Two Coventry galleries offer chance to see work of artists as they start careers

Miranda Miller
You can see lots of work by young and newly starting out artists in Coventry at the moment – and at one of the exhibitions you can sit down and talk to the artists as you admire their work.
Students who have just finished their MA in Contemporary Art Practice or Contemporary Craft are exhibiting in the studio at The Herbert in Coventry city centre. Part of it includes a table where visitors are invited to sit down and join some of the artists either in an art activity – I was invited to embroider but decided it wasn’t me – or just have a cup of tea and a chat.

It also means you can persuade someone to give you a personal tour, and find out more about their work. Rebecca Bonser was a former jeweler who became ill and unable to continue in that work but said “I sat at a loom one day and didn’t get up”. Her woven pieces including one made from metal hang where you can look through them to see the Herbert’s Jacquard Loom below.
Sally Larke has created several cabinets each containing 33 pots, all slightly different, 33 being the age her brother would be if he hadn’t died tragically 10 years ago. The delicate works show the work of creating as being about contemplation of him and of her loss.
Sally Larke
Silvie Kilgallon’s two wall hangings look from some distance like a computer print out but close up you can see the tiny colourful stitches in them, representing two different translations of Book 1 of the Illiad with each colour representing an ancient Greek letter. She has many more planned which looks like hard work.
Somyah Kahtani has made a film and a sculptural work looking at child abuse which she says in her native Saudi Arabia isn’t acknowledged, or written about in the papers, and is even denied by victims. The work features faceless children on a newspaper-strewn sofa.
Miranda Miller’s ceramic houses line the windowshelf and throw patterns of light across the floor, and Ming Song’s 40 wire models, all in different positions, are fun. Paulina Jasiewicz’s photos of industrial decay in Warsaw are stark and impressive.
A good exhibition showing the wealth of ideas among the MA students.
Across the road, Rose Jennings is presenting Drawn Out, her first solo exhibition, filling the Roots gallery with sculpture and installation works.
Rose, who is based in Birmingham and studied at BCU, spent 10 days in the gallery beforehand to produce the site-specific works – something that I thought might not have altogether been a comfortable experience, seeing as the gallery has glass sides.
Rose said: “You do get some weird looks! But it’s nice, people would sometimes come in and ask about what’s going on so I could tell them about my work and the art gallery.
“It’s been really good making work in the space, you get to explore meanings in the work and how to answer them. I am interested in what materials can do and how I can change them, and what I can get from them, and what they are doing themselves.”
The exhibition features nine pieces showing a variety of techniques and materials. What is good is that it really has been created for the space, with Baroque, a netting and wire piece hung across a corner like a drape, and Immerse, which is made of mohair, also filling a strange narrow shape like a curtain.
Surface is a wooden frame on the wall where a painting would fit, but here with a load of writhing materials spilling out like Medusa’s hair.
1-2-3 is a box wrapped with cellophane, and Life Force is a large piece of paper marked with pencil, showing variation of technique and material, and filling a large wall space.
Another interesting exhibition and a chance to see what young artists are up to today.
Rose Jennings 1


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