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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,