Talent Spotters: Wolverhampton

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). Andi Rusyn of Space + Room visits the University of Wolverhampton show

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). Andi Rusyn of Space + Room visits the University of Wolverhampton show

Most of the best work at this year’s School of Art & Design show was in Fine Art, for which the students produced a small newspaper as a guide. The ‘Conceptual Times’ carries the headline ‘It Ay What Yow Think’ which made me laugh. Even though I don’t speak like that… (mostly…)


The best piece was Laura Onions‘ installation which was simple yet mesmerising. It consists of a projector projecting light onto a screen through suspended A4 sheets of acetate printed with pages from ten year old Laura’s school books. The effect is an ever changing green-tinged image on the screen surrounded by an immersive changing purple pattern created by the projector light reflecting off the acetate sheets. The overall effect is mesmerising and a little melancholic, much in the way re-awakened memories can temporarily take you over. An ambient soundtrack with the sound of chalk on a blackboard completes the ‘time travel’ and immersion.


Next door to Laura’s installation was Thomas Heather, whose hypnotic video was almost as good. It’s a series of ‘shards’ of yellow light moving serenely across the screen to a incredibly atmospheric sound scape created by slowing a guitar riff to the point it becomes something altogether different. The lights themselves were created by shooting through a prism. There’s a test of the movie on Heather’s Vimeo page


Another piece in the fine art show which caught my eye was a ‘clockwork’ heart by Stephanie Bannister entitled ‘Cor’. It’s both creepy and witty and is quite fascinating. The very real looking heart expands and contracts seemingly driven by a chain which is connected to a hidden motor via two sets of cogs. It’s an engrossing piece which makes you think about your own physiology.


Caroline Bailey‘s line sculpture didn’t take me back to childhood, but it is very well conceived and provoked me to stand a while and ponder the dynamics of space.


Julie Price‘s ‘piles’ of upholstery foam off-cuts precariously balanced on old side tables also made me think, and took me right back to my childhood. We never had tatty cushions or the like, but I do have strong memories of bits of foam, for some reason… Where they came from, I do not know, just as I don’t know where Julie Price’s foam comes from, except it does, somehow, come from my own memory.


Of the rest of the show, Illustration was the next strongest discipline with some particularly lovely pieces by Amy Louise Evans, especially the charming ‘The Erl King’, and the Bluebird album booklet by Amber Rushton (below) which is a lovely moody combination of illustration and hand-drawn typography.


I also liked Anja Istenic‘s ‘Be visible’ quartet in the Photography show. It’s another piece which makes you stop and think; this time time about your own place in the world and how others perceive you. Or don’t…

These are the highlights for me. Overall, I thought it was a reasonable show. The only shame for me, as a graphic designer, was the graphic communication show. It lacked any real imagination or adventure – a creative degree is surely the time to be adventurous.

Many thanks to Andi. If you would like to review a degree show in your area, please let us know here

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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