An Art-Line for Margate
—Christopher Alexander Strand
Over the last few years we have been working with Steven Alexander, the son of the late Christopher Alexander, head of fine art at the former Thanet School of Art & Crafts in Margate, from the 50s until his untimely death in the early 80s, exploring the curation of a collection of over 5000 art works of his father, much of it digitally archived. The aim is to explore a way of developing the archive, the opportunity for a digital curation whilst researching and exploring the Christopher Alexander collection as well as the works of his former students, some of whom would go on to become influential artists and designers in their own right. Others remained in Margate and formed their own art groups through which they continued their practice.
Our project seeks to understand Christopher’s legacy, particularly that which relates to his long and devoted career in teaching. By speaking to former students, colleagues, artist’s models, friends and relations, we hope to develop and enrich the existing archive of Christopher’s work, looking for traces of his influence in the memories, art and lives of those who knew him.
Christopher Alexander was a Margate born artist who, after studying at the Royal College of Art, returned to Margate in 1951 to teach at the Thanet School of Art and then at the Canterbury College of Art from 1952. He remained an influential and committed teacher at both institutions until his sudden passing in 1982 aged just 56 years old.
Bradley is a writer, musician and photographer whose work explores forms of poetic realism. Looking at the material traces of cultural histories, his practice attempts to articulate the intimate narratives of everyday experience at the heart of broader social moments. Through his current project, Litter Culture, he hopes to salvage and reclaim residual fragments of pop and folk culture
All images reproduced with the kind permission of Steven Alexander. All rights reserved 2020.
Lucy is an artist, drawing tutor and co-founder of The London Drawing Group. which has been teaching drawing classes in museums, galleries and in pop up locations across London for the past 4 years. McGeown's core practice is drawing with her work forming abstract representations of urban environments. McGeown also creates installations from found materials which is an extension of the ideas that inform her two dimensional based pieces.
This exhibition served as a starting point for Lucy and Bradley to experiment with ideas of presentation and curation. After a discussion about their own practices and current projects, they decided to exhibit pieces of work that were still in development and would benefit from being finalised for presentation for this exhibition.
Each artist had been working with found materials, in Lucy's work with the literal use of found objects and in Bradley's the use of found stock film footage.
As Lucy's sculptural installation are very much an improvised response to each exhibition space it was decided that the starting point for the show would be from Bradley's film. The artists decided to relate their works by finding the relationship between the formal qualities that could be found in each piece. This allowed the work to relate through chance and unknown associations.