All posts by John

WSA Fine Art Degree Show Review Symposium

The Winchester School of Art BA Fine Art Degree Show Review Symposium took place online 1-3 July 2020; there are links to each session below, and to individual students’ main contributions, on their pages of the online version of the Yearbook, on this site.

chair: Louise Coysh, Associate Director of Arts and Culture, University of Southampton
with guest alumni:Tanya Judd; Kezia Davies; Imogen Marooney; George Thom; Annette Warner; and Amy Wilson

Session 1
convener: Gordon Hon
discussant: Amy Wilson
students: Ciara Hinchey; Bianca Schmittmann; and Lily Flo Williams

Session 2
convener Ian Dawson
discussant: Annette Warner
students: James Hewins; Kerry Mercer; Georgie Sutton; Sabrina Turner Flanders; Lauren Williams; and Morgan Watson

Session 3
convener: John Gillett
discussant: Imogen Marooney
students: Beth Ashford; Harry Joyce; and Maryam Kazimi

Session 4
(Regional Opportunities Forum)
convener: Luci Eldridge
discussant: Kezia Davies
guests: Mia Delve, a space arts; Vickie Fear and Jo Bushnell; Aspex Gallery; and Jack Lewis, John Hansard Gallery
with a presentation of the work of: Jakob Davies; Maisy Critchley; Lauren Gander; Oliver Gaspar; Katerina Iona; Beth Jarrett; Vasilena Nikolova; Emilee Parnell; Adeline Peligrad; Nathan Pine; Xu Quiqing; Pratigya Rai; JD Rafferty; Lucy Rayson; Rhiannon Stopczynski; Georgia Weaver; and Shirley Winterbottom

Session 5
convener: Peter Driver
discussant: George Thom
students: Poppy Ash; Lauren Culloty; Milly Mansfield Parker; Bridie McAteer-Bowden; Rhian Miles; Alex Morgan; Tish Odysseus-Suther

Session 6
Convener: Nicola Thomas
discussant: Tanya Judd
students: Jess Curtis; Emma Davies; Tomi Olumide; Caroline Perkins; Emily Ponting; Nadia Sarwar; Bryony Thompson; Jasmin Young
followed by closing remarks.

Shared Drive 2020 Yearbook


John Gillett, Programme Leader, Fine Art

Welcome to our 2020 Yearbook, a record of Fine Art Students attending Winchester School of Art and graduating in 2020, and some of the studio activities we conducted together.

I am drinking too much tea just now, and all of it at home. The favourite mugs are literally wearing out in the dishy, becoming pale and tired. I long for new ones, new household things of all sorts; not just new; not just mail-ordered in; but discoveries, properly re-thought, and properly exciting; the heralds of a fresh start and a corner turned. We do not know quite when it will be, but it will come, the new World Festival of Britain, lifting us out of here, raising our spirits to seize the opportunities of a new age. Artists will lead this; you will lead this. You will set the tone for a very special generation: the designs; the look; the shapes; the feel and the touch.

Much of the current discussion about the arts, about the future funding of organisations and the preservation of our live cultural heritage, emphasizes participation, understandably and rightly. Political decisions will have to answer everybody’s need to get busy, reconnect, and join in. You – we – have given ourselves the training and the experience to be part of this, to lead it; for we have long and fluently spoken the language of collective creative endeavour. You know how to do this, how to involve others in new activity, nurturing a shared drive towards the big new ideas and intuitive understanding. Thinking on your feet, improvising, working together around problems of resolution; this is what you do. Alongside participation there will be a strong and renewed demand for excellence in the physical object, for things which exist to embody ideas which cannot be put any other way; things which are thought through by expert touch and look and material testing; things which are crafted by eye and by hand and resolved in themselves. You know how to do this too, thinking through making, transforming materials at the service of ideas.

At the heart of this new situation is the digital medium, the network which allows for the sharing to be thoroughgoing and complete. There will need to be a new interplay between the virtual and the actual, to reconcile the twin impulses towards the new, distinctive objects of excellence on the one hand, and towards shared, collective experience on the other. This need will be less about any constraints which we may have to continue living with and more about the fact that we have very suddenly seen the immense potential of new approaches. Material experiences need points of focus, and then to be folded back into a bigger mix, to have virtual counterparts which make the sharing broad and all-encompassing and – strange to say – more real. You – you collectively, and you individually – are ready for this too. We were hurled into new ways of working without warning, but we have made them work, and there is a new excitement in them. You are ready.

