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.
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.
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!