UNIVERSITY OF Wolverhampton 2009
MA FINE ART DEGREE SHOW
List of Students p.4
Andromeda Heightz (Hislop, Andrea) Full-time
Foreword The graduating MA Fine Art students would like to extend their gratitude to Professor Matthew Cornford, Course Leader of the programme until April 2009, for his endeavours in enhancing their critical and practical knowledge. MA Fine Art is a course, which he fought hard to initiate and promote. The success of this exhibition represents both the structure of the course that Professor Cornford established as well as, of course, the various accomplishments of the students exhibiting. The current cohort is the largest group of MA Fine Art students to be graduating in a single year from the University of Wolverhampton and they bring together the diverse and multi-disciplinary nature of the art world in its many different forms. From painting to video, sound installation to institutional critique, sculpture to text based work; a broad spectrum of art practice is represented. In these troubling times of economic uncertainty, these graduating students find themselves in a challenging position. Some have already made decisions to continue their study with further research, others have employment beckoning yet it has to be said that the energy of this group and the drive to further their careers will no doubt lead them all on to diverse and exhilarating opportunities. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to; Prof. John Roberts, Prof. Tim Collins, Colin Davies and Maggie Ayliffe, alongside the rest of the Fine Art staff team, for the work they have undertaken in order to make sure that this cohort of students have enjoyed an exciting and challenging experience through the MA Fine Art in either a full-time or part-time capacity. Finally, I would like to wish all of the graduating students every success with their future development as artists and hope one and all will prosper in their chosen field.
Congratulations to you all.
Dr Alistair Payne MA Fine Art Course Leader
Andromeda Heightz I would define my art vocation within the bracket of, a type of â€˜Ecological art,â€™ where by an artist seeks to explore, address and heal through interaction between the physical environment and the sensing body. I feel it is time to create a global culture based on truth, diversity and acceptance. Where the arts, sciences and spiritualities are one in reinforcing a greater understanding of, concern for and responsibility to a sustainable life on earth, for all; regardless of ability, age, race, gender or social economic or political group.
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Black, Mathew The Canadian pioneer of Acoustic Ecology Murray Schafer once asked his students to list the sounds they had heard on their way into class one morning. As expected, set against exhaustive lists describing images of their surroundings the lists of sounds were comparatively blank. Today, the issue of the geographical spread of low-level, ambient noise from the city to the suburbs is an entirely new problem that threatens to obscure and diminish the spectrum of sensory experience yet further. This spatial affect increasingly limits our exposure and receptivity to the source of sounds in our surroundings against an existing environmental situation. This doubling of a situation now therefore occurs at both ends of mans relationship with the natural world and threatens our connection to the source in addition to the existence and livelihood of the source itself. As Murray Schafer once accurately predicted ; after the identification of a global situation, the stakes have now dramatically risen on a local level and in the context of our everyday. We may soon have to go to a museum or art gallery in order to hear the pre-recorded sounds of certain extincted species due to the latent colonization of urban and suburban areas. This process which emerges through a mass interpretation of culture that continues to be land-locked between the effects of consumption and its causes remain explicitly and exclusively visual. The problem therefore of our exposure and receptivity to sound is no longer a purely aesthetic issue. This global problem which is invisible and now silently impacting upon human consciousness and sensory experience everywhere is actively re-shaping the aesthetic dimensions of our cities and suburbs today. It is in these ways that the medium of sound in contemporary art is now dissociable from the politics of colonization on both a political and aesthetic level.
Bonada, Marja My work is mainly concerned with the exploitation of our own natural environment. I have looked at where the attitudes which cause us to abuse nature grow from, and traced them as far as the Old Testament. In Genesis Adam is told by God to “subdue” the earth and have dominion over everything that moves. Whether this concept originates in the Bible or somewhere further back, it is at the root of our disregard of nature; we have never been able to give up the myth of our own superiority, it is too seductive. But if we follow this idea to its conclusion we see how we have caused our environment to be abused and squashed into submission. This problem concerns me greatly and I began to look for a way in which we can alter our position to one of humility before nature instead of making nature bend before us. One difficulty when addressing the problem of large scale environmental damage is that negativity, depression and therefore inactivity can very easily set in. From the point of view of living within a society whose mindset is arrogance before nature it is difficult to see how attitudes could be changed. But I started to become aware of certain customs and behaviour that indicate that in some aspects of western culture we do in fact already approach the natural world with care and respect. The regular feeding of wild birds, for instance, can be seen as a devotional act, similar to the offerings of food made to nature gods by tribespeople of the world since civilization began. I don’t mean that feeding birds turns us into pagans or means that we worship “idols”, but I do see it as a way of serving nature, (rather than making nature serve us) which is a spiritual act, whatever faith you do or do not have. This is the attitude of mind that is necessary if we are to redress the balance between ourselves and the world we live in. We need to take our place several notches lower than we have had the luxury of believing it thus far, if we are to halt the environmental degradation we have caused, and live from nature’s riches in a symbiotic relationship as our predecessors did.
