Foreword by Gary Simmonds
The Fine Art graduating cohort of 2020 is a year that we will never forget. Not just for such an extra-ordinary year of Corona, but for a group of students that proved to be so adaptable, fleet of foot and resilient.
The breadth and range of practice from the ‘class’ of 2020 tells the story of a group of individuals, who use Fine Art as means to explore their current relationship with the world.
On reflection the ‘young artists’ graduating from 2020, made work that pushed out beyond the white cubed confines of a traditional degree show.
Work produced articulates personal responses that reflect what is to be, now.
Responses, methods of working and outcomes from this cohort, range from small scale intimate evocations of architectural/ psychological spaces, through painting and collage, to large installations that explore the personal story of others looking for sanctuary. Wallpaper, a decorative and domestic form of aesthetic pleasure and design is used as means to question a relationship to cultural values and as way to explore ideas of heritage. Systems of ecology, are utilised as a means to look again at a process of production and consumption, alongside their heightened, colour and value. Painting on canvas and ceramics are used as a means to narrate personal narratives, and ask questions of it the medium and of the identity of the artist. Art is also explored as a means to engage others, to celebrate form and colour and value interaction, through physical touch and also to see how social media can be used as means to connect with others.
The spoken word is used and captured in podcasts of live performances, which demonstrate courage, power and sensitivity that resonate beyond the white walls of a gallery space.
Work was made using nature as a tool, where the elements become part of the process and the outcome of the work, providing echoes and traces of the environment to inflect the work made.
It will always be a year that sits in our memory as a shared experience, including, sadly the loss of one of the ‘graduating students’ who, in their time on the course, produced some fine portraits, many of friends and idols.
This is a snapshot and a memory of work made by the ‘Class’ of 2020. A graduating cohort that should be proud of their ability to embrace change and with the overall result of producing a collective body of work that will continue to resonate beyond this remarkable year.
Gary Simmonds is Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, BA Fine Art