As spring turns into summer, university courses begin to draw to a close and exhibition season takes over. We're celebrating this exciting time of year by profiling Degree Shows from across the country on the Cass Art blog; speaking with artists and students to offer a sneak-peak behind the doors of the UK's art schools.
This time around, we're focusing on Kensington & Chelsea College, where 9 BA Fine Art students are currently busy preparing for their upcoming show, which opens on 23rd June 2016. The show predominantly centres around surface-based artwork, with 8 of the students' works being either oil or acrylic paintings, which will by offset by a single video artist. Recurrent themes across the group include abstraction and the female nude.
We picked the brains of one the graduating artists, Stuart Ridley, and took a closer look at some of his exciting contemporary paintings, 20 of which will be on show at the exhibition.
Stuart Ridley - Crucifixion - 2016 - oil on canvas - 24 x 20"
Stuart has been painting for over twenty years, but has managed to maintain a fresh and unique aesthetic in his work. A regular church-goer, he draws influence from his faith, and has created several paintings with religious narratives for the show, including a contemporary re-imagining of the last supper. He tells us that the painting Crucifixion, seeks to visualise Jesus' soul leaving his dying body and ascending to heaven. The striking colours and textural surface of the work should appeal even to those who do not follow the same faith.
Stuart Ridley - One Hour Painting (WR) - oil on canvas - 2016 - 24 x 20"
A series of Stuart's One Hour Paintings will also be on show, demonstrating an exciting foray into the challenge of speed painting. The quick motion of the brush-strokes is visible within the pieces, and truly captures the speed in which they were made. He introduces ambiguous elements to his work, and the inclusion of monetary figures within the piece One Hour Painting (WR), forces the viewer to question the work's meaning and impose their own narrative upon it.
Stuart Ridley - Portrait (SN 22) - oil on canvas - 2016 - 24 x 20"
Similarly to other members of his graduating class, Stuart has explored the female nude within his Degree Show work. His desire was to create a barrier between himself and the life model, and through the use of abstraction, free brush-strokes and blurred lines, he creates work with a no-man, or every-man, quality. The work is a reflection on the ageing process, and the reality that no person can remain young forever.
Rosemarie Tewarie (L) Untitled - acrylic on canvas - 48 x 44 x 1.5" (R) Untitled - acrylic & pastel on linen - 36 x 32 x 2"
Visit the BA Fine Art Degree Show at Kensington & Chelsea College- Top Floor, Carlyle Building, SW10 ORB- from the 23rd - 30th June 2016.
Take a look at more of Stuart's work here.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to see your own university Degree Show featured in #DegreeShowSpotlight 2016.