Everybody has done brilliantly, and my hopes are high. Perhaps the most exciting thing in all this is that our network is so strong: we will stay together, even as we move out and grow. 

Very, very well done. And thank you for your ideas and your strength and your energy. I’ll put the kettle on. 

Poppy Ash

Poppy is from Croydon and studied Art Foundation at Oxford Brookes University.

Poppy was a member of the External Events Committee and a student rep, also undertaking an internship with Southampton University as a Creative Workshop Assistant. She was a frequent attender of ‘Bad Poets’ and ‘Bad Weather,’ also working at a local bar.

Exploring the portrayal of the everyday, mundane and overlooked, my practice involves drawing with widely accessible media such as paper and pens, which is then photocopied and folded into zines – non-professional, small-circulation publications. My desire to make my work accessible to a wide audience has led me to utilise lo-fi materials, also exhibiting in a wide range of environments, leaving my zines in public spaces, handing them out and selling them at art events. The easy duplication of zines allows me to reproduce them cheaply and quickly, selling them at affordable prices or distributing them for free, thus furthering their reach. By working outside the confines of typical art spaces, my art defies the prestigious status that contemporary art is often given. Exploring different methods of making, using narrative, drawing and text, I explore how viewers respond to the mundane. 

During the lockdown, my work has further responded to my experiences, through the creation of daily lockdown drawings documenting the time period and production of a series of ‘Quaranzines’.

Symposium session:

Beth Ashford

Beth is from Ipswich, did Foundation at Suffolk New College and lives in Winchester. She works at the Hambledon at weekends.

I have an interest in the desire for uniqueness, our collective conformity through the domestic pursuit of fashion and the ways in which we present ourselves through the objects we own. I have considered many areas of this pursuit within my own practice, specifically approaching ideas of consumerism and the attempt to individualise a space. I create art around this subject, so closely woven into the ideas surrounding the concept, that it can be placed into the environment that it is heavily influenced by, an ironic statement against the individualisation of a space. My work is print-based, using mass-production techniques to create formal works surrounding individuals’ homes, with an ability to be placed in not only the referenced space but also a wider audience. My practice looks closely at material culture; the ideas behind good and bad taste, Kitsch; Modernism and the use of craft within a fine art setting.

Symposium session:

Film with Maryam, Harry and John:

Maisie Critchley

Maisie is from Westbury in Wiltshire. She attended Foundation at Wiltshire College. She works over the summer in the kitchen at Longleat.

My practice is based around creating abstract and ambiguous film and imagery of the human body to question societal attitudes to the human body and to trigger the viewer to think in different, perhaps philosophical ways towards the self, the mind, and the body. I want to lead viewers to think about their bodies in a very different way, not just about the appearance of the body. I want to lead viewers to embrace and celebrate their bodies as organic, complex forms. I believe that having people think about their bodies in such a way could really bring much more positive outcomes, doing this by awakening the senses.  I’ve been trying to create a subversive way of representing the body, universal to everyone that views it, with odd angles and forms and lines and hair, to evoke a feeling of familiarity. 

Abbi Culliford

Abbi is from the New Forest and did her A-levels at Brockenhurst College. She has just moved from Winchester to London and hopes to do an MA in Art Therapy.

She has worked as a waitress in Winchester and is an assistant art therapist in St Catherine’s dementia care-home.

My practice scrutinizes the pressure imposed by contemporary society on beauty standards; to investigate the struggle between the way women view their bodies and contemporary culture. Throughout the course of this year I experimented with the representation of the traditional aspects of beauty and femininity within western art. My aim is to represent women in a raw, natural state; to show realistic bodies.

I chose to paint the nude because it is honest, vulnerable and natural. It drives an energetic sensation when we view our own image. My chosen subject matter is non-idealised bodies, exploring the female figure in ways that are both intimate and profound. I wish to show these women as a sign of peace, a spiritual connection with self. The nude is pure, confronting historical bigotry and rejecting contemporary ‘beauty standards’.

Lauren Culloty

Lauren is from Watford and attended sixth form at Queens’ School.

