Still time to see the Degree and Diploma Exhibition at Sussex Coast College

The Degree and Diploma Exhibition at Sussex Coast College finishes tomorrow. Come along. I will be invigilating between 4.00 and 6.00 today; it would be nice to meet you. We are on the 4th and 5th floor.  Sadly it is unlikely that you will be able to see Julia Mitchell’s  ice sculpture. It was doing fine on Friday, the night of the private view, but even though it must be one of the coldest June on record, not cold enough to keep it from melting.

Julia Mitchell: ice sculpture
Julia Mitchell: ice sculpture

This work was extraordinary because of the way it changed before your eyes. Opaque to begin with, as the melting process started you could see further and further into the ice cubes and see the memorial that she had set inside. I have written about performance art; this was an artwork that did its own performing.

But there is plenty more to see. I particularly like Adam Gibrelli’s drawings.

Adam Gibrelli: drawings
Adam Gibrelli: drawings

We have been blessed with two Adams on the course. I also liked the work by the other Adam,  Adam Fairbrother, a self-portrait.

Adam Fairbrother: self portrait
Adam Fairbrother: self-portrait

Katy Oxborrow’s painting on perspex is interesting in the way that it projects light on to the surrounding walls.

Katy Oxborrow: painting on perspex
Katy Oxborrow: painting on perspex

I really liked Alex Mills’ take on Grimm’s fairy tales; it would be nice to see more of them.

Alex Mills: Little Red Riding Hood
Alex Mills: Little Red Riding Hood

Among the craft students, I was impressed by Phillippa Haines’ strange manikins.

Phillips Haines:7 figures
Phillips Haines: 7 figures

and the glass sculptures by Isabelle Moriaty.

Isabelle Moriarty: glass sculptures
Isabelle Moriarty: glass sculptures

You might also have a look at my work,  shown here is the inside of Orifice 3; there is more about that in the last post.

Sue McDougall: Orifice 3 detail
Sue McDougall: Orifice 3 detail

The Degree and Diploma Exhibition is open to the public between 10.00 and 6.00  on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 June at Station Plaza Hastings

Body Dysfunction

I have finished.  My two-year course undertaking an FDA in Fine Art (Contemporary Practice) at Sussex Coast College is over. I have been accepted by Brighton to do an MA in Fine Art and will be starting that in September. It all began in the summer of 2010 when I was complaining to Mary Jacobsen, herself an art teacher in the West Country, how I had been made to give up art at school in favour of Latin which I hated. She suggested that I should sign up for a Foundation Diploma. Until that point it had never occurred to me  to become an art student; I had done a bit of painting and a bit of sculpture over the years but oddly the idea of going back to school had not crossed my mind. I am so grateful to her. In the event I skipped the Diploma stage and went straight into the degree course. It has been an amazing two years; in one way the time has gone extremely quickly but also I find it had to believe that two years ago I had not heard of all sorts of artists whose work I can now recognise when I go into galleries.

Tonight is the Final Exhibition at Sussex Coast College. The exhibition is also open to the public next week.  Do come along if you are in Hastings. My work is Body Dysfunction. These three works Orifice 2, 3 and 4 are part of a study that examines our feelings about the way that our physical bodies are out of the control of our minds. They also relate to my earlier painting Brain Dysfunction

Orifice 2
Sue McDougall: Orifice 2 – part of the Body Dysfunction Series
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Sue McDougall: Orifice 4 – part of the Body Dysfunction Series
Orifice 2
Sue McDougall: Orifice 3 – part of the Body Dysfunction series

The Top-up degree show at Sussex Coast College

It seems extraordinary that is was a year ago that I wrote about the Sussex Coast College Degree Show. This is the exhibition that shows the work done by the top-up students who have completed the Foundation Degree that I have just finished and work for another year to get a full BA Hons. It brings together students who are studying Fine Art, Craft, Illustration and Design.

Last year I was stuck by the absence of paintings and again it was noticeable that the people who produced things that looked like pictures were more likely to be studying such things as illustration than Fine Art. However there was one outstanding painting by David Wright whose work has developed in a most interesting way over the last year. It was  difficult to photograph because of the dim lighting in the Printworks where the exhibition was held. Note to organisers – next year consider investing in a few more light bulbs.

