Opens Tuesday 16 September, runs until 22 September 2014

The school of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds hosts this year’s crop of MA and MFA Fine Art graduates, for their show entitled Contingent. It’s a small crop, but a crop non-the-less and this has its advantages.

Comprised of four MA students completing a 12-month intensive course and one part time (four year) MFA student, the show takes over the Lifton Place studios – a series of terraced buildings on the north of the University’s city campus perfect for exhibition purposes.

“We each get the chance to have our own mini solo show” explains Melissa Burn, one of this year’s graduates from the MA course, “Because there are fewer of us we get to spread out more, I’m knackered and want to sleep for a week afterwards, but it will all be worth it in the end. Degree shows can be limited when it comes to letting a body of art work do its thing, but we have an opportunity to install the work how we want to, to let it speak for itself.”

A graduate of Middlesex University Burn is originally from Leeds and decided to move back to her home city for post-graduate study. Two other students from the show are also from Northern England, Nathan Chenery who studied his BA at York St John University and Liam McCabe, who studied previously at Leeds College of Art. The other two are international students, South Korean Sanghee Lee who studied at Konkuk University in Seoul and Sara Mata from Portugal who completed her BA at University of Porto.

“I plan to stay in Leeds after graduating and I already have a studio to move in to” continues Burn, “a new studio complex and artist-led gallery near The Tetley in the south of the city called Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun. My lease there has already started – there’s still some paint to add to the walls but I should be able to move straight in after the MA show. It’s the only thing I have lined up but it means I can carry on with my practice as I see fit.”

Its good to begin answering some overriding questions here, what do you do straight after your MA, sleep for a week? Move straight on with your practice? Look for opportunities to show the work you’ve put so much energy in to in other places? Stick with your peer group and make opportunities as a collective force? Some postgraduate courses are focused on embedding the students with the city for them to stay and contribute afterwards. But this this is not always the drive for completing an MA or MFA and Contingent implies a situation that is subject to change. Burn continues, “I should imagine that Sara will move back to Portugal and Sanghee back to South Korea, so the group will be split geographically. But the rest of us have roots close enough together for us to maintain workable connections.”

All five graduates also exhibited as a group at FAIR, as part of Edinburgh College of Art’s Masters Festival earlier this year. We covered this on a-n Art News: FAIR: “An opportunity for students to rethink an art fair’s basic structure”.

For more information on each of the artists in the exhibition see captions embedded with images in the following image gallery.