Art Review

Inspiration, innovation and intense observation of the world.

New sculptures on campus

With each passing year, our artists seem to become ever more ambitious, creative and dynamic in the work they produce. This year was no different and there was a flourishing of sculpture.

In September a new series of three-dimensional works were installed on the campus. Florian Barratt digitally designed an abstracted portrait with complex software before welding the first of a series of steel sculptures which was installed on Jockey’s Platch. Sean Lee presented a series of diminishing steel cubes entitled 3.5011080978 m3; the name refers to the negative volume of the piece: the air minus the volume of the steel used. Lastly, a work by the Brazilian sculptor Túlio Pinto was loaned to the school. Delicately poised, half precarious, half geometric stability, this is now outside the Head’s house.

IB Art final exhibition

This sense of boldness was echoed in the exhibition of IB artists at the Oxo Bargehouse, our fourth and largest show to be staged there. The breadth of the students’ ingenuity was highlighted by work such as a series of playfully suspended sheets, whose crispness of form played against the rugged space. Video projections played with complex ideas and created sensitive, often moving imagery. Large plaster sculptures were handled with expressive freedom and wax was used as a sculptural material with particular sensitivity and subtlety. There were even sculptures made from neon lighting and electrical conduit tubes.

Printmaking

The department was fortunate enough to install a refurbished 1869 Ullmer Albion press. This now sits alongside our large Rochat etching press and has transformed our relief printing. Usually involving lino or wood block, this process is popular and expressive, and facilitates the production of strikingly powerful imagery. Flexible enough to allow simple, bold design, it also encourages experimentation with complex layering techniques that open boundless opportunities for the unexpected and innovative. It is particularly accessible to younger students, and a selection of their recent work is reproduced here.

Of course, alongside this innovation, drawing and ambitious painting remain the meat and drink of the department and its belief that all this inspiration and insight come from intense, often slow, observation of the world and immediate environment the students find themselves a part of.

Charley Openshaw

View some of our students' work.