NUA Fine Art Graduates
/ Kristy Campbell
See more of Kristy Campbell’s work for New Edge: Borderlines
This summer, the graduates of Norwich University of the Arts have gifted us an abundance of creative talent to feast on. Following three years of degree study comprising of research, critical analysis and practical experimentation, the graduates have revealed a refined body of work exhibiting their knowledge of subject specific material, matched with technical ability and conceptual thinking.
Taking a closer look at the Fine Art collection, we witness learning environments transformed in to white cube spaces flaunting a conglomeration of media curated to model the diverse themes and aesthetics that have evolved through the students’ intensive journey through theory and practice.
This public platform both stages and exposes the students’ research. Presented with the opportunity, the students have produced daring over-sized works that occupy and immerse, as well as minimal compositions formulating sophisticated statements, some have fabricated art objects, and others have plated up a taste of Maximalism, promoting ample scale and fearless hues.
With a focus on process, materiality and space, Aurelia Coster’s practice employs a strict neutral palette to devise vast captivating works. These paintings, these layers of warped forms invite the viewer to explore, engross and immerse themselves in the non-physical spaces. This negotiation of space comes about through the unfolding of Coster’s practice; the study of self and surface collaborating, performing, investigating distance and restraints. The work is seemingly as chaotic as the unknown.
Ji-young Kim has exposed this idea of process in their exhibit too. Pondering on the human body and its relationship with the world around us, the forms are somewhat influenced by the audience and vice versa, reliant on the reaction of one another. The body is something both the artist and audience have in common; it is a safe and familiar space in which a discussion can manifest, where materiality is the true subject matter. This enveloping mixed media work has cleverly approached complex reading on The Everyday and designed an accessible translation for a wider audience.
Rosie Green’s interpretive study sees an assortment of familiar and obscure objects challenging the limitations we have assigned to meaning. How we view and associate objects in and with the world around us is free to evolve within this practice where the incorporation of ambiguous digital visuals attempt to stretch our perceptions. The diverse media mirrors both the maturation of technology and the variety of connections we have each made with The Everyday. The collection appears in conversation with itself, while the audience is unchained, free to manoeuvre around the space to examine the unique objects and discover a personal access-point to the work.
While societal issues within The Everyday are dynamic and unsteady, there is one outstanding contemporary socio-political affair – Brexit. Louisa Marriott has undertaken research on the current political climate, incorporating and considering the materiality of printed matter as a visual language that delivers and communicates effectively across contexts – within and beyond the white cube. Her bold aesthetic brings this work to life; reminiscent of billboards and placards, the layered arrangement sets the headlines in motion, flashing up one after the next. This graphic visual archive is both expressive and commemorative; Marriott plainly and bravely positions her views on this platform in an attempt to generate activity and change.
Emilia Symis’ alluring multi-sensory work is not short of activity. The partnership of installed scents accompanying realist visuals set about to seduce and/or repulse. Following realist tradition this practice features imagery of food, sustenance, things to ingest, contemporary scenes and happenings, with the occasional appearance of body parts. These truthful depictions of subject matter offer themselves up to the viewer to engage with ease; the repulsion element arriving through subtle implications and individual taste. The sweet, sapid looking hues, with affixed intricate detailing takes the mind involuntarily on a tour of texture, taste and olfactory memory; a disguised experiential challenge for the viewer.
Georgia Wightman’s practice utilizes humour as a means of connecting with her audience. In many cases art is the conceptual carrier of message, of skill, of the thoughtful and the profound, but in Wightman’s works we observe how communication can be clearer, messages better understood, and artist more approachable when ideas are conveyed on a human level. She rids of the barriers installed to restrict understanding and invests facets of her character within her work, she is present, she is speaking to you, she is human.
The images accompanying this review are merely symbolic of a triumphant exhibition, one deserving of huge congratulations and acknowledgement. The students have offered innovative and honest perspectives on contemporary matters, whilst recognising and approaching boundaries related to our everyday and the unique challenges related to their concepts; this demonstrates the students’ professionalism and bravery.
It is true to say that there is an air of resilience running through this show; stamina in the subject matter, tenacity in the composition of works, and a weight that comes across in the visual language communicated throughout the rooms – this resilience holds us, the viewers, in a place of understanding and shared experience, that pushes against the often-inaccessible gallery space and jargon. The staff and students have collaboratively created a space for knowledge exchange and saturation, twinned with inspiring set-ups, reaching out to and igniting thought within everyone, as art should.