undergraduate degree show, university of chichester 2014

As usual the preview evening was exceptionally well attended; bustling, lively, noisy – a time for catching up with people more than looking at the work. However, we returned on Sunday to spend a leisurely couple of hours at the show, and there is so much work this year that I will try to find time to go back for another look.

A strong show this year, notable for the amount of 2D work (not all painting) and the relative lack of textile or video work. Having said that I thought that the confessional video work from Natasha Stringer was incredibly powerful – quite traumatic to watch, especially for anyone who can relate to any of the content (to the extent that I think she should have posted a warning that the work contained potentially triggering material). A brave and moving work.

Another brave autobiographical work was the series of photographs from Elliott Way, exploring his journey as a transgender man. Sensitive, beautiful and thought provoking.

As a fan of Julia Kristeva, I was interested in Lexy Steel’s big bold canvases exploring the abject. Definitely uncomfortable!

I was surprisingly drawn to Molly Turner’s work, a mixed exhibition of wire sculpture and painting/ print. She mentions that she is influenced by Barbara Licha who I had never heard of. After finding her website I can see very clearly the connection – I wondered how Molly had come across this Polish-Australian artist.

As usual there are contrasts between strong, provocative, challenging artworks, and artworks that are just aesthetically pleasing. I often think that the two are almost mutually exclusive, and if choosing work for one’s own home one would want a mixture of the two. It’s a bit like reading – sometimes I want to be challenged with great contemporary fiction, and at other times I want some comfortable Scandi noir (if that’s not a contradiction in terms!)

The final thing that impressed me this year was the quality of the artists’ statements. I thought that overall they showed a high level of reflection on practice, and were articulately written.

Big congratulations to all the new graduates and to the fine art team at Chichester.