Last Saturday I took myself off the Sussex Coast College, formally Hastings College of Art and Technology for the degree and diploma show. I'm gutted that I didn't have the time to visit the B.A (Hons) shows at The Observer Building or The Printworks, but there is always next year.
When I was sixteen I went to Hasting College to begin my study of art, it was a turning point of sorts in my life, and after completing my First Diploma and then a year of my National Diploma I moved away to complete my Foundation Year and Degree. The old HCAT campus was a place of safety for me for two years, a place where I learnt not just about art, but myself and myself as an employee, a student, a artist. These lessons have been replaced, or worked upon in the nine years that have passed, but I still hold the tutors and the people I knew back then in high regard.
I didn't make the private view on Friday the 24th, I had to work and from discussions with an old tutor I saw on Saturday, the feel of the private view has changed from the old college days. Alcohol is a pound a glass, by the sounds of things, the whole affair is a little more serious. As much as art is SRS BSNS, it should also be fun.
Anyway, as usual the work was a high standard. The tutors, many the same that taught me, push for the best from their students. I was impressed with the display of work, even those still in the beginnings of their practices have created work that has potential, there is a way for the viewer to imagine how the artist intends to take the work forward.
I wish I could feature all the works here, but that is not feasibly possible for me, so I have picked and shared my favourites with you. Each student graduating or continuing at Sussex Coast College should be incredibly proud of their achievements.
UAL Diploma Art and Design Level 3 Year 1
Fern Adams: 220 Faces
This was the first piece I saw and I was impressed, Fern Adams has used a variety of techniques and mediums to portray individuals, the overall piece of 220 faces in captivating. With some depictions being incredibly delicate and others being impressively bold the comparisons make the work what it is. Adams has demonstrated a competency for drawing in a variety of forms and I most definitely see this as a piece of work that could lead on to so much.
Amelia has created a deeply personal work, or which I was always going to be fan. I like confessional works. What drew me into the works was the use the line, I'm not so much interested in the back story as the way these pieces were created. The fragility of the artists statement is reflected in the works, and for any student or artist that is important.
Kai Francis: Lost
It's always nice to see lower levels experimenting with how their artwork is displayed, and how the display of drawings can change how they are depicted. Lost by Kai Francis is nice, I like it. I can see what Francis is getting at, I can see where the thought processes are coming from. The is still a nice naïvety in the work, which I hope Francis doesn't lose just yet.
Hannah has created something that is very aware of societies pressures on women, the piece is interesting in it's fragility and brutality. The bulbous forms reflect back to the female form and remind me of Louise Bourgeois and Sarah Lucas. There's a sexual element to the work too, with it's positioning and shape that makes it refined. Of all the pieces I saw as part of UAL Year 1, this is the piece I most want to investigate the supporting works for.
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma
Kieran Brooks: How Do You Portray Yourself?
Kieran does well with such a difficult subject to experiment with. Unfortunately it can be somewhat of a cliche for an art student to investigate identity (or so I was told by my first year tutor). Brooks creates pieces that attract the eye, there is a beauty to the layers he includes, and they are striking, graphic pieces.
(They were hung straight, but my photography is a let down here, ho hum).
Katie Drawbridge: What I Was Told when I Was Young
The name of this piece is just darling, is it not? I was attracted to this piece for two reasons, one as my ex was big into zines, and two, the idea of an artists edition, or multiple has not-so secretly fascinated me since I drowned in my multiples, replicas, and repetition module at university. There is a tenderness to this zine, with a large narrative element. That Katie is going on to Fda Illustration is exciting.
BTEC Art and Design Level 3 Year 2
As someone who has made multiples from clay (here) I was completely taken by Aimee Barnes' delicate paper clay sculptures. The use of multiples here work in her advantage. The use of material and subject matter is integral to the work, and I hope this isn't over-looked by Barnes. As with Adams' piece, these investigations have the ability to go far, and I really hope I get to see where Aimee takes this.
When I said I was impressed with how the works were displayed, this is a perfect example. Pope really displays her photography in the best way, I'm not going to pretend that these delightful little photographs didn't immediately catch my eye. They did, they're visually interesting and invoke memories of hot summer days.
Halvey investigates the female roles in society (there was a lot of this in the show as a whole, which shows the art does, to some extent, imitate life). What I really enjoyed about this piece was the layers, the work reminds me of contact sheets from film developing. Imbued in the work is a sense of development, of movement (and not just the head shaking), it's a powerful piece.
UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design Level 3
I studied philosophy as part of my degree, there is a link between the two that started way-back-when and continues today. That Charlie features philosophy so explicitly in his works reminds me of the 4th wall in films. The interest of illustration and design is evident in these delicate drawings of well known philosophers and memorable quotes. The piece reminds of us of a history and though experiments, and I like that.
I love that in the catalogue for the show Isla says "In September I will be starting a Fine Art Degree at Chelsea School of Art. (To have many new sexual experience (sic) to photocopy about)". In Burt's work there is a playful honesty surround sexual and romantic relationships. That this piece Burt shows is a block of plaster speaks volumes. Burt again reminds me of Emin and Bourgeois, the honesty being integral to how the piece is viewed.
Libby Tyler created the work I was most surprised by. In my second year of university one of my peers also investigated the idea of energy and potential energy. The piece is suspended in a moment, as if time has stood still, and although I am aware that the nostalgia this piece stirred in me is due to my memories and past; I would hope to believe that this too stirs nostalgia in others. I would relish to discuss this piece with other artists, and the Libby herself, to see other reactions and to extrapolate ideas.
Baker reminds me of Amalia Ulman. Creation of a fake identity, how we use social media. I was intrigued by the display, it is reminiscent of medial specimens, there is an analytical view of what we're looking at. Baker is interested in the idea of hiding negative features through social media, the iphones flicking through photographs at odds with each other. It's a piece that could be expanded upon and I, for one, would love to see how Baker does this.
Overall it was a brilliant show, with many artworks elevating above what you'd expect of art students. There are some artists that even though I haven't mentioned here, I will follow. Each student should, as a said 1000 words ago, be proud of themselves. You pulled off a brilliant example of a Diploma Show.
Now, who can tell me the difference between the UAL Diploma Level 3 and the BTEC Extended Level Three?