website instagram Blink and You’ll Miss It celebrates the achievements of our graduating students from the University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts BA (Hons) Fine Art Programme.
In the absence of a physical exhibition, this digital showcase provides an opportunity for our final year students to come together and show just some of their work produced under recent exceptional conditions.
Our graduating artists have curated an exciting and diverse exhibition. The interdisciplinary nature of our course constantly produces young artists who work confidently in multiple media and this year is no exception. Included here are installations of painting, print, sculpture, photography, performance, film and audio. The work featured in Blink and You’ll Miss It is a testament to each student’s innovative commitment to making and their awareness of current practices in the field. Expect to encounter a wide range of works, including those which focus on animal/human relationships, contemporary culture, the uncanny, globalisation, science fiction and – of course – the global pandemic and its possible effects on our political climate.
Despite working under the most challenging conditions our artists surprise and impress with the range, ambition and quality of their work.
Jane Topping Programme Leader BA (Hons) Fine Art
The main interests of the practice are myth and magic- the projects I have worked on are based on these topics for the main part. Working in a variety of media to explore these topics, ranging from mixed media, painting, collage, dry-point and clay, I find this is a more interesting way to work than staying with the same media.
The focus of my work at the moment is based on the mask and how it is used as a form of protection. The media I am using for my current project is mainly cardboard with other materials used to finish the work and develop it further. Cardboard is an interesting materials to use as it comes in a variety of strengths and constructions.
‘Posthumanism, I want to suggest, needs theory, needs theorizing, needs above all to reconsider the untimely celebration of the absolute end of ‘man’. (Badmington, N, 2003)
‘Hiraeth’ (a longing for something that is slowly forgotten) explores folklore in relation to the Welsh language and the Mabinogion Tales whilst questioning the importance of Welsh culture in a Posthuman context. Insinuating the loss of culture and folk narrative, Blackwell’s looped and disrupted film acts as a memoir of language, sacrifice and longing formed as a technological plea to remember the importance of culture. Blackwell’s work creates a hybridity of human and starling to suggest a miscommunication between body, mind and past language.
Through the medium of film, I have explored the emotions and actions I personally experienced throughout my final year of university. The work looks specifically at the period time that I was working on my dissertation and incorporated specific texts relevant to that piece of writing as well as personal images from the time. The audio plays a very important role as it gradually speeds up to display a hectic and overwhelming feeling which is key to the concept.
This project is about taxidermy and how this art form can be unrealistic and/or unrepresentative of the polar bear species. The aim of the project was to represent the other side of the polar bear that taxidermists have not.Inspired by Mark Dion, the central taxidermy polar bear made from cardboard and faux fur sat upon a hamster cage to show how they are relocated to captivity, there is also a clay model inside the cage to allow the audience to understand how this piece shows both a free polar bear and an encaged polar bear. I have also tried to bring some humour into this project by finding aggressive taxidermy polar bears and drawing them carrying out a hobby, ie baking, knitting, etc as I feel that an audience would relate to the polar bear more and understand that taxidermists have portrayed them wrongly for a significant period.
My work responds to the unstable character of the contemporary image, using techniques adapted from painting and collage, and through mixing so-called ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Drawing from sources which include internet memes, advertising and art history, I generate counter-images which are redistributed through the social network. Through this practice I aim to examine and critique the ways in which images are produced and circulated both on and off-line.
'State Propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect'. Chomsky, N. (2002) Media Control: The Spectactular Achievements of Propaganda [2nd ed] USA: Seven Stories Press (p13)
My work critiques the techniques used by the ruling classes to manufacture consent within the population, influenced by the theories of Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, and Noam Chomsky. By using Bertolt Brecht’s Verfremdung, or de-alienation, effects, I satirise contemporary events, aiming to expose the true narrative behind economic and political statements, transforming things as they are into things as they really are. Using a combination of digital works and physical objects, my work appropriates the language of the ruling classes in order to denaturalise the viewer from the propaganda that we are surrounded by in everyday life, challenging our role as producers of profit and power for the hegemon.
In his essay The Internet is a Cat Video Library Ander Monson wrote:
'It’s the least immersive interaction you can have with a cat. Like nostalgia or consuming porn, it’s not an interaction at all, but a kind of loop: it plugs you back into your own predictable desire'.
This quote fortifies my artistic practice where the work playfully investigates the internet cat phenomenon. Highlighting the obsessive traits of cat owners and our instinctive capabilities to anthropomorphise our pets as a way of relating to them. The work does this by employing classic cartoon aesthetics with oversized props and emphasised colour. Thoughtfully paired with Benny Hill sketch influences to create a foreshadowing of the frenetic humanisation and commodification of the domesticated cat.
'There isn't much…but…enough for there to be a top and a bottom'. (Perec, 1974)
My work proposes two different living environments – one at ground level, and the other underground. It has been built through the concepts of world building and Simon O'Sullivan's fictioning. These concepts have been the foundation for the work, to question what elements humanity would think of as the most important, as a means to rebuild the world we are currently living in. After multiple works following the concepts of world building and fictioning, this piece For a People Yet to Come (2020) focuses on the consequences of a damaged plant, and how this mundane occurrence can have a fatal effect on the people of this built world.
