Scene Unseen II 9th May - 1st July 2008
Frances Newman -
An Artist in Residence
UCLH Arts has supported Frances Newman in her residency at the hospital over the last 18 months and during her time here she has shown how essential a role an artist can play within the health care environment. Through her drawings and through the process of making them she has communicated and celebrated the value of all UCLH staff.
Newman's residency is in a firm tradition of artists working within hospitals and her approach has been very much in the same vein as Barbara Hepworth's residency spent in Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre in Exeter from 1947. However where Hepworth records surgeons and nurses at work within the operating theatre, Newman does not dwell on the drama of the theatre, instead focusing on the 'unseen' UCLH staff going about their day to day tasks. The uniqueness of a residency has allowed Newman's role as artist to be extended from the mere documenter to one of storyteller, breaking down the boundaries that exist within the institution both for staff and the public. Newman's work steers clear of the sentimental snapshot; she presents an honest, dignified portrait leaving the viewer with a feeling of immediacy and intimacy with the subject. This portrayal of intimacy has only been possible because of her unobtrusive approach to drawing: the 'sitter' largely forgetting that Newman is there.
UCLH Arts is delighted to be able to host this exhibition celebrating UCLH staff particularly as there is no doubt of the positive effect on staff morale this exhibition will have and also providing the public (and other staff) some insight into the breadth of the service that UCLH NHS Foundation Trust's provides.
The residency fits well with the aims of UCLH Arts, which is committed to providing a welcoming, uplifting environment for all patients, visitors and staff through the use of a varied and stimulating arts programme, that reflects the diversity of all users of the Trust and in so doing improve patient well being, boost staff morale and widen access to the Arts. UCLH Arts is funded entirely by charitable donations and no money is diverted from patient care.
This residency has been funded in part by UCLH Arts, Friends of UCLH and the artist herself.
Guy Noble Arts Curator UCLH
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