7.6.09

Degree show


Bed piece
Originally uploaded by fred pipes
The May Open Houses in Brighton may be the biggest free art festival in town, but for huge quantities of free art, craft and design in one location, the annual Degree Show at Brighton Uni can't be beat. But tirst thing that strikes you arriving at Grand Parade is that Victoria Gardens opposite has become a forest of potted trees (how long before they start appearing for sale at the Sunday Market, I wonder?). It's a project by architecture student Lucy Palmer to find new uses for the Valley Gardens, part of SEEDA's Places from Spaces programme.

The way to get ahead at art school is to confound categorisation. Thus, you'll find installations in Fine Art Printmaking (Shiho Takizawa), sculpture in Fine Art painting (Daisy Jordan and Lily MacClelland), photography in Sculpture (Wix O'Connell) and an Ingrid Plum-style assembly of paper origami birds in Editorial Photography (Harriet Harmer). So, take no notice of which Department you think you're in and just enjoy the work!

As usual I travelled to the top of the building by lift and worked my way down. First stop was Graphic Design and I was impressed by Kyle Bean's disposable cardboard computers and other electronic devices. In Illustration I was encouraged by the amount of pen and ink drawing this year, particularly Emily Maude's illustrations to her journey through Sussex 'From Alfriston to Wilmington'. There was also a lot of paper cutting, Rob Ryan style, in both the Illiustration and Printmaking depts. Critical Fine Art practice is a bit of a weird one and leaves me cold most years, but this we had Esther Springett's 'The Myth of London Road', something I've already participated in, and my favourite of the show, 'Bed Piece' - a tribute to John and Yoko by The Thomas Ferguson Band. Anything involving the Beatles and ukuleles is fine by me. I went through Painting like a dose of salts - nothing much took my fancy, and Sculpture, which often has the most interesting stuff (and best postcards) was a mess. It was difficult to see where one piece ended and another started. Far better presentation is to be found in 3D Materials practice (Wood, metal, ceramics and plastics) full of beautiful soutions to problems you never imagined existed! Ever wanted to grow vegetables in your car? Rebecca Thewlis's 'Car fuel' is the answer. Want a cupboard that expands with your possessions? Marina Ralph has a sycamore and latex cabinet that's just the job.

Photography has the prime spot in the glass fronted downstairs gallery but failed to impress me. I didn't have time to explore Architecture or Fashion. Anyway, give it a go and make up your own mind - I'm rubbish at spotting the stars of the future! The University of Brighton Undergraduate Degree Show is on until Thursday 11 June.

Postscript: not part of the Degree Show but also on is the 1st year sculpture show in the old Music /Local Studies library on Church Road. Far more interesting that the thrird year's show at Grand Parade, and you get to see the inside of this impressive old building that has been empty for so long.

Sculpture
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