Fine Art and Design Professional Practice
11th January- 16th February 2013
Open Monday – Friday 9.30am-8.30pm
Saturday 9.30am-3.30pm (term time only)
Coreen Bernard, Melissa Caplan, Alexandro Carboni, Felicity Field, Lucia Fletcher, Orla Flood, Clifford Gabb, Jane Musgrove,
Maggie Pettigrew, Bekki Perriman, Rita P Smith.
Working Men’s College, Ruskin Gallery are proud to present the work of students on Fine Art Foundation Degree in their second year. Inversions, absences, shadows, repetitions, domestic life and an inside out way of looking, are all conjured in this thoughtful and carefully realised collection of works.Orla Flood Jane Musgrove
Bekki Perriman’s Curtains of multi coloured elastic bands make a drawing in space, a little forest of raindrops beside a house of cream and green kitchen sponges from Alessandro Carboni, set against a landscape pencil drawing, documenting in little bubbles, the days in dates, the artist, Jane Musgrove, has lived. Intricate paper cuts, into books of socio political texts construct sculptural forms that sprawl out of the spines and pages, over a plinth and glass cabinet shelves, from Orla Flood, recalling Micheal Landy’s infamous installation critiquing consumer capitalism. While white inflated, surgical gloves, cascade from an adjacent wall, like menacing hands or doves of white plastic, in Melissa Caplan’s sculptural painting.
Nearby a cabinet of apparent archaeological, extracted natural material, made by Clifford Gabb, charts layers of time and a rust support says decay is vital and essential to this. Felicity Field’s inside out hot water bottle with red velvet and hanging bicycle wheel, over the stairs, echo the gestures of inverting and exposing to see better what lies beneath, inside and forgotten.
Amongst the wall based grids of screen and photo work are Rita Smiths daily documentation of an identical vista in melancholy November, from the window of a soon to be departed and ‘downsized’, family home. The light changes over the days, speaking quietly of the layers of memory and passing of time. Immortalizing a moment and slowing down time. A protest against forgetting, This is a theme in several of the works here, but Jane speaks of poignantly, describing her own work:
I thought about the passing of time, our subjective view of our lives, and how we can feel that we are merely existing when we fail to appreciate and value ourselves. I began with a calculation of how many days I have lived 18.781 back in August 2012. I decided to make a mark for every day to represent an inhabitation of time. My aim was to reach the present but I felt I would not achieve this number of marks on the paper. I did, and there are marks left over which will be filled. Of course there cannot be an end, until I have lived my final day, so this work could go on and on although this piece will appear finished….This work has taken over four months to complete, working an hour or two at a time and being completely absorbed. During this time, I have felt completely focused and alive, living my days and working with a connection and meaning that I do not normally experience. Time working on this has been much more than an existence; I am much more than I think I am and perhaps we can all relate to this in some way or other.
Coreen Bernard’s Obama faces overlaid with swastikas are reminiscent of Warhol‘s photo silk screen prints and chart a moment in history and politics, in a repetitious fashion, that reminds us that history, like art, does repeat itself, even if it looks different. She says: this piece reflects and queries the current political headlines of President Obama’s re-election in the USA. It highlights the radicalism of racial ideologies that have existed and still exist in the US; the apparent opposition to change that has been brought about with the election of America’s first ever African-American president, and the cultural collisions that have coincided with this.
Lucia fletcher’s graphic forms depict and reproduce movement and space in a carefully choreographed set of images, where a typesetting-like application, plays back a word as an uninterrupted dance sequence, where the dancer’s body temporarily makes positions recognizable as letters. Maggie Pettigrew’s installations, of family members, and another of conversations on the street, documents and records bereavement in a shrine and in the other draws attention to language as witness to being. Both make reference to sculptural space but also a personal, participant observer’s view on life outside, around her and in her own history.
This experience of echos of internal states in shared spaces is something Bekki relates in her work, Reflections – Ten days on the street. (Not shown here but in a previous show and which I think may be a, precursor to her elastic band piece):
Puddles interest me as a reflection of another upside down world and the beauty in the mirrored images that is so easy to walk past. I spent a day re-tracing the steps of the time I slept rough on the streets of Central London and photographed puddles in some of the places I used to sleep. I was thinking about the transitory nature of homelessness, how invisible you can feel and that while most people are sleeping inside their homes you are out on the streets, yet the next day there is barely a trace of your existence and no one really knows you have slept there. I chose ten places as a picture of ten days on the streets. These are all real places I used to sleep and each of these places holds memories for me. I wanted to use the puddle photographs as way of capturing a moment in time, making permanent something that will be dried up and invisible after a few hours of sunshine. I turned the puddle photographs into postcards. At first glance they could be read as a paradoxical take on postcards of popular tourist destinations in London and the fact it is always raining. When you turn them over I have written “Where I slept last night” a simple statement to make people think about homelessness.
Bekki’s elastic bands like raindrops would be absorbed by Alessandro’s sponge house, and in these works, whether something stands where there was nothing, or real becomes a story, all the artists here explore the process of signification. The ability and desire we all have to transform experience and things to mean something and communicate for us.
This course is led by Pernille Holm Mercer. She says: I have dedicated a large part of my professional life to teaching art and design in Higher and Adult Education. The interrelation between academic research and studio practice has been a central and constant concern. I have a joint BA Honours degree from Goldsmiths College in Art and Art History, a theory-based MA in Visual Culture from Middlesex University as well as a practice-based MA in Printmaking from Wimbledon School of Art. Finally, I have a Ph.D. in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College. My academic research has covered feminist theory, British object-relations, and French philosophical discourse in relation to contemporary art. My practice-based work engages with notions of play, process, and intersubjective relations. I use a variety of media, including drawing, printmaking, photography, ‘sculptural’ objects, and video.
The Art and Design Professional Practice Foundation degree is validated by Middlesex University. You can graduate after two years with an FdA and go into the work place, or apply to top up your FdA to BA Hons at this University or on other degree course nationally.
Esther Windsor. WMC Curator