all images are copyright the artists

ex 2008

In the summer of 2008, staff teaching within the fine art area of the foundation course visited the degree shows of ex Leeds College of Art and Design foundation students graduating from diverse and distinctive fine art degree courses throughout the UK. Travelling to London to visit Bram Shaw, Camberwell, Central St Martins, Chelsea, Goldsmiths, Kingston, Middlesex, Slade and Wimbledon to Scotland to visit Edinburgh and Glasgow and to the University of Central Lancashire, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University and Ruskin (University of Oxford), to gain a comprehensive insight into the works produced by thirty two students in total. Not only were these visits insightful, rewarding and revealing but also an important opportunity to make contact with past students. The diversity of the locations was matched by the variety of works produced and the selection of the seven artists was therefore based on expressions of personal interest with a view to building a cohesive and stimulating exhibition. Pragmatic decisions, naturally, also played a part in influencing the final selection.

This group of students have set very high standards. The work in this exhibition is poised and confident; it demonstrates a high level of commitment from an emerging group of motivated artists, reflecting strongly upon the learning structures - critical self-reflection and methods of questioning which underpin- high quality education in fine art practice.

Like other creative practices, making art is about exploring possibilities. The possibilities of materials and processes, the possibilities of ideas, the possibilities of human relations. This exhibition reflects these preoccupations and concerns. Helen Shaddock’s richly coloured sequential video work exploits repeated actions and exacting processes in the act of organising information while flimsy bands of pigment released from taut strings build fragile yet precise grids on the surface of Alison Livesey’s unprimed canvases. Destruction, catastrophe and fragmentation provide both the subject and form of Tom Badley’s work. In his meticulous video piece Struggle and Invention he has reconstructed a Fugue by J.S. Bach from material extracted from, literally hundreds of, downloaded videos.

Architectural structures and materials are referenced in the work of Ric Warren, his sculptural installations and drawings deliberately mimic the language of architecture in the production of real yet inaccessible physical spaces. Unrealised artists’ concepts and proposals for monumental artworks form the subject for research in the work of Nick Humphrey. Large scale, and impressive in intent the propositions which relate to the epic yet remain unmade are deliberately and fastidiously copied in his work. Commenting in a comic and satirical manner his efforts to build upon the foundation of ideas both physically and conceptually remain similarly incomplete.

Irrational conduct and playful acts in response to practical and humble objects characterise the performance-based work of Joel Dever, highlighting the possibilities for success or failure through an exploration of the quotidian. The contradictory nature of the individual is exposed in Giles Ripley’s performances within his narrative film works. Witty in a shrewd, subtle and sarcastic way his work explores emotions such as vulnerability and anxiety and yet like his comic hero’s Keaton and Chaplin, he induces laughter through his use of skilful timing and careful planning.

This is the second year ex has taken place and it is hoped that the exhibition not only extends the audience for new work but provides an important impetus and opportunity for discussion and debate among this years foundation students, together with the valuable and enriching opportunity for reunion in a professional context.

Jenny West 2008