Moment of reckoning looms for fine-art students...

fine-art final-year degree show
fine-art final-year degree show

The fine-art course at the University of Chichester has proved the perfect foundation for painter April Jackson, one of the third-year students taking part in this year’s fine-art final-year degree show.

“I liked the fact that it is a smaller university with everyone on campus,” April says.

“I am not a big socialite city-type person. Chichester suits me really well, and you get lots of one-on-one contact with tutors... and I think I have developed a lot. I was quite shy before and not very confident in my own skills and artistic process until I came here. It has been great.

“They push you out of your comfort zone and get you to try new things. I arrived here doing skycapes and still lifes. I was looking at clouds and my local landscapes in oil paint and acrylics.

“But my main practice now has been more about process, using things like emulsion and oil-based interior paints and print-making.”

April, aged 20, who comes from Buckinghamshire, will be offering about 11 large-scale paintings for the degree show: “I soak and stain the canvas. It is process-led. It is about pouring the paint and manipulating it. It’s about staining the canvas and draining the paint away and manipulating the surface. It has become more abstract, focusing on edges and abstract forms.”

It will all lead to an MA in Chichester: “I want to continue my practice here.”

Painter Morgan Ward will also be looking at an MA, but after a year gaining further experience first.

“It has been good here. It has been different to home (south-east London) which has been great. I value the fact that I came out of London for my degree. The course offers a closer feel in quite a small pace.”

And consequently he has enjoyed the confidence to undergo a “massive shift” in his art: “I came up here and I was quite representational, quite figurative, but now I am doing work that is endlessly questioning what space is and how it can be filled.

“It’s really an endless investigation into what colour does. I just want to keep going with that really.

“After university, I am going to take a year to move back London hopefully doing internships in galleries, and then I would like to do an MA in London. I have sent out a spray of CVs. I would like to do the MA in the September of next year. I want to take the time first to solidify what paths I want to choose within the sector, to see what options are realistic.”

The Fine Art Degree Show 2017 is open to the public from Saturday, May 13–Friday, May 19, weekend opening 11-4, week day opening 11-6, with ‘Walkabout’ talks by 12 graduating BA students on Tuesday, May 16 from 5.30pm-8pm. Free and all welcome.

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