Breakdance, gymnasts and lace inspire creative students

Issue date: 14 June 2010


Thea Payne's The Gymnast Breakdance, gymnasts and traditional lace collars are among the inspirations for students from the School of Creative Arts at the University of the West of England. The work of UWE's final year undergraduate and postgraduate creative arts students is being showcased at Bower Ashton and Spike Island from 19-24 June 2010.


The Degree Show 2010
is the culmination of years of inspiration and hard work. The free show is open to the public and is a chance to discover a new generation of artists, designers and media practitioners.

The Bower Ashton campus will host a spectacular range of inspiring and original work from 13 courses including Animation, Drawing and Applied Arts, Fashion, Graphic Design and Media Practice. Unique and innovative work by undergraduate and postgraduate Fine Art students will be located at Spike Island on Bristol's Harbourside.

Among UWE's Graphic Design students are six who have been admitted to the prestigious International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD).

Jono Lewarne's final year study focuses on rules. He says, “The subject extends from law as a matter of rules, to the rules of thumb that influence our personalities and how we live our lives. Conversation and dialogue have informed my practice, forming the basis of some of my projects and inspiring others.

“I'm interested in expression through typography, and have recently been awarded entry into the International Society of Typographic Designers with merit. I'm inspired by classic and contemporary typography as well as important social issues, which will continue to inform my work in the future.”

Other successful Graphic Design students who have gained admission to the ISTD are Ged Palmer, Myles Lucas, Rowan Caney, Romilly Winter and Liam Randall.

Adam Davis' animated film, entitled 'The Low Road', is about a small town law enforcer who, upon discovering the face of his father's murderer, heads out in search of justice. After locking up two outlaws and taking down their wanted posters on the wall of his office, the character sees more faces underneath, including one half-covered, showing only the jaw and scarred chin of a man. Taking a closer look, the lawman realises who the man is and sets off in search of him.

Grace de Berker's work, inspired by forms such as traditional lace collars, is concerned with the natural world that lies all around us, even in the most urban of settings, and the relationship we have with it. She says, “Through constructing with repetitive natural forms, such as leaves, buds, seeds and twigs, my work aims to disengage these objects from their everyday, overlooked context and emphasise the colours, textures and beauty that can be found in any environment if we become inquisitive enough.

“The lace collars, which these forms are based on, elevate the perspective of the natural materials used and place the potential wearer in direct contact with them. This arrangement suggests the long running existence of humans within the natural world. The equality of this relationship however is questioned by the detachable nature of the garment and hints towards the ambivalent relationship we often adopt with our surroundings.”

Caroline Halliwell uses a combination of materials to create her illustrations. She describes her inspirations, “I was first drawn to illustration by my interest in communicating an idea through image, and transforming text rich with description into aesthetically pleasing images. I find inspiration in any narratives with vivid and inspiring imagery, whether in books, songs, poems, articles or elsewhere. I am particularly drawn to images involving nature and pattern.

“I rely on different mediums and techniques such as paints, monoprint, etching, pen and ink to create textures, which I then scan in along with my sketches and craft into final images digitally. By adding hand rendered texture and pattern I aim to create a rich and tactile quality to my images."

Chris Gape's work 'Beyond the Battle' explores the different worlds of breakdance and boxing through sound and video. “It shows the distance between the two worlds through the relationship between sound and video, as the work evolves from an independent sound installation into an intimate portrayal of the characters displayed over multiple screens. The space which the two worlds occupy creates moments of conflict and tension, interweaved with synchronicity and harmony in which the character's dedication and passion portray the individual's moments of pain and ecstasy.

“The work has been inspirited by 'Still Waters Run Deep' directed by Wilkie Branson, a Bristol based b-boy, as well as Darren Aronofsky's film 'The Wrestler' where the protagonist's infatuation for a pole-dancer presents us with an interesting tension between the world of brutal fighting and the performance of dancing on stage.

“My initial approach to the work was to create separate documentaries for each subject through recording interviews and representing the material through creative sound design. I crafted the sound piece using Pro Tools, building the work up through locative sound recordings and edited dialogue. The video piece involved the use of a highspeed camera where I aimed to capture the strength and movement of the characters in 757 frames a second. It was important to focus the work on the character and the aim of the installation is to put this at the foreground.”

Théa Payne describes her photography study, 'The Gymnast': “By subtracting the familiar surroundings of the gymnasium, the viewer's attention is focused purely on the body of the gymnast without distraction. Detail of performance is observed giving a rare, intimate view and providing a greater understanding of the skill, strength and precision involved.

“Fast moving performance is frozen or portrayed at slow pace through the medium of photography and film, allowing the audience to appreciate the intense power and beauty that the female gymnast exerts.

“The project was inspired by spending ten years training and competing as a gymnast up to international level, along with a continuing passion and fascination for this impressive sport. The exhibited work reveals contours of the body that the eye often fails to see when performance is viewed as a spectator from distance. This incredibly dynamic and demanding sport gains relatively little media recognition and reward, therefore this project goes some way to addressing this and draws attention to 'The Gymnast' in a new way.”

Visit http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/degreeshow2010

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