She takes part in Shared Calm and Bad Weather, and works, party-hosting and games-marshalling, at a Laser Planet, where kids shoot each other… 

My work usually starts with the use of ready-made materials, whether this is working with different types of paper; lined, squared, blank, coloured or using other found materials such as televisions and pieces of board as a surface to paint on. I enjoy when the material has a connection that is specific to my circumstances. I am interested in both materials that suggest an everyday domestic quality and institutional learning. I use these materials to investigate ways in which I can bring the viewer back to the materiality of the work of art. Therefore, when someone looks at the work, they are not only being convinced of the representation being a true and real moment in time, but they are also being brought back to the material aspects of the piece. I am very interested in domestic interior design and I like to use outdated homely aesthetics as a subject in my practice. This is usually done with a focus on my personal perspective of the domestic world. I often use as a subject the people and spaces around me. I am interested in how portraying domestic worlds can symbolise the people within them. I often experiment in creating work by appropriating other artists’ compositions.

Symposium session:

Jess Curtis

Jess is from the Meon Valley and lives in Meonstoke. She attended Barton Peveril College.

She works in a zero-waste eco-friendly shop in Wickham. She paints and makes prints in her free time, things to sell. 

Her work is video, an autobiographical study of memory and loss, from found footage, fragmented and cathartic, narratives on a continuous loop.

Combining sculpture with digital media, I create reiterations of a ring that my late grandmother once owned. Each iteration evidences various levels of abstraction, with the intent of toying with notions of ambiguity and concealment. An intentional erasure of contextual information aims to allow the viewer to make judgements about the physical and digital objects presented to them based only on the visual information they are given. This reduction of contextual information in conjunction with visual abstraction aims to create distance between the viewer and the work, thus asserting my agency as an artist celebrating an object that I honour as sacred. The lines between artist and archaeologist blur in my practice; although I identify my grandmother’s ring with someone I have lost, I simultaneously identify it with something I have found: a body of work that identifies with growth, rebirth, and transmutation of artifactual incarnations, each products of appropriation with their own respective philosophies. 

Symposium session:

Emma Davies

Emma is from Colyford, near Lyme Regis in Devon. She did A-levels at Colyton Grammar School, and lived in Southampton whilst at uni. She was a part of the University Radio Breakfast Show, chatting each Wednesday morning, about art, music, and life in general. She began learning Japanese in second year. She was based in the sculpture studio but her work is new media: creating primarily films and digital stills.

Where does reality begin, and where does it end? Inspired by the Japanese philosophy of an all-inclusive interconnected reality, I have been using my art to explore these questions. An intrinsic inclusion of the comparison and relationship between the artificial and the organic within my artwork is undeniable: from exploring post-human-based ideas in first year (examining the biological human as a digital entity), to a concept addressing and expressing the (meta-)physical human within etymology and linguistics in second year. However, upon entering my final year, and having experienced Tokyo in the Summer, I have been focussing more directly upon the hybrid of the man-made and the natural, examining the presence of their amalgamations within reality and the self.

Following lockdown, I have been considering this ideology under these now new and unforeseen circumstances. So, where does reality begin? Where does it end? The lockdown brought these questions to an even greater significance, as we turned to technology to recreate a version of reality and normality. We have used our screens as a portal to access some kind of reunion with actuality, whilst in turn disassociating from reality itself. Thus, whilst examining both the syntheses and the margins of the artificial and the physical, my current and predominantly filmic work reflects the collective experience of the boundaries and perceptions of reality and the self becoming blurred and mutated during lockdown.

Symposium session:

Jakob Davies

Jake is from West Sussex and attended Foundation at Chichester College.

He lives in Winchester and runs the Life-Drawing classes. He is based in the printmaking studio where he has worked with laser-etching and printing, but does a lot of painting too, for its symbolism and satire: life, death and all the curves, exploring depression and inner conflict.

I like to tackle subjects that may cause serious offence. Looking at the political landscape and making perhaps more controversial remarks. I like facts, not feelings. Many artists are gripped by emotion, gripped by what may or may not be. They’re dancing liberals, most are reported to be SJW (social justice warriors). The new fashion is to be indoctrinated into this progressive ideology that definitely ignores the biological truths, and vastly pushes its weight against the fabric of politics.  I don’t know how best to define my practice. It is and it isn’t about politics. It’s a winding road that feels like it’s grounded in the past and the present. It’s retrograde. The views I perpetuate feel appropriate to the nature of the subjects. They’re usually late 50s early 60s representations of subjects. I no longer want my work to enact a sense of emotion on the viewer. I would like the sense of nostalgia and the conservation of ideas to stand in a timeless manner.