More than a hundred people packed South Square Gallery in Thornton on 2nd March for the launch of the latest exhibition of work in progress by students from Bradford School of Arts & Media's MA Visual Arts programme. Lecturer Martin Hearne explained, “The exhibition has been curated by South Square Gallery’s staff in conjunction with the students. It provides a snapshot of work and ongoing research by students on both years of the course. This is excellent professional practice with opportunities to test ideas and to work with curators in the design and layout of an exhibition.”
The opening night also included an hour long seminar discussing the challenge of staging the work as a group show, rather than a collection of single pieces, and the impact of position. Martin was impressed with the individuality of expression on display and he continued, “Even a cursory glance at the exhibition reveals that there is no trace of a house style but a wide range of approaches to contemporary art and practice, demonstrating that students are free to develop their own study. This diversity includes video, time based media, performance and more traditional forms with object making and photography. Subjects covered range from social history to micro biology, and also consider issues such as recyclability, carbon footprint and consumerism. There is also a refreshing element of humour. This is the fourth cohort in the relatively recent transition from the MA in Printmaking to the MA Visual Arts and it is like a coming of age, consolidating the diversity and breadth of the programme."
Accommodating the restrictions of space and the fit with others’ work sometimes meant only part of a series was displayed. For instance, Jenni Danson’s Safety Curtain, constructed from an Ikea catalogue stitched onto backing paper is just one of three objects she created as a telling comment on consumerism, Safe Place. Jenni said, “It wouldn’t work as a safety curtain just as acquisitiveness fails us. We gather all these possessions to keep us happy and keep the world at bay and it doesn’t work. I also made a Security Chair, that wouldn’t hold you covered in pasted layers of Argos catalogues. When I looked at these catalogues I was horrified by the pages of stuff no one needs.” Their construction also reflects Jenni’s interest in using inexpensive and recycled materials. The final piece, I-con, is like a religious icon but the object of veneration is a framed picture of an i-Pad, cleverly depicts the fallacy of worshipping gadgets.
Exhibtion contributors: Yadgar Ali Bagzada, Paul Bennett-Todd, Rebecca Croft , Jenni Danson, John Dix, Geoffrey Fearnley, Bryony Good, Helen Graham, Christina Ingram, Simon Jones, Michelle Middleton, Laura Milner, Phil Moody, Clare Phelan, Biba J Reid, Stuart Rushworth and Cath Walshaw.You can see a selection of images from the exhibition here
The exhibition runs from 3rd March until 1st April 2012.
South Square Gallery opens Tuesday to Sunday, 12noon to 3pm and by appointment.
The opening featured a performance by Phil Moody. He said, “My idea was to do a sound poem, just a set of words, and I added a layer of accordion to give it an extra dimension. It is selected items from the Ikea catalogue done in Swedish! My work is about objects – their provenance, psychology, exchange, politics, significance and meanings we imbue them with. It is an investigation into the personal as well as a generalisation. The performance didn’t directly relate to my work but to the grander scheme of things.”
You can watch Phil’s performance here