University Campus Barnsley held their Interdisciplinary Art & Design Degree show at The Civic for the first time this week. Titled 28°, the exhibition showcases students work in various disciplines, including painting, sculpture, illustration, printmaking, ceramics and jewellery making.
With work displayed in both the Gallery and on the Panorama; this is the perfect opportunity for a young artist to have a first exhibition in one of South Yorkshire’s finest galleries and also to showcase the students talent to our town. There is literally something for everyone here and as always with a degree show, it’s a real mixed bag.
I have a few personal highlights. The first was Michael Sheer; one of his works attracted me from the other side of the Panorama. It looked like an ornate mirror from a distance, until you got up close and you realised it was a framed collage of used lottery scratchcards. Awash with shimmers of blues and silvers and the grey of the latex; it not only reminded me of the repetition of Gilbert and George’s recent postcard collages but also of Damien Hirst’s Judgement Day; a high gloss gold cabinet filled with diamonds. It’s strange seeing yourself in the reflection of objects like that.
One of my favourite works on display incorporated product design, wood work and metal work. Peter Robert’s stunning chessboard and box had been produced as a game for three players, using three sets of playing pieces made out of what looked like steel, bronze and brass; each being constructed out of nuts, bolts, ball bearings etc. The base being made out of small cut sheets of alternating coloured metal made this object a beautiful work of sculpture and not just a perfect piece of product design.
Jan Gwillam’s pair of maps; one a strict black and white print reminded me of Stanley Donwood’s maps. This was juxtaposed with a second which was sold white with the only variation of hues laying in the shadows created by the reverse image impressed into the paper. Part of the maps were recognisable as possibly Barnsley town centre roundabout and I literally was stood in front of these two prints for ten minutes with my head spinning, trying to work out which way round they were. Chance is they weren’t even of Barnsley and probably constructs of the imagination. Regardless; I really enjoyed them.
My absolute essential works there were by Lorrinda Mills. The first was a beautiful painted portrait of a girl; partly referencing art history with Vermeer’s blue head scarf but with a modern face, it tells a different story of feminism with the girl’s blouse being made of collages of torn pages from what I think was Little Women. And with that 100% Pure bangle, it brings the portrait right up to the 21st Century with a potential reference to a straight edge lifestyle.
Her other works included a series of small Schiele inspired figurative sketches and a life size plaster sculpture of a woman sat a sewing table, stitching her lips together. Part body horror; part literary inspired feminism; it was hard not to be drawn to this as it sat in the middle of the gallery as it looked almost like a marble statue from afar.
One other artwork which I quite liked was an installation set up in the first room just off the entrance of the gallery; usually set up for showing films. Through the cut out window in the wall (it normally houses a plasma screen) was a collection of many, many tagged and labelled and jars and shells and a table but all looked like the kind of images you see in a olde ship wreck; each coated with many decades and layers of sand and debris. It was reflective and beautiful and reminded me of Louise Bourgeois’ Cells and also partly of Tracey Emin’s framed found objects about her father.
When I asked Natasha Taylor about her work, she said that she loves beaches and beach-combing and her work is inspired by ‘the idea of ordering things and linking them to how we live our lives and bringing an obsession inside and taking over a person’s life so they eat sleep breathe something. I looked at the work of Mark Dion; mostly with his collections and trying to emulate that effect in my own way.’
The rest of her graduate exhibition included framed works, near 500 sketches and collages. When I asked her about her thoughts of having the chance to exhibit in The Civic, she said ‘it was really good seeing my work in a real gallery space and to be given more space to spread out my work more. I was a little pushed for space in uni. I wasn’t there when they were setting up in The Civic (I would have been more of a hindrance with my wheelchair in the way). Seeing it in that space was amazing. People thought I was a bit mad getting all those jars but I think it really needed them all. The Civic is more likely to get more of an audience there which is always good!’
I think it is fantastic that an arts space like The Civic is giving local students the chance to exhibit their degree collections there and I certainly hope that this is the first of many collaborations with the UCB.
There is much more on display and not just the personal highlights of mine that I have mentioned. Wall sculptures, some beautiful prints by Stephanie Edmunds which reminded me of Louis Wain, wonderfully crafted jewellery, some stunning photoreal paintings are among the many work displayed for all to see; literally something for everyone and if you have a spare hour this week, I really recommend a visit. Support our local talent.
28° runs until Fri 13th July.
@ The Panorama and The Gallery in The Civic.
Time: Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 10am – 4pm