Coventry University’s art and design final year students are holding their end-of-course shows across campus this week, with the chance for all to see what they’ve been working on.
The show opening is usually one of my Coventry are highlights of the year, but this year it felt quieter than usual, and the more muted tone – in the basement and top floor anyway – seemed to match the show.
Some years there are obvious stand outs, work by people I am sure I will be seeing more of again, and some I miss but who later turn up with future success. Last year among those exhibiting was Dale vn Marshall (though not under quite that name) who has since had a solo exhibition at the Herbert. Mircea Teleaga has exhibited at the Lewis Gallery in Rugby, has recently had a residency at the Pod and is going on to further study at the Slade. Lucy Hutchinson, James Birkin and Hannah Sutherland were picked for the New Art West Midlands exhibition in Birmingham, and the latter two are now exhibiting at a Coventry University graduate-led enterprise in the Bishop Gallery in Coventry. Jack Foster is also exhibiting with them and will have a show at the Lewis Gallery soon.
But this year at Coventry University overall it didn’t seem such a stand-out year, and it will be interesting to see whose work we see more of in the coming months and years.
Here though are some of the people who caught my eye, concentrating on the works in the basement and the top floor of the Graham Sutherland building, and photography, which is in the Lanchester Gallery – the illustration and graphic design floors in Graham Sutherland were too packed for me to take in much at the opening, perhaps showing where current interest lies.
In the basement, Foundation student Jessica Eburne’s Line, Shape and Colour work was made up of lots of coloured buttons, arranged with care and style to make it look like they’ve all escaped from paint cans, or swarmed down the wall.
Another Foundation student, Oliver Brookes, who is going on to study automotive design, has already shown a flare for transport. His work features four pogo sticks made into a frame and a film of four people bouncing around the city’s subways on them. They don’t get far – but the four fixed together skateboards go faster!
Mary Anna Fowler’s work is entitled I Am A Plasterer, and indeed she is, having created a wall, and then a door frame and picture frames with plaster. Her progression route is listed as ‘into employment’ – as a plasterer by any chance?
Charlotte Barnett’s Lost Personality features people made largely from bubblewrap and dark shadows on the floor are faintly sinister, and Rebecca Clarke’s Euphoria was entrancing – if that was Rebecca at the typewriter, rhythmically typing Hello endlessly on opening night I salute you!
On the top floor, Emilia Moniszko’s empty room full of noises was a pleasant place to rest a while, bombarded with sounds. I also liked Olivia Best’s colourful paintings full of rich, deep colours which she rightly feels you could get lost in.
Jade Saville’s detailed drawings of buildings in Coventry, printed and re-arranged or exposed on top of each other are interesting and skilled, and Nicola Shanley’s large paintings with a small house or tent the only objects in them also catch attention.
Jinge Zhao’s paintings show her grandmother’s flat in China, the domestic and the personal made important as a source of memory, loss and emotion, and they work well. Samuel Farmer’s paintings are very different but also good, showing the influence of George Shaw, though the titles could be less groan-inducing. Nothing Really Mattress shows a mattress dumped up against a graffiti-strewn wall, and Brick in the Wall is a study of an ugly wall with barbed wire on top.
In the Lanchester Gallery, I liked Joseph Kesisoglou’s photographs of clouds from above while in flight, and Heidi Culverwell’s study of Brandon Marsh and the people who love to visit.
The exhibitions are only on until Thursday – so go visit and decide who you want to be seeing more of in future years.