The University of Reading’s art department degree show Dusk showcases the diverse talents of its undergraduate and postgraduate students, featuring painting, sculpture, film, performance and installation, mostly along themes that are literally or emotionally dark.
There are some traditional paintings on display, but many of the artworks comprise of non-conventional media, including bark, ice, offal, film and found objects; inspiring complex feelings of intrigue, nostalgia, melancholy and even revulsion. The department has an ethos of embracing multi-media and encouraging its students to push boundaries with both materials and concepts; notable alumni include installation artists or sculptors Richard Wilson, Mike Nelson and Turner prize winning Cornelia Parker.
The exhibition is spread across the department’s warren of studio space, many housed in small curtained-rooms, provoking feelings of expectation or even dread of what or who you may find behind the dark curtain. Many of the works feature an amalgamation of visual and sound elements, such as Daisy Hampton’s ‘The textured garden’ or Anna Okroyan’s crazy and colourful ‘Galactic Monarchy Club,’ while others incorporate elements of controlled spontaneity such as Lakshmi Parmar-Mistry’s ‘Meltdown’ pieces – a series of jolly lolly-shaped ice in various stages of melt, encapsulating and eventually releasing paint.
The show is not for those who want to see pretty paintings and is not for the faint hearted (pigs heads, bare bums made of lard, macabre collages and a four eyed cat-headed alien burlesque club) but it does challenge the visitor with a visceral vibrancy spiked with elements of fun.
Dusk is located in the Department of Art buildings at 1 Earley Gate, Whiteknights Road RG6 6AT. It opens to the public on Monday 6 June and runs until Sunday 12 June, from 10am-4pm on weekdays and 11am-6pm on weekends.