Guest post by Gallery Attendant, Ada Coxall, reflecting on her work at Old Quad where she bridges the gap between art and audiences.
There always seems to be something quite poetic about being alone in Old Quad at the beginning and close of the day, before the doors open and visitors filter in. Standing in the stillness of the early morning or late afternoon never ceases to strike a chord with me, as I reflect on the building’s past guises and the many who have walked its halls.
Taking in these moments before I begin my duties as Gallery Attendant helps to centre me, helps me to engage with this ‘new-old’ space – and the objects it holds. I have the history and the story of the place in my mind as I go through the motions, checking the lights are all on and everything is in order. One of my opening duties is to examine the works on display, looking for any damages or issues. Moving into the North Annex of Old Quad, I find that a brief once-over never applies to Tom Nicholson’s work, Towards a Glass Monument, as my attention is naturally grabbed by the beauty of the piece. I find that the artwork changes day by day, and it is hard to not stand and admire the many ways it reacts to the light. Nicholson brings my early morning thoughts on the history of the building alive in this piece, offering multiple angles through which to view its significance. The arched neo-gothic lancets, which frame the stained glass, hark back to the original Old Quad windows, thereby using the structure of the old to hold something new. My interactions with visitors as they come across this piece is always a highlight, as we share our thoughts and feelings about the work.