Brighton MA Exhibition 2015

Yesterday, I wrote about the works I had put in the Brighton University 2015 MA exhibition. If you didn’t see it, do scroll down and have a look.  Today, I am concentrating on the work of fellow students. One of the exciting things about being on the MA course for the last two years has been watching everybody develop. The result has been an exhibition of extraordinary diversity, covering paintings, film, sculpture and live performance.  Such variety is, perhaps, unsurprising when you consider that the 13 students graduating this year come from six different countries and their ages span more than 40 years from twenty something to sixty something, with at least one representative of each decade in between.  Here is a small selection of what you will see if you visit.

My favourite work is actually by the youngest student in the group Liam Ronan and is not in the gallery but upstairs on the second floor, where there is a lot more art on show, mainly by the first year MA students. Liam creates strange works using branches, twigs and roots, weaving and sculpting them into extraordinary shapes. As many of them seem to come from thorny bushes and he cannot do it whilst wearing gloves, you can imagine how hard it is on his hands. In the work in the photograph, I think it is particularly interesting the way that the suspended shape is balanced by the carpet of twigs and leaves on the floor and the fact that, though the interior is chaotic, the edges are so well defined. Look out too for a wonderful curved work by Liam in the gallery.

ma show 009I have liked Mima Chovancova’s paintings from the start of the course but I consider this one, Precious,  particularly successful.  Hung against a light background, it appears to flow out from the wall; the colours glow with a translucent quality. As with Liam’s work, edges are also important here;  uncertain in places, firm in others, you get the impression that  the edge of the canvas is not the edge of the work.

Mima Chovancova: Precious

Xiolin Zhang comes from Shijiazhuang in China and is a most talented portraitist. Along with this work, there is also a portrait of fellow student Tiara. I particularly like the pose she has chosen with its emphasis on the enlarged hand and the reflection on the surface on which the girl is leaning.

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Xiolin Zhang: Girl, Stay Proud 2

Caroline Pick had concerns when she was making this piece that beds might somehow be forever off-limits because of Tracey Emin. She need not have worried; it in no way resembles Emin’s bed, and I think it is more interesting, The squares were made from casts taken from an eiderdown. It is disorientating,  looking inviting and cosy whilst at the same time being cold and hard.

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Caroline Pick

If you are in the mood self improvement that too is possible at the exhibition. You can listen to a lecture in which Cliff Stevenson has a debate with himself as an artist and as an economist, or you can ask Ashley Johnson (aka Bryony Bisset ) about feminism. If she is away from her seat, or you can’t make the exhibition, you can also send her a tweet  to @Feminartist1 on Twitter.

Bryony Bishop as Ashley Johnson

This rather fine camel is by Maryam Ghanem Al-Attiya. Maryam comes from Qatar and the painting is about nostalgia and longing for home. Next to it is a large painting of a pebble in the same kind of muted colours and, in the background of the painting, you can just make out a poem in Arabic.  Interestingly, the two paintings are linked; while the pebble was found on a beach in Shoreham-on-Sea, if you look really closely at the camel painting, you will see it has been placed in the right hand side among the other stones in the desert. You can just about make it out in the photograph if you run your eye down from the trunk of the tree; it is slightly to the right near a little mound. You can also read some of Maryam’s poetry in Arabic and in English translation and, in a display case near the entrance to the exhibition, you can see the pebble that she found.

Maryam Ghanem Al-Attiya: Nostalgic Road

Jenny Edbrooke is showing a series of four paintings Flora Supernova, one of which is shown before. They represent both the female cycle and the four seasons.  Made out of pressed flowers, resin and some mystery ingredients, Jenny has achieved an astonishing finish. When the light catches them, you can see interesting rainbow pattern and sparkles within them.  Visitors to the gallery were fascinated.

Flora SuperNova 1
Jenny Edbrooke: Flora SuperNova

Finally, if by the end of the exhibition you are feeling a little arted out, you could relax with Jesse Waugh’s relaxing film of Brighton sea, Beauty Sublime.

The Brighton University MA Exhibition runs from July 4 2015, to 12 July 2015 at Grand Parade BN2 OJY. The opening times at Monday to Saturday 10 – 5 and Sunday 10 – 4,

Heavens, it’s the final exhibition

It is a couple of months since I last posted on Artelogical and for a good reason, I have been so busy making stuff for my MA final exhibition that I have had very little time for anything else. Now it is done. Incredibly, the show is up; the paint is dry; the labels are in place. If you would like to come, it is open to the public from today until July 12 at.the Grand Parade Gallery at the University of Brighton.  I have two works in the show. The first piece is the Unknowabiility of Others. It is an idea that I have been working on for more than two years, though the works themselves have taken different forms.

I always find it extraordinary how little we know about the inner lives of others, which includes the people closest to us, but also random people we just meet. There they all are, thinking away – stuff – and we don’t know what it is. If they tell us what they are thinking about, we don’t know if it  is true anymore than if we tell them what we have been thinking, it is necessarily the complete truth. Sometimes you can hear somebody speaking and think, “you say that, but do you really, seriously, believe it.”  We can never know whether they do, or whether they don’t.

Sue McDougall: the Unknowability of Others

Each time I have made, or tried to make, this piece, it has comprised two tubes which lie alongside each other. Apparently they are similar but on the inside, they are very different.

Sue McDougall: the Unknowability of Others, internal view 1.
Sue McDougall: The Unkowability of Others, Internal View 2

My other piece, You Can Only Beat Entropy for a Time, is actually a tribute to my sister who very sadly died of cancer  in May at the age of 51. I was working in the studio and thinking about her and the things she had said, one of which was that my husband was “entropy personified” because she believed him to be untidy, which I should add, is a charge he has always strenuously denied.

Entropy is the force that turns order into disorder. The second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time, which is one reason why time travel will never be possible. It also suggests that it is not only people, but everything, even the universe itself, will come to an end. In this piece the various elements are breaking away from each other and so becoming more disordered; they are also in the process of breaking up themselves. They are made with household paint, insulating foam and newspaper. The paper in the work came from living trees, which, while they were living showed negative entropy, but the process of turning them into paper. which was then discarded, would have increased entropy. By turning them into an artwork, we go back into negative entropy – but only for a time.

Sue McDougall: You Can Only Beat Entropy for a Time

I have also been interested recently in experimenting with non-rectangular paintings. So each of these is intended to be complete in itself though together they make up the work,

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studio floor 006

studio floor 007

Tomorrow I will post about my favourite pieces from the rest of the exhibition.

The Brighton University MA Exhibition runs from July 4 2015, to 12 July 2015 at Grand Parade BN2 OJY. The opening times at Monday to Saturday 10 – 5 and Sunday 10 – 4,