Art Review: Nottingham Trent University Fine Arts Degree Exhibition 2018

As a graduate of NTU’s fine arts course (I did an install on memes and deservedly got a 2: 2) it’s always a pleasure to go back. This year’s budding artists are still throwing in paint, glitter, and themselves. In the old tradition of the show and listen sessions of the course, we have resisted reading the artists’ statements.

Food was definitely on the flavored degree show menu this year. We found branded built-in themes, kitchenware, and even a vibrator neatly wedged into a croissant. A highlight was Hannah Ingrey’s “Battle of Brands” – an oversized representation of branded food packaging, surrounded by fabric beans and ketchup stains. It culminated with a performance of two orange-faced men carrying his giant Heinz Beans cans to a silent nightclub. Does Hannah really like her weekly Tesco store, or is there something more satisfying going on here?

It culminated with a performance of two orange-faced men carrying his giant Heinz Beans cans to a silent nightclub.

Also in the “Fishbowl” area of ​​the studios was an angular space age structure that we were eager to explore. Inside was a sandy, rocky space reminiscent of the surface of the moon – if you use your imagination. Caitlin Hickling’s “To Quench Its Parched Gullet” had all the joys of making footprints and gazing in the dark. Just you, alone with a spotlit sculpture resembling something between a robot and a lampshade.

Under the mezzanine, Athanasia Papathanasiou’s “Prop in a Showroom” incorporated a carpeted staircase and a Tim and Eric video. We saw a chain of kitschy purchases of incredibly compact items – a small shelf to use for cooking (and much more) and said staircase; ideal for dragging and reaching for objects. It came from the same dystopian hell as VICE’s ‘London Rental Opportunity of the Week’. With a renowned architect saying millennials don’t need living rooms anymore, maybe this is what we should expect.

Then a familiar face – earlier this year Christos Gkenoudis supported Sasha Velor at Nottingham Contemporary as drag character Mika the Alien. Before the “Immersive Woman” performance, we were all tempted to try on the range of costumes and strut around in a projected pink light. We returned to a boiling hall with a cheering audience, two glitter cannons and enthusiastic cries of “Shantay you stay.”

Finally, the strangeness that inhabited the obscuration room did not disappoint. In almost total darkness, aside from a flashing light, two abstract Lovecraftian masses sprang from two dressers. One black and one white, Christine Gregory’s sculptures have been listed as being made of “thread, expansive foam and pain”. Accentuated by eerie wallpaper, its mix of unsettling atmosphere and nostalgia was the genre one finds in good horror movies. The title of the piece “Scarborough Fair (Chorus)” was sung solemnly in the background.

The Nottingham Trent University Fine Arts Show ran through Sunday 10e June.

Kayleen C. Rice

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