Over the course of this year’s degree show season, CR readers will be guest blogging reviews of shows up and down the UK (and beyond). Here, Andy Welsh of MBL Solutions visits the Northumbria University Visual Arts 13 Degree Show
This event, at my old university, attracts hundreds of visitors every year and many of the students were on hand to talk through their work, which I thought was a really nice touch. If no students were around however, the nicely designed free guide books provided additional text and images on everything in the show.
I would never have imagined that producing art using a remote controlled tank would lead to successful pieces of art, but against all the odds, I thought Christopher’s large colour canvases were really striking. His aim was to bring some fun into the world of art and he has certainly done that.
Laura has an interest in the urban landscape and decay. Working from a photograph, she then creates these beautiful paintings, which show a really high degree of realism. I would have happily attempted to buy one if my wife had been a little more open to the idea!
“Contours” by Laura Dixon is a site specific print-making installation, featuring the most incredible hand-screen printed wallpaper, draped throughout a room. Although Laura does produce a “Colour Contours” series, her work at the show was predominantly monochrome and gave the funky, hand-made elements a really sophisticated edge. Again, something I would be very happy to see in my own home.
Thomas Temple’s “Forgotten Generation” shines a light on the elderly members of our society as they attempt to “escape their own loneliness” by staying active in a society that they’ve seen change so much. He believes this often leads them to look “isolated and lonely”. They certainly do in these impressive photographs, but I’m not convinced this can be applied to a whole generation of people. However, I really love art that provokes debate and this was certainly the case with what Thomas has produced.
With another take on the elderly, Caitlin La has produced huge, incredibly detailed oil on canvas paintings that cannot help but have an impact on whoever views them. I thought the level of skill to produce these works and the sensitivity to the subjects shown by Caitlin was really impressive.
“Cultural Myth No.1” by Vytautas Stankevicius was one of the most memorable installations at the whole show and makes use of random items including cardboard boxes and wooden palettes. “Exploring the relationship between human civilization and nature” I found myself looking at the various pieces on show for a huge amount of time and really enjoying trying to work out exactly what was going on.
Charlie mixes words and imagery with a high degree of skill and for some reason I kept coming back to the idea that this work would be particularly suited to some kind of animated music video.
Taking a huge quantity of plastic shopping bags and making something strikingly beautiful, would at first seem an impossible task. However, Jacqueline’s lattice technique coupled with the colour and texture of the bags has resulted in just that.
Hannah has produced several archival pigment photographic prints showing banal or forgotten locations. It would appear they have then been treated as postcards, with some brilliantly mundane messages written on the back “I’m pleased the wind has dropped, I’ve just been to Goole” and then posted to “Mam” in Hull! I thought this was such a clever and enjoyable idea.
For those in London, Northumbria University will be taking part in Free Range at The Truman Brewery.
For more on the show visit the Visual Arts 13 Degree Show website
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The July issue of Creative Review is a type special, with features on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, the new Whitney identity and the resurgence of type-only design. Plus the Logo Lounge Trend Report, how Ideas Foundation is encouraging diversity in advertising and more