Stuart Whipps, Garden Artist in Residence

Press Release: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation announces first Garden Artist in Residence

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation and West Dean Gardens near Chichester, West Sussex has announced that Stuart Whipps will be the first Garden Artist in Residence.

Stuart will be working with the gardens to learn more about the day-to-day management and taking cuttings to plant at his studio, which he will ultimately use in an exhibition at Dundee Contemporary in late 2020.

The Birmingham-based Artist will be visiting the gardens for three weeks over the next six months, He will be doing one-to-one tutorials with Fine Art students, whose work often takes inspiration from the extensive gardens that are the setting of the College. He will also give a public talk on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 (details tba).

As Stuart, explains: “During my residency at West Dean College I will be working on an ambitious new body of work that draws on specialist expertise from beyond my field such as geology and horticulture. The work is an exploration of landscape as a historical accumulation of time and the stories that can be told from the perspective of stones, plants and the people who work with them."

He continues: “I will be working directly with West Dean’s head gardener Tom Brown and the rest of the team in order to make work with organic materials. The new work: photographic images, sculptures, a film and sound work will explore landscape through wildly different timeframes and the personal narratives connected to specific sites and materials – chosen because historically they have been divided along class lines. With this project I want the public to question the seeming neutrality of materials such as plants and stones and consider the ways in which people have worked with them.”

“I often make work about things I don't understand and don’t know how to do. Recently this included restoring a 1979 Mini with the assistance of former British Leyland workers, training to make geological thin sections at the University of Birmingham and working with a seventeenth century sign language devised by Sir Christopher Wren.”

This isn’t the first time that Stuart’s work has linked to West Dean, as back in 2016, Stuart had a solo exhibition at Spike Island in Bristol that referenced Edward James through his writing and his work at Las Pozas (Edward James’ home in Mexico).


Selected solo exhibitions include:

  • Birth Sprinds, Death Falls, Flat Time House, London. 2013.
  • Tick, Tack, Tick, Tack, Tick, David Dale Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland & Why Contribute to The Spread of Ugliness?, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2011.
  • New Wooabbeleri, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-On-Sea, 2010.

Selected group exhibitions include:

  • Relatively Absolute, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire, 2013.
  • Community Without Propinquity, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2011.
  • East International, Norwich, 2009.

In 2005 he won the Observer Hodge Photography Prize.
In 2009 he was the joint recipient of the East International prize.

Dates of Residency:

10-16 Dec 2019
3-8 March 2020
14-21 June 2020

Notes to editors

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.

For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07790 732448

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