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Chumber, Sukhjeven What does it mean to be British Asian? This is a question I am asking in my work today. Also where and how do I fit into society and the art world? Why are the arts so white? Learning about my own Asian culture and also my British heritage it has opened up so many questions and led to the existence of this work and this statement. This artists statement should not exist in a world where we are supposedly all equal. I can’t escape the notion that the ‘Art World’ both the exterior and interior is ‘white’.
Crawford-Docherty, Teresa My work questions the way in which individuals reflect or construct their identity depending upon their social, cultural and political viewpoints. Much of my work deals with these issues and explores different media to do so, including paint, collage, photography and found images. Currently I am examining the concept of Britishness, using signifiers (icons or symbols) that represent Great Britain from the past and present. I am aware that within art, in order for it to make any difference there has to be a reaction - otherwise what is the point? Society is wary of terrorism, political motivation and political correctness. As a multicultural society, members of all subgroups of the population of Britain live side by side with people of different races, religions and political viewpoints to their own. However, people cannot question some of the things that seem most evidently questionable to them, whatever their cultural position, for fear of being branded racist, prejudiced or ignorant. My work often raises questions within our society that are uncomfortable to ask. It makes the invisible, visible. The unquestionable, questionable. The unstated, blatantly obvious. At times it makes the spectator uncomfortable. My work highlights areas in which these positions can be misconstrued and thus risky to recognise and voice. My work intends to explore this notion of making â€˜the invisible, visibleâ€™ and explore identity through the use of signifiers.
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Farmer, Lisa Motifs are developed from unconscious mark making and doodles. Using a circular canvas paintings are created from the exaggerated and enlarged motifs. The circle creates a cellular/biopic illusion to the work. Conflictions between the fore and background have been amplified with use of colour, shape and surface. Abstracting the unconscious mark or spontaneous gesture has led to the ordinary becoming extraordinary.
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Hewitt-Dudding, Vanessa Fashion culture is a multi layered industry; from the promise of heaven while maintaining the hell; the faรงade and the fake; the aspiration of the unobtainable; the subtle suggestion and the blatant exploitation. Fashion images, the sheer indulgence and decadence of glossy magazines, have always held a fascination for me that has fed into my practice. But all this bittersweet confection is evident not only in the imagery but also the language used and language is a realm of exploration that has informed my practice of late. Its subtle gender bias and subjugation; its simultaneous meanings; its shifts in meaning over time and the lost oral history; its innuendo and assertions, English language is as rich and colourful and multifaceted as any crystal studded tiara. My practice has taken on board these factors and attempted to explore the layered nature of the language of fashion culture while maintaining visual complexity and decadence, often considering gender stereotypes and the ambiguity of sexuality with a sense of humour, creating a delectation for the viewer.
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McConnell, Penelope Pregnancy and childbirth is surrounded by social fantasy where new mothers and mothers-to-be are confronted with powerful stereotypes to which they feel compelled to conform in order to be seen as adequately fulfilling their role and function. Living up to the expectation of others (the healthy, blooming, contented pregnancy) feeds into the expectation of a life and body irrevocably changed: anxiety over the health of one’s baby and one’s ability to cope with childbirth and the inevitability of motherhood and all that it implies and demands. Falling pregnant whilst undertaking my MA, ill health prevented all but the most tenuous links to the University meaning that the majority of my work in study had to be done from home - in the latter stages, due to disability, my work and study had to be done from home as I was unable to walk. This period of ‘glorious fulfilment’ promised by advertisements, pregnancy magazines and society was constantly undermined by darker phases of disability, sickness and antenatal depression, culminating in a painful and traumatic birth. Utilising my own experiences as the basis for my art practice has been formed by necessity and as a means of gaining creative and personal perspective. Using my own body as a site of conflict and coexistence between medical intervention, physical pain, psychological strength and emotional resilience. This multi-media installation, whilst an intensely personal work, looks at the medical mediated through individual experience, held in both the body and the mind.
