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Six graduates from the Fine Art Painting degree at University Centre St Helens had the opportunity to display their work recently at Oceans Apart, a contemporary painting gallery in Salford.

The degree show, ‘Inner Space’, presented the work of exhibiting graduates, Nicola Bolton, Katherine Hickey, Shannon Moore, Chloe Pennington, Rosie Shaw, and Emma Wood.

To commemorate the artists and their work, the owner of Oceans Apart Gallery, Jenny Eden, who is also the Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting, said, "It was a pleasure to be able to host the degree show, which I know meant a great deal to the students with a physical celebration of their achievements. We look forward to supporting the students to hold a second exhibition in St Helens to promote our unique and specialist degree in Fine Art Painting".

One of the talented artists, Nicola Bolton, showcased a piece called ‘Light’, created with oil paint on oak with perspex. Nicola who experiments with fluorescent paint, created a five-sided work of art that reflects light from a variety of materials used on each of the surfaces. Nicola explained, “My aim is to produce paintings that oscillate between two distinct disciplines – painting and sculpture, while considering the ways in which light falls on to a variety of surfaces and modulates their colour.”

Katherine Hickey’s piece of work, ‘Before the Fluid’, which is oil on board, explores the history of ‘The Grotesque and The Abject’ in western art and culture. Katherine said, “By borrowing visual elements from images of the internal and external body, my work releases thoughts of mortality, decay, personal fears and vulnerability. I incorporate these elements into sculptural paintings, which I consider to be hybrid objects. These objects are intended to be visually reminiscent of bodily accretions, growths, wounds, mutated organs and genitalia.”

Shannon Moore’s oil on wooden panel board painting, ‘Corridor’, looks at spatial encounters informed by photography, collage, projection, drawing, paint, and the production of three-dimensional models. Shannon explained, “I have produced a body of work that focuses on a number of internal architectural spaces that invite, so to speak, ‘the viewer in’. Photographs taken of doorways, corridors, staircases are collaged into my own three-dimensional architectural models along with selected paintings from chosen artists that relate to my theme of space.”

Chloe Pennington exhibited ‘Blur’ and ‘1972’, both created with oil on canvas. Chloe explained that “both paintings contain a meaning and a story, although my intention is for this to remain ambiguous to the viewer.” Chloe used “appropriate colour palettes” which are carefully chosen, which include ‘colour associations that align the ideas and memories behind each painting’. Using layers of paint repeatedly, the paint “becomes three-dimensional”, creating an effect of “paint growing out of the canvas”.

Rosie Shaw’s ‘The Dark Mirror’, is an oil and glaze on wood panel, a project of “investigation into darker themes and tropes of the mirror motif in painting”. Rosie’s painting, an antique mirror with dark undertones is described as “exploring this motif in a much more contemporary and detailed fashion”. The painting employs a variety of processes and techniques, with drawing being crucial to the design, capturing reflections from a variety of different surfaces, creating a captivating contemporary piece.

‘Presence’ created by Emma Wood, details oil on canvas, which concerns itself ‘with the nature of darkness and light’. Emma’s idea for the project originated from a personal fear of the darkness, which “has developed into both a fascination and admiration for both opposites as we encounter them.” Working with strictly black and white, Emma said this “allows the colour within the black to be revealed by the white paint.” The subtle yet suggestive painting “aims to recreate the sensation of opening one’s eyes in complete darkness, only to have your eyes adjust slowly to see your surroundings”.

The ‘Inner Space’ exhibition is available to appreciate online at www.oceansapart.uk.

The BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting degree at University Centre St Helens is one of only a few available across the country, providing fantastic exhibiting opportunities and partnerships with both the local and regional arts communities.

This highly practical degree allows students to study in a specialist environment, affording each student their own individual gallery space for the duration of their studies, enabling students to find an individual style, whilst providing a deeper understanding of established painting principles.

Places are still available to join the BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting degree in September 2021, find out more here.

Fine Art Painting Graduates Make Their Debut at Salford Art Gallery!