University of Brighton School of Art Degree Show 2018 pt 2: collage, nature and protest

The exhibition has now been closed for a few weeks, time for me to write my second review (part 1 is here). Let me start with the work of Sola Olulode. Olulode is Nigerian and has produced her pictures using a representation of Adire – a regional indigo-dyeing technique. Essentially, these canvasses are collage. Look closely and the texture is clear. With four of these enormous canvasses enveloping the viewer in the gallery, the space is discernibly uplifting. They are like major keys in music.

Not dissimilar in terms of texture is the work of Dannielle Scott (right). Scott presented a series of portraits, each rather distorted. She incorporates the technique of Julian Schnabel, an artist new to me, who painted on to velvet, a most unlikely canvass? The first layer is an undercoat of acrylic which prevents subsequent layers from soaking into the fabric. But there are also unpainted areas which allow the fabric to show through – black, red and blue.

And so on to some discussion about art itself. This show’s artists are a largely a digital generation. Fine art as a discipline seems to me like doing social science with fountain pens and card indexes (I do admit to retaining the former). So to find a piece of work that explores this raised my level of interest. Rosie Burt (left) grapples with it through inserting “a diagrammatic language of the digital into scenes of nature…to explore the omnipresence within our modern society and our detachment from our once ‘natural’ environment”. Now there is clearly a lot going on in that statement. The pronoun “our”, “omnipresence” and “detachment” are open to challenge. But I take it as an attempt to raise awareness of those factors through visually stunning paintings of contrived nature.

Finally, the pallet protest (right). It is tough for students with fees, living costs, work and the desire and pressure to study. Though there was in this case additionally a discussion around the curriculum. Mhairi Lockett’s pallet is an unlikely graduate-show entry. It was made to make a particular point but increased in significance after the University, sensitive to the message, put it in safe storage. I have a bit of a soft spot for pallets having had a period myself of austerity back in the 1980s. I collected them having seen the Channel 4 programme called Low Tech based on the challenge of making stuff from discarded materials, largely found in skips. Pallets were a key source of wood, though the presenter never said how difficult they were to take apart. The barbed nails fail to defeat only the most persistent.

 

 

 

 

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