Jealousy is to be deplored but I couldn’t help feeling a twinge to see the space that this year’s MA graduates at the University of Brighton had been allocated to show their work. There was a whole new exhibition area devoted to sculpture and the downstairs gallery was not interrupted by partitions as it has been when I was showing a year ago. This year the works had room to breathe and the graduating students made the very best of it. It was interesting to see how those who were first years in 2014-15 had developed and it was also fascinating to see works from people whom I did not know, who had decided to go for the gruelling route of taking an MA in just a year. In a varied and imaginative show here are a few of the pieces that caught my eye.
I was particularly impressed by this work by full timer Kyunmin Kim, Traces of Time in the downstairs gallery, it is beautifully embroidered, not on fabric but on wire mesh, which is torn in the middle. Writing about the work Kyuhmin explained that “even memories become faint with traces of time. The memory is still alive and is ready to come up to us at any time.“The statement seems a contradiction but then maybe that is the point of the work – the gaps in memory and the unexpected recall.
Doreen Munro started the MA at the same time as me but had a year out for family reasons. That year appears to have served her well.
I remember that Munro’s work often featured pieces being wrapped, or in some way concealed, but none, I felt, had worked as successfully as the juxtaposition of the corrugated iron and the paper in this piece here. The newness, crispness and fragility of the paper was the perfect foil to the rusting iron.
Ruijing Hang another full timer’s work is hard to photograph; Non Linear Existence is constructed from white paint on clear acrylic. I particularly enjoyed its lyricism and dream-like quality. Among many showier pieces it demonstrated a quiet authority.
In marked contrast to Ruijing’s restraint was this playful piece by Yanting Li , You In. It was the first work I noticed on entering the sculpture exhibition and the humour and colour were particularly appealing
Caleb Madden’s works are hard to miss as his sound sculptures permeate both the main exhibition hall and performances in the sculpture exhibition. I particularly enjoyed Hot Fizz an ingenious work in which a bag of water was allowed to drip onto a hot cooking hob making a satisfying hiss every time it did so, the sound of which was then amplified so that you did not at first understand its origins.
Among many excellent paintings I like this little one by Tori Day of a gimlet. Day specialises in celebrating common objects which might otherwise go unnoticed. It is painted on piece of 19th century floorboard. I liked the cleverness of the painted nails holding the painted paper on which the gimlet rests.
Susan Fynes polished and intricate geometric abstracts are always interesting. They take months to complete and I am just amazed at the patience and dedication that is involved. This one Hope is typical of her work – eye-bending but beautiful.
The University of Brighton MA show is open until July 16, 10.00 – 5.00 at University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Brighton BN2 0JY