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One year on from my own graduation I returned to Loughborough University’s Finals Show this weekend to see the culmination of 3 years work by the class of 2014 – where did that year go? Walking around those familiar studios it was great to see a wide variety of mediums and subject matter on show – a great advert for the range of opportunities the university has to offer. This diversity, ranging from abstract and figurative painting, photography, print-making, video work, sculpture, sound and installation plus a number of works in between, meant there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Sixty seven students are participating in the exhibition and below is a selection of works that caught my eye for one reason or another, but this is by no means an exhaustive list!

Chloe Allen’s work ‘Just South of Heaven’ is a series of mixed media pieces that focus on the nature of volcanic activity – the delicate nature of the work and the marks juxtaposing the violence of the eruption, the hardening magma, with the ephemerality of the ash clouds. It was the colours and marks, along with the delicacy of the work that drew me to it –

Chloe Allen - Just South of Heaven

as was the case with Alberta Pessao’s mixed media work in the Liminal Group exhibition. I liked the way that she had utilised the discarded oil paints of other students to make a whole micro-world of insects; the oil and turpentine fusing together to create the most wonderful organic shapes.

Alberta Pessao BichosArtists’ Victoria Margeson, and SoMin Kim have created art from the mundane. The shirts that Victoria wears to paint in have provided the subject for her work; her simple yet elegant drawings, with their crisp lines and soft marks capture the essence of the fabric whilst her obvious passion for the medium shines through in her oil paintings.

Victoria MargesonSoMin Kim’s work caught my eye because her use of cable ties to produce delicate sculptures reminded me of the conker installation my group produced in our very first weeks at university. The obsessive nature and intensity of labour required to produce the work brought all the memories flooding back – I think I got RSI from drilling all those holes in the conkers! It’s not the first time I have seen cable ties used in art and I’m sure it won’t be the last – they do connect to create delicate and fluid forms!

SoMin Kim

Also utilising material for a very different purpose to that which it is intended, and portraying how beautiful it can be is Hannah Bollard. Sculptural forms of dried glue drips doesn’t sound like everyone’s idea of Fine Art, but the black glue does provide the most elegant of marks – 3D drawing almost. Hannah’s work challenges us to look beyond the everyday – to see art in the most unlikely of places – to open our eyes.

Hannah BollardOf all the painters’ on show it was Sarah Wilson’s work that really caught my eye. Her ‘enquiry into the physicality and material possibilities of painting’ has produced the most wonderful abstract works; the marks and the colours hold your gaze and everytime I returned to look at them I saw something new – glorious!

Sarah WilsonI had to include Michelle Onwurah’s work if only because it was a site-specific installation using…threads! Obviously a totally different concept lies behind this work – think nightmares and dark places – the work provides the viewer with the physical embodiment of such ‘dreams’. Difficult to negotiate, the angles create dark masses of thread that threaten to trap you in this netherworld.

Michelle OnwurahLeah Downing’s work combines science and art, and highlights our misconceptions regarding space and the cosmos. Inspired by the images form the Hubble telescope Leah uses photography, chemical reactions and manipulation to create landscapes – beautiful, romantic – yet false. The colours are amazing and the ethereal quality of the landscapes are beautiful – again, they are works that you can stand in front of for ages and see something new everytime.

Leah DowningThere was the inevitable, but nonetheless interesting work commenting on the digital age. Mark Cleary focusses on the image-saturated world we now live in and how it can be manipulated to miscommunicate events whilst James Poyser’s work comments on the ‘digital generation’ and how they communicate through the use of social media. Being a member of the pre-social media era, it does sadden me to see people sat at the same tables, focussed solely on their phones, i-pads, etc. Interesting, thought-provoking work.

Other work that caught my eye was Katherine Loudoun’s photographs and prints, Abigail Harris’s mesmerising video and Vanessa Lewis Jones’s Lines of Sight with its crisp, clean black and white imagery.

There was the almost now obligatory work commenting on the art education system. Mike Jones’s work did make me give a wry smile, remembering all the aims and objectives, boxes to tick…

As I said at the outset, these are only a few of the works that caught my eye – there were others, but that could be another post. I’ve tried to include as many links to the artists’ work as possible but failing that pop along and have a look – Pulp is open until 15th June (10am-5pm)..

All in all a great show – congratulation class of 2014 you’ve done it!

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