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David is interested in the way that materials react with each other and what you see has been created by what  is in effect a chemical process. I saw the work in progress as it was being made or to some extent while it was making itself.  The end result is both beautiful  and dramatic- it must be at least five foot square – what you see in the photograph is the middle not the whole thing and the colours as reproduced don’t really do it justice.

Another person whose work I feel has developed hugely is Lyn Dale pictured below. Last year she offered the Lucky Bears her installation this year is most intriguing.


The pages you see behind her are all torn from autobiographies; only the chapter titles remain visible as Lyn has machine stitched out all the words.

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The chapter titles are extraordinary and include – Destroyed , Crisis, out of the Darkness, A Night to Remember, Call me Madam, and my favourite, A Policeman in the Attic. We can only speculate about these unknown lives.

From the craft students I was also impressed again by Gilles Buxton’s ceramic heads.

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And among the Visual Communication Design students, by Julie Plantecoste’s drawings of tormented hands.

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Growing to like performance art

I have never been absolutely sure about performance art. Until recently I rather felt that performances worked best in the domain of the theatre and the Turner Prize offering by Spartacus Chetwynd did little to change my mind. I am beginning to feel differently thanks to the work of Izabela Brudkeiwicz who has just completed the Brighton University FDA in Fine Art (Contemporary Practice) at Sussex Coast College and is pictured below.

Izabela’s performances are hard to watch because she drives herself to the absolute limit of endurance in what almost seems like a self-imposed punishment.  Although the pictures give some kind of impression, watching her live is very different. A year ago she painstakingly glued rice to the wall grain by grain for a whole week until she could hardly stand and the rows of rice, which had started in neat parallels dipped towards the floor. In her current performance she utters a cry or wail in a code of her own devising. Izabela is Polish and the work is about the problems of communication.

izzy standing compressed

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Izabela has performed this ritual around a dozen times over the last few months. Dressed in a simple white shift  and with bare feet , or on occasions, white socks – a kind of sacrificial garb – she maintains the performance for two or more hours until she sinks with exhaustion.  It is simple but it is also extremely powerful.

Izabela will be performing at the Sussex Coast College Degree Show Private view on June 21 at Station Plaza Hastings.

Degree show at K College

At a time when those of us at Sussex Coast College are preparing our final exhibition work for the FDA Fine Art (Contemporary Practice) degree show, it is interesting to see what other students are up to. On Friday I visited the FDA Fine Art Degree Show at K College, part of the University of Kent. When you have been working with people for two years you know a lot about them and about their work. Visiting the University of Kent show, there was none of that. All you knew was what you saw and the brief artist statements provided in the programme. I wondered whether I would have viewed the work differently had I known the artists personally. For me three artists really stood out.

I was extremely impressed by the photography and imagery in Maeve Buckenham’s strange and enigmatic films, though they were hard to follow. I liked the way she showed different images simultaneously and by her kaleidoscope effects and by the music and narration and yet I had very little understanding of what the films were about. Reading about them in the booklet accompanying the show, I see that they investigate Jacques Lacan’s split subject and the mirror stage theories whereby a child first perceives him or herself as individual subject. All this  is somewhat indigestible stuff; even so they were fascinating to watch – for a time.

A split scene showing the face and the back of a girl in the film by Maeve Buckenham
Split screen in Maeve Buckenham’s film
A split screen effect showing the same girl across the double screen
A scene from Maeve Buckenam’s film

Very different and far more accessible were Kate Linforth’s highly decorative pieces. Linforth’s practice appears to be at the border between fine art and craft. She uses wax to create both works that can be hung on the wall as in the picture below as well as highly desirable  bowls and organic looking objects which have a translucency.  One of these had been cast into bronze which, she showed me made a satisfying noise if you stroked the little finger like protuberances at its centre.

A red painting created in wax by Kate Linforth
Wax painting by Kate Linforth
Spongelike and translucent wax object by Kate Linforth
Translucent wax object by Kate Linforth

Also interesting and also with a professional looking finish were Sarah Rilot’s meticulous drawings  set on spheres and circular perspex. The numerous tiny circles must have taken hours to complete. In the exhibition booklet she explains that she is fascinated by small hidden places and that the painstaking repetition becomes meditative and an important element of the artwork itself – which considering the number of circles she must have drawn is probably just as well!

Three spheres are shown, part of of te work by Sarah Rilot
Sarah Rilot’s spheres