‘Before Words’

Review of 2017 MA Fine Art show at the University of Brighton, Grand Parade 8 - 16 July.

The title ‘Before Words’ was chosen for the show in memory of John Berger’s groundbreaking TV series and accompanying book, ‘Ways of Seeing’ which was broadcast in 1972.  

‘Ways of seeing’ is an apt description for a show which consists of artwork using sound technology, virtual reality, video, photography, sculpture, textiles and more traditional painting and drawing techniques.  This diverse group of artists, which I am very proud to be a member of, have come together to produce a show which is entertaining, thought provoking and aesthetically beautiful.  

I’m too close to students to give the names of my personal favourites, but all the students are producing work which is well researched, executed and presented.  Many MA students were already practising artists before they came on the course and so the methods of showing the work are professional and to a high gallery standard.  I particularly like the work where simple media are used in highly effective ways and there are some stunning works in charcoal, pencil and watercolour. Some of the themes being engaged with are gender, identity, the environment and ageing, Personal taste will dictate what people like most.    

There are 3 galleries of work on display, the second-year students who expect to graduate this autumn together with full-time students are using the Grand Parade ground floor gallery which has full length windows giving passers-by a tantalising glimpse.   I mention the windows because once inside the gallery it is important to look up and see the work that is hanging there.  There are benches to sit on and I would encourage people to linger in the space and take time to watch the video work here too. These students also have the first-floor gallery spaces which gives them room to expand on their themes.  This year there is also work installed throughout the building so as visitors walk around they will see work on pillars, at the top of staircases and on the walls in the corridors.   There will be invigilators on every floor and we are enthusiastic about engaging with visitors and talking about the work. 

The second-floor gallery is important not to miss as this year’s first years are already producing work of very high quality.  Look out for some truly beautiful glass sculpture work up there.  

I will finish by saying some of the work is for sale and there is an information room on the ground floor if visitors want to find out more about any individual artists.  

Adele Gibson

@mafineartbrighton