Nottingham Trent University

Nottingham Trent’s 2010 Fine Art Degree show is in my opinion, stronger than its predecessor. Its curatorial success alongside the well considered presentation of each individual piece has resulted in a polished final exhibition. There is art for everyone here, per formative work by the likes of Calvin Sangster and Nicholas Willouby, animation, installation and video to name a few of the varied Medias used. The show delivers an exciting experience for its audience, as well as a dramatic conclusion to an intense three year journey.

Themes of isolation, consumerism, obsession and media crop up alongside minimalistic pieces such as Kate Shiels ‘romantic landscapes,’ caused by fleeting reflections through water cased in Perspex. As always with fine art degree shows, it is a little overwhelming. The investment of more time with any one piece feels a little unfair, however out of the many successes I engaged most heavily with ‘To be viewed one at a time.’ This is without a doubt partly due to my invigilation of the work. Four dark haired females were selected and uniformed in ‘secretarial’ clothing to control the viewing of the three videos; our firm yet charming exterior whilst steering the viewers in and out of the darkened room, was an interesting addition to the work.

Similar to Calvin Sangsters exclusive ‘perfume counter,’ our presence yet again forced the individuals witnessing the pieces to feel slightly uncomfortable, in the same way that society forces restrictions on each individuals emotive state. ‘To be viewed one at a time,’ is to be just that, experienced solitarily allowing one brief moment to access the emotion/ experience portrayed on the screen. These scenes feel familiar and unsettling in there poignancy. In adolescence, childhood and in old age, they are feelings we may carry throughout or at different stages of our life. Uncertainty, desperation, confusion and alienation are poetically filmed in an open narrative, allowing each audience member to interpret it completely individually and reflect upon themselves. The effect of the film changing each time induces strange conversations between friends as they compare what they have seen and perhaps briefly what it meant to them. Yet I rarely saw people revisit for another perspective.

Poetically filmed, the videos are undeniably stark; I hear the whispers of child molestation, eating disorders and self harm whilst I stand firmly in my corner. The repetition of my own experience with the video means I notice new details at varying stages within the day, a youthful hand becoming wrinkled, the change from taut clothing to loose. These subtle changes feel sinister and pointed, suggesting the lasting effect of emotional turmoil. Yet no one here is alone, the scenes produce some familiarity with every visitor even those who do not stay until the end. This is normality, this is unacceptable normality. The illegible and desperate diary entries scrawled behind closed doors and the muffled cries into pillows late at night, utterly personal yet void of narrative. The work allows a leak of estranged feeling into society which only art or documentaries will allow. You and every personal experience, are the piece, please take a seat. To be viewed one at a time.