Sarah Watson reviews HOUSE Festival 2016

Outside In asked Sarah Watson to review 2016’s HOUSE Festival in Brighton. This year it features the work of Gillian Wearing, Thompson Hall and Felicity Hammond. SARAH WATSON is a visual artist and photographer, she is currently working with Carousel in Brighton creating animations for a live interactive performance project called “Creatures of the Revolution”; she is Chair of Trustees for Carousel and a committee member for their Oska Bright international film festival . She was one of the founders of the national Creative Minds project.

Sarah on Thompson Hall’s ‘Home Away From Home’ exhibition at the Regency Townhouse, Hove:

“The venue for this exhibition was a house with a beautiful architecture and structure. It really worked well feeling like you are in a house and not museum. I like the boldness of the colours in Thompson’s paintings. Each piece of artwork he creates has different art techniques in the fine details. For instance in one of his paintings he uses gold and silver paint to create a 3D effect on the railings, giving them a shine when seen from a distance.


The video screen in the first room. Photo by Andy Hood

There was a video in the first room I went into showing how he makes his work and the techniques he uses. This helped to make sense of his work. I didn’t know there were monsters in his painting because it wasn’t obvious until I heard him speak at the launch. After this it made complete sense when he told us that they were based on his high intense anxiety. I can relate to how he feels because I have the same things with mine – it’s like dark bleak shadows creeping over me.

There another drawing where there were 2 doors – one going into a parallel world – it makes me wonder what it would be like if I chose that world.

Going to Thompson’s  launch gave me courage that me, or everyone with or without disabilities, can have an exhibition. Overall l really enjoyed this.”


Upstairs at the Regency Townhouse featuring Thompson Halls’ work. Photo by Andy Hood

Sarah’s review of Gillian Wearing’s ‘Room With A View’ at the University of Brighton Gallery on Grand Parade, Brighton: 

“My thoughts on the venue … The exhibition is inside dark green house with little cute lights outside. I loved the colour. Inside it is dark and has a medium sized screen and some bean bags. Inside it lacks the feeling that you are in a house and as somebody said, it would be nice if they had few table lamps, some cushions, a chair, settees and other furniture and if the screen was like window, so that you had the sense that you are in a lounge.

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Gillian Wearing’s house. Photo by  Nigel Green

My thought on the films … People worldwide had been invited to send in short video clips of their curtains or blinds opening to a view from their window. The films have good quality sound and each clip kept me focused and makes think of when I go on holiday. When you go to a place and stay in a hotel, the view from the window can be inspiring and make you feel happy. Or it can make you feel doom and gloom and want to escape from hotel room. From the window you see things, good or bad, that you might not notice at other times. The exhibition made me think of this. The idea behind the exhibition was so simple and perfect. With the few changes that I said, this can be an excellent film screening exhibition.”

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Inside Gillian Wearing’s house. Photo by Nigel Green

Finally, Sarah has reviewed Felicity Hammond’s exhibition at Brighton University’s new venue on Edward Street titled ‘Show Room: The Language of Living’:


“Felicity Hammond “photographs digitally manipulated images from property developer’s billboards and brochures and prints them directly onto mold-able acrylic sheets, which are contorted into beautifully crafted, offer large scale, sculptural objects”.

Her idea is really quite interesting and colourful, alight with bold greens, pink candy floss colours and blue sky colours. It was great to see the cucumber and blood orange prints. I had a sense that I was in a world full of candy sweets. The first visual thought that came out my brain was the Disney animation Wreck-It Ralph and then, after seeing the prints of cucumbers, it made me them want to eat them – a cucumber is one my favourite fruits.

FHammond 1 Show Room

Felicity Hammond – Showroom

I felt inside that it wasn’t fully finished and needed a bit more of something. I kept wanting more. For me, I would like to have seen more, so that I could have said more. I like the idea of how she thinks about stages in her art pieces. I only saw the exhibition at Edward Street. She has another exhibition on for the same dates which is called ‘Portals: The Language of Living’ on Hoardings on Circus St, Brighton.”

F Hammond Portals

Felicity Hammond – Portals

For more information on HOUSE Festival 2016  click here

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