by Roisin O’Connor

Last week saw the first ever Art Exhibition by the Art Society – Roisin O’Connor went along to check it out…

Poster advertising the event

As I walked into Café West, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the exhibition; being a relatively new society, this was the first time I’d experienced an art exhibition with submissions from students. While being newer than some of the other creative societies in the union, having been founded in September 2010, the Art Society have obviously been working hard and have proved that there’s some promising artistic talent at our university.  According to treasurer Becky Allen, the society raises money mainly through bake sales, but the recent exhibition has provided some much needed donations to ensure they have enough materials for regulars to the society’s meetings.

Unfortunately I missed the live band action on offer later in the day, but popped up when it was a little quieter to have a look around.  I was told that earlier in the day it had been busier (estimated 50-100 people), and there were also two band performances taking place later on, by The Attic People and Just Harrie, with tech support from people including a few from the Xtreme crew.

Photo courtesy of Becca Taylor

Walking around in no particular order I could tell there was a real mix: photography, paintings, sketches, and even a collection of Haiku. Some of the work could have been presented a little more professionally- a few of the sketches and paintings had evidently just been ripped out of a sketchbook. As well as this, the Haiku, although enjoyable to read, looked hurriedly written out and had been stuck hazardously over one of the display walls. The arrangement of the actual work in the room wasn’t so much of a problem, as it was nice to wander round each corner and see different mediums being explored.

I felt the strongest part of the exhibition was the photography, in particular the pieces by Jonathon who had a lot of work to show. Two shots of different bridges along with a monochrome beach scene showed a good eye for perspective and strong lines. There was a fantastic image of the sea with a strip of sand, showing a great technical ability to play with colour and bring out the silhouettes of people on the sand and in the water. One of my favourites was the close-up of a fly on a vividly-coloured flower capturing some exquisite detail, in particular the iridescence of the fly’s body and the pollen in the flower.

The series of Haiku by Steve were an interesting break from the photos and paintings; the literature worked well and some of the themes brought up in the poems would have gone very well with photos by the other exhibitionists. Despite some fairly dubious titles (Les Fraises Rouges, Geneva Sunset, etc), several of the pieces used basic language to create some thought-provoking Haiku that proved effective in their simplicity. My only, trivial  comment would be to check the plural of Haiku which is the same as the singular.

A detailed sketch of a cormorant by Tamsin showed attention to detail and a good use of tone, and it was nice to read the accompanying poem and information about what she was inspired by. The painting of a girl’s face in acrylic by Isobel was executed in bold strokes with a raw feel to the skin tone and the focus on the mouth and eyes, overall a very nicely captured expression. A set of canvas paintings by Becky, one square and one circle, showed a good use of colour but with a possible need for a better build-up of tone and attention to detail. The watercolours, in particular one of a cottage on a quiet country lane, were refreshing to look at, with good line detail and a light wash of colour.

Overall the exhibition was nicely set up, with a load of great examples of what the Art Society has been getting up to recently. Kudos to them for managing to put on a fantastic first exhibition. Special thanks should go to Rosie Hunnam who helped to set up the exhibition, and also to Isobel, Abdullah, Becky and the Art Society for all their hard work creating what turned out to be a great event.

The prizes voted for by the attendees to the event were:

Jessica Gascoinge who came first with one of her paintings.

Steve Del Duca who came second with his Haiku.

Natalie of the Photography Society came third for her fantastic camera work.

Did you attend the Exhibition? Tell us what you thought, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or the comment section, we’re all ears!