Doing What We Do…… In the Chapel

No I’m not going religious on you. The  Fine Art MA  students (year 1 and year 2) at University of Gloucestershire  have put together a fascinating show of their current work which will be on show from this Wednesday until Friday 8th April during college opening hours.

Apologies for lack of quality of photographs- camera on phone is playing up….

I was lucky enough to be there today while the show was being hung. It is such an enjoyable experience, no, more like Schadenfreude, watching others going through the torture of the hang. You decide something looks good in one position, then another piece completely changes the dialogue between them, or the light changes and you realise it doesn’t really look right there. And on top of that we are not talking about the standard white box but the height of gothic revival, patterned floor, wood panels, carvings and stained glass that jostles with art still clammy with oil paint and smelling of printers’ ink.

Unfortunately I was not able to grill everyone about the titles of their works, so this brief review and description will have to be read in conjunction with your visit to the show, which I would highly recommend. Some of the work is for sale, and I am sure the artists are awaiting your commissions!

I was particularly taken with Deb Catesby’s small perfectly formed oil paintings that were set off so well in their placing against the wooden panelled walls. I had seen a couple of them in their early stages of development so it was interesting to see how they had emerged from the wrestle of paint and wipe back, brush and palette knife.





David Ingleton’s  the agony and the ecstasy, (were they fuzzy felt letters, I wondered?) was challenging and stunning hung high up above us while Sue Cridland’s blackboard and chalk ephemeral piece felt supercharged on the altar.




Janet Lamb’s bottle of vitriol, otherwise known as iron gall ink- made from iron salts and oak galls- which has corrosive qualities, silently and balefully glowers on its pedestal. I was drawn irresistibly to it without even knowing what was inside until I spoke to her about it.



Sue Edwards spent some time telling me about her piece based on one of her countless collection of photographs – this of stone carvings in Honduras. The finished piece, although one can see the links, has really abstracted and explored and taken her on a journey into new artistic territory for her. Surely that’s exactly what the MA should be about.


Do not be deceived by the row of what look like chapel prayer books on the altar rail. Alice Monaghan’s zine, for want of a better word, is well worth careful examination. Witty, a commentary on religion, and full of dramatic imagery, and for me, also painfully referring to the US reports on extraordinary rendition as used by Jenny Holzer in her recent exhibition at Hauser & Worth in Somerset. I would have loved to have taken one of them home with me for my artists books/zine collection….



Cascading over the balcony, Carolyn Morris’s piece, literally pieced together collaged photographs, drawings and cut outs sets up a conversation with Dani Sangway’s woven piece which I would love to know more about.  And then we have Rui Iris Sun and Dawn Harris participating – Dawn’s installation piece which I envisage she would like to be spread throughout the West of England/ Midlands if we take her postcards and Rui’s abstract painting casually seated on a chair by the piano, as if waiting for someone to play the introduction to a solo, and other photographic images, by Sophie Starkey were in the process of being hung as I finished my wanderings and tea swigging. (one of the great things about exhibiting here is that the little kitchenette attached to the chapel is available for constant mugs of tea. A perfect arrangement.)


I can’t resist adding these two photographs of the tutors- both with angelic qualities for which I blame the sunlight streaming in….. they probably won’t forgive me, but this is what getting an exhibition together is all about…..




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