20th - 25th May 2006
Pick and mix your favourite selection of eye candy from this year's sensational degree show at Brookes. Contemporary work from 30 graduates is presented, using diverse media ranging from Bella Campbell's startling installation of medical apparatus to Jon Hewitt's stirring adaptation of a performance of 'Pirate Jenny', a song taken from the 'Threepenny Opera'. High production values are evident in the students' work. Josephine Rutherfoord's 'Incomplete circle' series representing the emptiness felt from loss and Michelle Griffin's stylish film of a white naked body with a bent leg slowly swinging would sit comfortably in any professional gallery.
Luke Thrush's strobe-lit huge glass insects crawling the wall and Iain Calderwood's fake-fur clad, hook-nosed characters fending off danger with a spatula and a watering hose are both a thrill to encounter. As is Aaron Head's seaside café with a stack of chintzy china and 'chip castle' on top of battered suitcases. Wandering between the studios, peel back the drapes, open tiny doors and look up at the corridor walls to be rewarded with challenging confections. Persevere to find Claudia Smith's stunning audio-visual pieces. The explosive experience of her piece involves standing alone in a small padded black cell under a red spotlight to the sound of pulsing bass. Its bold simplicity is highly affecting. Visitors enjoy the luxury of seeing the stages through which a final work develops; Laura Brannagan's sketches prepare for the naked ghost-like photographs which magically capture dynamic movement in a still. Tom Milnes displays cabinets of old-fashioned record players around a final sculpture of discarded personal stereos playing a number of relaxation tapes simultaneously to generate a disconcerting noise.
A number of students have chosen to develop one idea through a series of media. Jill Jones' 'Metamorphosis' series uses installation, bookbinding, video and sculpture to explore the theme of violence against women. Gemma Hobbs investigates terrorism in '7/7', using prose, an installation of torn train tickets embroidered in red silk and a large-scale canvas. For others, personal experience is the creative starting point. Saba Ahmed performs an emotionally charged piece inside an installation furnished as a bedroom entitled 'Shadows of Mind'. Sarah Fletcher's clever photographs of 'Sarah, Karen, Chris' with and without facial spots challenges the claims of the cosmetics industry beautifully. Victoria Mellin and Ruairiadh O'Connell are two Artists interpreting the role of space from different perspectives, with a flat-pack house and minimalist abstract images respectively. The show expands out into the space of the attractively landscaped Headington Hill campus, which leaves one question. 'How fat do you have to be to be bullet-proof'? Only a few days left to find out!