Selected Graduate Exhibition, 24th June to 1st July
Kellie Miller Art Awards returned this month. Now in its fourth consecutive year, I aim to shine the spotlight on students from local schools and universities and to inspire them to follow a creative path throughout their lives, with the hope that many will enjoy the arts, be it as a career, or by embracing creative activities, or by supporting the arts, now and in the future.
I founded the awards in 2015 as I strongly believe in the value of teaching creativity to young people. I want to encourage schools and parents who recognise this fundamental life skill and who endorse this by delivering creativity and art throughout a child's schooling, starting in early years through to A levels.
The schools and colleges involved this year include Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, Varndean College and Roedean School. This Year I have been proud to include The University of Brighton.
I will be hosting these awards at several educational organisations during their end-of-year shows, with the view of selecting winning students to exhibit at the gallery from the University of Brighton and Northbrook Metropolitan College. From this, I will curate an exhibition of works from graduates in the gallery. The works selected will have a synergy with what most appeals to me and is in harmony with the gallery's ethos.
In addition to the aesthetic merit of the works, I considered the concepts and values behind them and the passion that could be clearly seen in each selected graduate. To witness the commitment of the students to their art at the start of their journeys is wonderful to see and a must to encourage. Furthermore, each student demonstrated consistency in their personality, presentation and approach to their works which was most noteworthy.
The winners were Joe Bulman studying 3D Design and Craft at Brighton and Alastair Farley studying Fine Art Painting both were selected from The University of Brighton. Lauren McGregor was selected for her prints, from Northbrook Metropolitan College (MET).
Alastair Farley, from Fine Art Painting, questions why we often view history in the format of a chronological series of momentous events. He aims, not to demote these events, but to draw attention to the mundane, the everyday and unremarkable with the purpose of balancing these alongside those that are deemed more culturally important. He gathers imagery from the 19th and 20th centuries, juxtaposing and marrying these with his own personal photos. He takes great care to convey his concepts, not only in the paintings but in how he applies and uses his materials to tell a story.
Joe Bulman, from 3D Design and Craft, specialising in ceramics. I selected Joe's piece entitled ‘Seven Sisters' which is a collection of seven ceramic forms that seek to celebrate the graphic and bold colours that dot the Brighton metropolitan landscape. This project investigates the value of unseen or forgotten "Brightonian" objects. Joes' work deals with waste or unwanted items and questions the value of our relationship with wasted objects in our society.
From MET I selected Lauren McGregor's prints, which invite you to contemplate the causes of mortality in nature and the natural order of things. Ultimately it gives us permission to reflect on our own existence. Lauren's work speaks of beauty in death, thereby celebrating living even through the most challenging circumstances. This is all encompassed in her striking and powerful prints.
I have been so impressed with the talent throughout the awards that, although I initially set out to just select the works of the winners, I just could not overlook the paintings of runner up Ani Grimes at the University of Brighton, mixed media works of Lucy Fairs and runner up Ray Lister's paintings both at Northbrook Met.
There were so many pieces I would have gladly exhibited from many of the students, not just those that were shortlisted. Unfortunately, due to limited space, I have selected a unique collection that highlights the wealth of local student talent. These winning pieces from MET and the University will excitingly go on show in the gallery from 24th June to 1st July, giving art graduates the opportunity to have their work displayed in a professional environment for the first time.