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Mills, Jo I am a photographer and visual artist, based in the West Midlands. I believe in a world of mirrors, both as literal representations of people, power and the messages which are fed to us through history and the media, but also as portals to another dimension, the ‘mirror world’ where nothing is as it seems, but where nothing in this world can exist without its polar opposite - light and dark, tragedy and beauty, creation and devastation. Equally my work exists in this semi-real dimension - There may be a very clear subject or message in my work, often there is more than one way of looking at it - the viewer’s own vision is as unique and important as my own. Just as you can listen to a piece of music and take your own meaning and solace from it, although the writer had a very specific subject in mind that you could never know fully comprehend. So exists my work. I am particularly influenced by the photographic work of the surrealist movement, play, and the uncanny. I am inspired by photographers and artists who are able to capture the beauty in every day life, including Eugene Atget and Uta Barth.
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Pitt, Nathaniel Art-o-thlon, summer 2009. I was invited to take part in an art reality TV show in Vilnius, Lithuania as a part of the European Capital of Culture. My art is about investigation through an ongoing critique, using research and imagination I look at the everyday structures and systems that surround us. I like to work in collaboration with other artists and nonartists across disciplines. Image detail, Radio Head: Nathaniel Pitt & Justin Tyler-Tate
Ranga, Nick My practice is based on walking, that is, walking as a fundamentally creative spatial practice - a process of experience and documentation that produces narratives. The word â€˜psychogeographyâ€™ is a useful term in describing this practice, in that it is concerned, primarily, with experiences of urban and suburban environments - I am fascinated by buildings, public spaces, monuments, and how memory and narrative become manifest in physical spaces. The work is informed, creatively and theoretically, by a number of spatial practices that can all be described as, or have some aspect that is, psychogeographical. This body of work presents an experience of an urban environment. It is in many ways an exercise and experiment in shifting perceptions of the city. However, the work does not seek to politicise (although there are political aspects), nor to present a particular message (although there messages buried within the work). This is not what concerns me here. Instead the work seeks to question, and in turn, to open up new ways of experiencing urban environments. It is here that the practices gathered under the term psychogeography are most relevant, as it is psychogeography that symbolically transforms our everyday experiences of these urban spaces. In short the work is a direct response to the built environment - the photographs compose themselves, texts written by semiotic stimulus. Through the creation of disjunctions and discordance within the work, just as in the changing of our reasons for movement through the city, our perceptions of the representations of these spaces can be changed.
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Rann, David David Rann is primarily a photographer but has recently been experimenting with video as an alternative means of expressing some more personal themes. ‘Know the Place’ is a short film about homecoming. The title comes from the poem ‘Little Gidding’ by T.S. Eliot, which was the starting point for the film, in which an actor plays David. Music was specially written and recorded for the film by Dark Matter. David also collaborated with Teresa Crawford-Docherty in a short documentary film about her ‘Little ‘Un Gallery’ project, where she transformed a disused phone box into an art gallery. Finally, David presents a series of Gum Prints entitled ‘A Sense of Place’. The original digital source photographs were taken on the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides. Deliberately given a dark and textured appearance by the combination of the Gum Bichromate process with black watercolour pigment, each print is unique and intended to convey something of the atmosphere of this historic but wild and beautiful environment.
Tseng, PinChieh The work deals with Op art which is using simple shapes and colours to the audience. Fruits are always around us in our daily lives that is the reason why I choose it to make my piece of work. Art, Shapes and colours are always around us. We should pay attention to our surroundings. See and feel.
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Ytterstad, Tonje Ch Within language, through the written word, even its most basic form, communication is enabled. However, it is noticeable that this form of language hangs on a knife’s edge. New technologies have allowed for different forms of communication within language, through which the original is broken down, or ruptured in the need for expediency or even ‘funky’ forms of expression. This creates a stuttering within the language that produces a shift in the way in which we approach the text. For instance, text speak is not normally relevant within speech. It is however broken down from the syntactical variances of speech, yet through this process creates a new and very different understanding of forms of text.