My artist practice emerges from interlacing personal memories and dreams.It reflects a mystical and vulnerable uncertainty of existence through an invocation of decline; especially the melancholy and mystery of childhood and its fated wreckage, similarly invoked by Colette Peignot; “I do not feel I have the right to end with anything but a childhood memory, one among many, that seems to me to sum up for me the notion of the sacred.” My influences are gathered from a literary source, especially from authors like Arthur Rimbaud, Laure (Collete Peignot), Charles Baudelaire, Mary Szybist, Vladimir Nabokov, Georges Bataille, Antonin Artaud and Sarah Kane.
My work features a series of videos that highlight the consumption of image with regards to the objectification of women in media. Humour is added to the videos using winks, camera angles, facial expressions and hand movements with sexual connotations,outlined in Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975) text. Excerpts from the sex discrimination act are narrated to provide contrast between the humour in the videos and the seriousness of the document, therefore the sexualisation of women becomes even more absurd. The cooking videos demonstrate that the consumption of image has become as easy as the consumption of food, as well as representing the stereotypical role of a woman in the home. The sex discrimination act includes extracts that are truly absurd to me, such as the fact that “being a man” qualifies as a genuine occupational qualification. I aimed to emphasize these issues in my videos.
I find it interesting how photos can hold so many memories that evoke thoughts and emotions from a single image.
I make textile art that convey narratives of Family and memories.I use embroidery and applique to create illustrative timelines that narrates my family’s story using photos and memories. I use textile because of the traditions of textiles within families, women passing down the skill for generations.
I use my work as a therapeutic way to understand why things happened and where I fit into my family. My work is a contrast of the ‘Nuclear Family’ this idealistic image of two parents and their children all under one roof.My work tells the history of my family from marriage, children, and divorce. My work is primarily for me and my family, I find I can connect and understand them through my art.
Can time and narrative ever be truly separated? We comprehend time through change – in the complete absence of events we would not be able to recognise that time was passing. It could be said that the mere existence of a past, present and future creates narrative out of sequential events. The progression of events works with our desire for order so that narrative is the inevitable result.
In my work I explore the relationship between time, narrative and the spectator using the medium of film. In Victor the audio narrative is disrupted, giving tantalising clues about the nature of the story whilst drawing on the philosophies of Bergson and Deleuze to create an experience imbued with time.In Chronovisor, the philosophy of eternalism is invoked, by asking what would result if all of time coexisted equally, without hierarchy. Would narrative still exist?
Imagining a world where humans and technology emerged to form a new organism, this installation investigates the interpretations of the human body in relation to the posthuman social context. Hodgepodge (2020) is an exploration of sound and mixed media sculpture, creating a representative of a collective hybrid. This interactive installation consists of light motion sensors and audio that the audience can move around with, allowing the viewers to be part of the piece. Almost as if Hodgepodge is introducing them to the new hybrids. The work aims to create an environment that offers an opportunity for people to experience and accept changes and new ideas in society and in the art world.
The research carried out in my art projects tend to be interpretations of the human body; its aesthetic, its function and how it is observed in a social context. My investigations within this area are presented through mixed materials of sculpture and sound.
I am Scottish Artist, and a recent graduate from the University of Cumbria, studying Fine Art.I was awarded the artist in resident position, and the opportunity with the British Council Fellowship to work at the Venice Biennale 2019. My practice is in the medium of performance art, which I use to explore an alien sex utopia to playfully challenge the concepts of gender and sexuality. The genderless utopia created is designed within a bright and pastel aesthetic that contrasts the aggressive, patriarchal and heteronormative view of sex that is portrayed through porn and the media. My practice aims to challenge societal norms of sex, gender, borders and children’s knowledge of identity. To explore the themes of borders and binaries, the performances often begin before the audience arrive to enhance the reality of the characters in their environment.
‘Too often the work of a creator is looked upon as a series of isolated testimonies. A profound thought is in a constant state of becoming; it adopts the experience of a life and assumes its shape’. (Camus: 1955: 92) It is my intention to consider performance art through the lens of existential philosophy. Detailed primarily in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, the act of creation, or ‘absurd creation’, does not strive to solve the inherent absurdity of the world; rather, it is concerned merely with its description.Consequently, my actions, more akin to physical allusions than conventional performances, work to organize human experience and cognition. I assume multiple forms, simultaneously strange and familiar, that I carry throughout. Thus, sacrificing all to appearance, I commit myself and become myself through the work, asserting my own perspective on the worldand changing nothing of my circumstances.
Graduate Residency Award Winner 2019-20 instagram
My practice focuses on issues of waste and over-use/production of natural resources. Establishing waste, pollution and exploitation of land through research of climate change.
In a complex conflation of ‘every-day’ material with the vocabularies of painting, my work offers a counter-conventional approach to the traditions of art-making, assembling objects into non-human figures to accompany painting.
My research into the theory of Deep Time and the proximity of West Cumbrian communities to the nuclear industry continues to underpin my practice. Consequently, my ‘paintings’ propose an interface between industrial waste and the gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism.