Fine Art graduates work with Nottingham gallery One Thoresby Street on a digital project and exhibition
The exhibition ‘Interstitia: A Cyber Mutliverse’ allowed the graduates to adapt their work to a digital format
A group of five BA (Hons) Fine Art graduates from the class of 2020 took part in a graduate project and exhibition with Nottingham gallery One Thorseby Street. Interstitia tasked the artists with adapting their practices in response to lockdown and COVID-19.
Over a period of four months graduates Ant Clee, Becky Greensides, Jenna Harris, Alex Lennox-Warburton and Lina Vourlou developed new works that situate their existing practices within the frame of possibility presented by the use of the web. Throughout the project the artists were encouraged to take some of their first steps into coding and web development, equipping them with new transferable skills for future work or projects.
We spoke to One Thorseby Street Studio Manager and NTU School of Art & Design alumnus Adam Grainger about the project: “As an NTU alumnus myself (2018) it’s been really encouraging to see such talent continue to flourish from within the course. The graduates have shown admirable self-motivation throughout the duration of the project, something that is visible in their work, which feels like it has developed substantially over quite a short period of time. They approached the challenge of adapting their work to a digital format head on, learning to develop the pages which house their artwork with guidance from artist, designer and One Thoresby Street resident Matt Woodham.”
“They have been generous both individually and collectively, engaging in a range of group discussions with each other, as well as one to one tutorials with mentors from the community at One Thoresby Street. These mentors all spoke highly of their encounters with the artists, their ideas and the work they’ve been creating.”
“I genuinely look forward to seeing how these early career artists continue to develop, and I’m confident we’ll see similarly talented individuals continue to emerge from the course in the coming years, who I also look forward to working with!”
One of the graduates and artists Becky Greensides told us: "I loved coming together with other artists, during such a difficult time and being able to help each other out, as well as having brilliant mentors! Its been amazing talking to artists who are doing great in their field and learning lots of new skills. Changing my work into making a website was a challenge as learning code was very difficult as I am very much a material based artist, however it was an amazing experience allowing me to overcome challenges which was really useful. I loved being at NTU, the studios, the tutors and my peers and being there definitely gave me the confidence and skills to achieve this project! "
Fine Art graduate Alex Lennox-Warbuton commented: "This project was a great opportunity to return to work I had been making before the pandemic exploring queer bodies and renaissance imagery. The work I produced for this exhibition, Divinum Enim Esse, allowed me to expand upon the ideas and visuals I had been working on by developing mythologies to exist in this virtual utopia."
"Covid restrictions encouraged me to rethink how to execute this as I wanted to include more people and body types and led me to connect to people through the internet to collaborate with on the project. This became one of the best parts of the project for me. It gave me the opportunity to work with some amazing artists that I've not physically met without any limitations with regards to location. I reached out over Instagram and Zoom to discuss what I was looking for with the project and each person really went all out for the shoots they sent me which was so fun to edit with."
Lina Vourlou commented on what she had enjoyed about the process: "I loved having the opportunity to learn new software and skills that helped me develop my work, along with learning so much about coding which I had barely known anything about beforehand. The talks from the mentors were incredible, inspiring and so so useful. I also loved being able to work alongside some of my peers from uni again, especially seen as how our final year ended. I learned so much from being part of this project and from all the mentors about how to adapt as an artist to the current state of the world."
Matt Woodham developed the website for the exhibition and also helped the graduates to develop their web coding skills. He told us: "I decided to drop the graduates somewhat in the deep end by asking them to create a website from scratch, to encourage the most amount of learning during the programme. I was incredibly impressed by the graduates' response to the challenge and encouraged by how much progress they made in a short space of time. I often say that the best way to learn a new skill is to find a project you’re passionate about, then find any way of making it happen - the graduates definitely achieved this!"
"It was also exciting to see how the different practices translated to the web and how the artist’s style was represented in the code and sites they produced. I hope that going forward, these artists can realise many more of the myriad ways the web can be used as a medium to express or display future pieces. Digital skills are of course very important, and especially for artists who make a living from their work - as they need to manage their own marketing, branding and online presence alongside making their work."