Student Spotlight: Kingston Fine Art

by Cass Art

Bacardi bottles, iPhone forgery, gaming simulations, glitter extravaganzas and a canvas guitar. These are just some of the many highlights on display now at Kingston University at the Fine Art Degree Show, open to the public until Friday 6th June. Although the show is situated in the ‘sleepy’ suburbia of Zone 6, this hasn’t made the artwork any less energetic, powerful, though- provoking and visually intriguing.

The most important aspect about this year’s show is the innovative curating that has taken place amongst a myriad of multi-disciplinary artworks that are mainly performance, screen, floor and ceiling based, as opposed to the traditional wall-based art. That’s not to say that the show is devoid of 2D or wall-based works, but much of the art this year is hung in more imaginative formats.

For example, glitter covered canvases entitled ‘Final Piece 1’ by Ashley Gill was attached to motors so they spin for your all-angle twinkling enjoyment. Artist Shay Briscoe’s ‘Council Estate of Mind’ canvases are topped with an accompanying menagerie of toys, highlighting that these works move beyond that of painting, into platforms for sculpture. The environments in which the art is being displayed are also not your typical gallery spaces - some art is hung in the university’s very own ex pub called ‘The Centre for Useless Splendour’ and there is even a film by artist Hattie Ball, ‘A Teleoperated Lesson in Physiography’ being exhibited in a shed, contributing to the alternative aura about the show.

Each artist has considered during the construction of each of their works, not so much ‘off the wall’ ideas but thinking that goes presentationally beyond the wall.  This makes the Kingston Fine Art Degree Show a visually immersive one - one that you should go and see. 

An artist in the show's limelight is George Williams, who has converted a canvas into a fully functioning electric bass guitar. In order to perform with such an instrument, he has constructed a stage persona named ‘George Major’. Posters are strewn around the campus advertising George Major, depicting him floating in the clouds with his canvas guitar in a deliberate attempt to imitate kitsch 80’s style album artwork. Situated near the campus bar in true gigging fashion you will find ‘The Official Merchandise Stand of George Major’ where you can purchase keyrings, badges and t-shirts with George adopting multiple cliché poses with his guitar. There are even limited edition cassettes for sale that add to the musical nostalgia of bygone technology. And outside, situated on the Hogsmill river, is a large podium, complete with makeshift ladder and a battered A1 poster of the album artwork on the university brickwork. There George will perform at timed intervals - suited and hooked up to his amp, he provides a musical performance of absurd facial expressions and robotic guitar canvas twanging. 

George Williams 

Spotted amongst the throng of art lovers at the private view was artist Mike Nelson. An artist twice nominated for the Turner Prize, Nelson helped students with the installation of the show.

"Degree shows are a bit like gardening spaces,” he said, when explaining how much painstaking time and effort goes into achieving a polished exhibition. “It has been about 23 years since I did my degree show and I was 23 years old at the time, so it seems appropriate that I have now reached the half-way point in my life with this one!”

But let’s not forget that Fine Art is not the only course with its degree show currently on at Kingston. The whole of the Knights Park campus has opened its doors to showcase the talents of every art course including Illustration, Graphic Design, Fashion and Film.

The Kingston Degree Shows are open on on Friday 6th June from 1-5pm. 

Written by Sophie Filipiuk, Student Ambassador

Feeling inspired?

Shout about your own degree show and artwork by taking part in our student competion - upload photos of your work to Twitter or Instagram with the hastags #CassArt #StudentSpotlight. All work will be featured on our homepage and one lucky student will win £500 to spend at Cass Art. 

Shop online for all your art supplies. Imitate some of Kingston's art students and grab yourself some Creativity International Glitter or traditional Painting Sets to produce your own flyers and paintings for any exhibitions you may have.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and tell us what you think of Kingston University's Degree Show. 

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