Charlotte Banks reports on her favourite pieces in the Bath Spa Degree Show.
Bath is not just a beautiful city; it is also a creative hub. Home to Bath Spa University, the city is bursting with young and talented artists who work in all mediums. Having recently exhibited its graduate show, I met the Bath Spa’s Dean, Anita Taylor, who expressed her joy as she anticipates the contribution these graduates will make to, in her words, ‘the creative, cultural, and economic landscape of the UK.’
Although the show clearly displayed creative flair, the innovation of the students meant there was also an overriding sense of commercial potential, essential to fulfilling the Deans economic hopes. A fine balance was struck between freedom of expression and the inevitable fact that money must be earned.In particular credit must be given to the skills shown in the textiles department, where craftsmanship had been translated into covetable textures, prints, and ideas for the home.
Highlights of the textiles include the bold and simple knit and weave work by Dora Malton.
One of the works that stood out was this decorative eye catching coat of many mediums to create a kaleidoscope of color. Once again showing that fine art and fashion go hand in hand, after the past few years of huge successful exhibitions from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Vivian Westwood and Gianni Versace in large public museums.
Other noteworthy works include the beaded accessories by scholarship winner Abigail Barnes.
Anything could be found in the fine art display rooms: installations, taxidermy, painting, video, collage, paper cuttings and many other mediums. A variety of scale and content made for a rich and enticing exhibition proving that Bath Spa Students intend to place themselves at he cutting edge of the art world.
Below is the large scale installation of taxidermy mixed media and almost toy like boxes all creating windows into story like worlds were humor reins supreme. Peter Palfi the artist says , “my practice is provocative dealing with issues that require certain self-assurance. In crafted installations I build humorous and unnerving narratives with taxidermy animals or other sourced objects. I construct the installations with an attention to detail while my dry, sarcastic sense of humor mainly the driving element of my practice”.
A couple personal favorites include the lacquered and glass layered paintings by Tibor Cervanak who beautifully combined traditional painting with modern concepts and the sleek of reflective surfaces. These large scale works could be at home in any contemporary gallery or international art fair.
Other works also had a lot of presence like the circular chalk board by Miriam-Rose Platts which stood stark and beautiful against the white walls. Creating such a work on a chalk board wall with such a modest medium as chalk/pastel gave the work a feeling of innocence and fragility. On the floor in front of the work, adding to the transient feeling, is what seemed to be a landscape of graphite dust – it could blow away at any time.
Liana Benjamin’ geometric glass plates were positioned to form a wall piece of interesting shapes and contours. Liana also has a companion piece of neon lights both works conceptual make great use of the space.
Emily Jane Spencer’s huge installation had a deep emotional pull from the striking shadow which passed through the sheer fabric. Seeing such a work that seems to cross the boundaries of fashion and fine art gives the viewer a feeling of nostalgia and times past.
This wall of individual canvases hung together as one installation with different mediums worked well in the space by Harry Barnett.