This year, PCA Fine Art students put on an exhibition in Regent Street as part of the Plymouth Art Weekender. Although the number of students able to take part was limited and space available for showing was restricted, the show contained a great variety of work. Over two and a half days there were almost 200 visitors including former students, friends, school kids, and representatives from the Exeter Phoenix, Spacex, KARST, and PCA galleries.
The exhibition was curated and organised by Vesislava Zheleva, and the brief was broad: Material should reflect another side of student work away from the studio, or aim to provide an insight to the influence of Fine Art study on student practice.
The following is a taste of the work which was shown:
For the Things We See Now Will Soon Be Gone – Sasha Reeve
Visitors entering the exhibition immediately encountered a moving set of photographs by Sasha Reeve of her parents, united in the face of serious health issues.
Alongside, there were some beautifully detailed drawings of facial elements by Grace Wagstaff.
Everything is Alright – Grace Wagstaff
On the other side of the foyer, an e-book by Vesislava Zheleva showed appropriated and transliterated short texts in Bulgarian.
Gurgurat – Vesislava Zheleva
In the centre of the room Angela Hilton hung used contact lenses in an extraordinary string from ceiling to floor, and mounted a single pair of lenses on etymological pins at eye level.
I’ve Measured Out My Life in Coffee Spoons (detail) – Angela Hilton
In the corridor there were manipulated photographs by Vesi and a triptych of photos of her mother looking beatific, with haloes applied by hand.
Panoramic Images Gone Wrong Purposely #1 Mum – Vesislava Zheleva
In the triangle room there were monochrome commissioned pictures of celebrities painted by Bethany Smiles along one side; and in the centre of the room, resplendent on its plinth, was my stuffed rat with heterochromatic eyes – a tribute to David Bowie.
Icons – Bethany Smiles Fame – Steve Brown
Along the other sides of the room were two pictures by Rebecca Williams reflecting fluctuating moods of optimism, anxiety and depression: Rückkehrunruhe and Altschmerz.
Rückkehrunruhe – Rebecca Williams
Also in this room, in a departure from her usual performance practice, Louise Riou-Djukic showed vintage photographic negatives, photographs and other artefacts.
Après Vous – Louise Riou-Djukic
In the studio corridor, political posters which I completed this summer were contrasted with other posters created four years earlier.
New World Order – Steve Brown
The exhibition finally peaked with Sam Turner’s ‘roller coaster’ construction, which was made from found containers and zip ties, and completely filled the final room.
Form of a Cyclical Construct – Sam Turner
Thanks are due to all the contributors; to Martin France for his invaluable support; and most of all to Vesi for all her hard work organising and publicising the show. It was a fun and valuable experience …
A PDF of the exhibition catalogue, which explains the thinking behind the pieces, can be accessed here. Vesi’s photographs and more text, by Grace Wagstaff and myself, can be accessed on the College of Art blog page here.