-Tiki' - listed within the catalogue as No 53, The Magic Eye.
This version of the catalogue was transcribed in 2002 for computer files by Ralph Gee, from his own copy - bought at the door, on Feb 22nd, 1954
THE MAGIC EYE
The third exhibition of ART by boys at Red Hill School, East Sutton, Maidstone
THE COOLING GALLERIES
92 New Bond St., London, W.1.
22nd February to 5th March, 1954
[Introduction by Bob Payne]
ART AT RED HILL SCHOOL
Two reasons might be stated here for holding an Exhibition of Art produced by the boys of Red Hill School; it is always good; to share experiences of the beautiful with others and secondly to draw attention yet again to the imperative need for creative activity to help a child to realise fully its potential maturity in spirit as well as in mind and body.
The school has attempted to provide thorough artistic activities, the means of emotional self expression and development. Boys are encouraged to discover, to investigate, and to appreciate the external world. The teaching is individual except for occasional grouping for particular purposes, for example: drawing from a model by a senior class; and the setting up of any prohibiting standard of either technical achievement or of appreciation is avoided as far as possible. Encouragement and inspiration is the first function of the teacher, supported by helpful criticism when needed and sought by the boy. By providing a great variety of media most of our boys can achieve the success, so important to themselves, in at least one material. All have succeeded in some medium at sometime; this has inspired a faith that all can succeed. The success of an art department can only be measured by the light of achievement in the eyes of its pupils.
The exhibits embracing a great variety of material are evidence of our boys' ingenuity and creative ability once their interest in ordinary things has been stimulated.
Exhibit No.119 illustrates how the boys have undertaken schemes of decoration, which include the design and execution of large wall paintings, proving to themselves their power to control and influence their immediate surroundings. Exhibit No.120 shows the kind of decoration undertaken to provide a background for the Christmas festivities and the traditional Hallowe'en Fancy Dress Party.
In our time the Schools shoulder the grave responsibility of developing, even preserving, the spiritual stature possible in the individuals in their care; the contribution to this end through creative activity cannot be over estimated.
ART AS A THERAPY
[Rationale by Otto Shaw]
WHILE we have a grammar school curriculum, art is an important and completely accepted part of our social and educational life whether in class; in puppetry; expressed as mural decoration of ingeniously unconventional kinds; in permanent ornamentation and decoration of the school or in gloriously imaginative additions to school parties.
Often an anti-social act is a symptomatic expression of a thwarted feeling originating in the home life that a troublesome child has found equally troublesome. A true and radical psycho-analytic or psychotherapeutic process aims at bringing the child to an understanding of often dark unconscious processes in his own mind and thus showing him the way to come to terms with unhappy, sometimes tragic, happening in his past.
Apart from the sessions in privacy with an individual child, other techniques hasten a cure and, indeed, are frequently more important than psycho-therapy in certain cases. Among those other techniques is the art in its diverse forms shown in this exhibition.
When art is properly inspired, the actions of the artist with his craft and his absorption in his pursuit, release the tensions of anxiety. One must avoid first the repetitive productions that seem to state and restate the deeper problems, never appearing to have a reductive effect on the neurosis and then somehow shift the artist to a medium that prevents this sterility. With a series of paintings one can see so often the statement of the problem, unconscious as it is, gradually emerging from an experimental floundering. Then with many chaotic attempts, a pictorial solution of the problem is evolved which one can trace without difficulty in the child's day to day relationships in the school.
Obviously any series of drawings used or intended to be used in any individual analytic technique should not be shown on the school walls. To give interpretations of publicly shown works would be tasteless and embarrassing to the artist. Such work, of course, goes on at the school but is never confused with the work of the Art Room which has its own atmosphere and independent therapeutic value.
Our art seems to provide a magical way for the child to see itself and understand its own motives and to replace disturbance with harmony. That is why we have called this exhibition 'The Magic Eye'.
OTTO L. SHAW