Review of Exhibition by three Digswell Artists at Courtyard Arts in Hertford

Written by Ella Carty

On April 12, 2012

Photograph of Praesentia Exhibition

Hertford’s unique history was the subject of a recent exhibition by Digswell Fellow Veronica Grassi, Digswell Printmaker Sally Tyrie and former Fellow Caryl Beach at Courtyard Arts in Hertford. The show ran for 10 days at the end of March and, according to Courtyard administrator Julie Scarr, “was very well received and appreciated with an estimated visitor number of 200 plus”. The private view was well attended with members of the Hertford Civic society and Digswell Chairman Tony Gaughan amongst the invited guests.

The exhibition  received financial support from Digswell Arts Trust,  Hertford Civic Society and Dicker Mill Investments. It was the result of a 5 month-long project undertaken by the artists  who researched Hertford’s cultural heritage. Work on show featured video and photography by Caryl Beach inspired by the abandoned Dicker Mill and the importance of the waterways to Hertford’s past prosperity; a collection of 100 Miniature sculptures by Veronica Grassi combining textiles and found objects, referencing the influence of Alfred Wallace;  A series of framed collaged prints by Sally Tyrie inspired by archival maps and the process of urban transition focusing on some of Hertford’s ‘Lost’ buildings.

The three artists, collectively called Praesentia, studied together on the MA Fine and Applied Arts at The University of Hertfordshire in 2008  and are now in the process of gathering ideas and locations for a similar show of work next year. ‘This was a very rewarding  if somewhat challenging experience  and we would like to find another context / location in the south-east where we will undertake a similar research based exhibition in 2013’.

Visitor comments:

‘A beautiful exhibition – really strong work ‘

‘Beautiful work – organic textures and surfaces; intriguing objects and patterns with depth reflecting the complexities of the ‘real’ world’

‘lovely quality work on a coherent theme. I really like the organic nature of it’

For more information on Praesentia exhibitions see the group’s website:

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