We picked some of our favourites from the recent MA graduate show at the University of Brighton. Find out more about works by James Murray, Rachel Maloney, Kirsty Thomas and Sean Padraic Birnie.
I am a multidisciplinary artist working across photography, sculpture and photo-archive research practices. My on-going project Beheld explores notions of the idealised body and its representation in art history, finding its starting point in the story of the Corinthian Maid as told by Pliny the Elder in the Natural History. Pliny’s allegorical tale locates the origin of art in the trauma of romantic loss and opens up a number of ideas to do with touch, trace, surface and the mutability of the art object which inform the work. Underpinned by this conceptual framework is an on-going investigation into the materiality of the photographic image and its relationship to sculpture, with a range of processes and materials used to work through these ideas.
Semblance. © James William Murray. 2015
To see more of James’s work, click here.
an impossible longing for a land so eerie
A return to the rural England of my childhood – the fields, hills and empty moors, the small beaches and bays, snaking rivers and shadowed forests.
As children, we desired and feared these places in equal measure, daring each other to take a step further into the darkness of the forest or towards the spot where a ghost had been seen, roaming the moorlands.
The landscape would pull you in. It would not let go.
To see more of Rachel’s work, click here.
‘….this irresolvable ambivalence which gives to feminine space a power of attraction intense enough to motor the entire development of still life as a genre, yet at the same time apprehends feminine space as alien, as a space which menaces the masculine subject to the core of his identity as male.’ – Norman Bryson, Looking at the Overlooked
My work is influenced by the history of flower painting, and the social construction of femininity, within the hierarchy of art genres. Flower painting began as a sphere of high accomplishment, usually painted by male artists for high regard and high prices. This soon changed when the genre became a predominantly female practice, whereupon it became regarded as a petty, genteel female accomplishment. My work embraces this space and reveals it to be complicated, obsessive and maybe slightly menacing.
I create my images in the domestic space. It is important to me that I create all the pictures by hand. I construct my own still life scenes, photograph them with a large format camera, develop the films, then handprint the images in the darkroom.
To see more of Kirsty’s work, click here.
Sean Padraic Birnie
MEMORIES OF THE OVERLOOK HOTEL
I’m interested in the haunted and haunting aspects of communications technologies, principally photography and writing: doublings, uncanny copies and likenesses, and the estrangement of things lost and found in transmission. Using various photographic means, my work explores different kinds of interior space: dark rooms and séance rooms, haunted houses and hotels, the everyday living room watched over by family photographs, and the camera obscura itself.
Photography always involves a making-visible, and on account of this has played a role in diverse occult practices since William Mumler produced the first spirit photograph in the 1860s. The question of visibility and appearance – and by extension, the questions of invisibility and disappearance – resides at the heart of the photographic enterprise; the dynamic of the hidden and revealed, the occluded and disclosed, worms through the histories of the medium. This is the terrain from which my work develops and which it addresses and explores – the strange ensemble of desire, technology, vision and faith that constitutes the photograph.
Memories of the Overlook Hotel finds an entrance point into an impossible building through the deterioration of a partial .mp4 file: 18% of The Shining downloaded, 82% of the film lost in transmission, and the sense of some indefinable measure gained.
The digitised frames of the celluloid film break down, become a digital blur: re-photographed, the moving image becomes a digital still, a layering of the screen, digitised movie, celluloid original, extant building, the fictional source and its own antecedents in the literature of the fantastic.
Against that decomposition, the architecture asserts its presence. Caught between collapse and the seamless reconstruction of the digital image, the Overlook persists in altered form, always already something other than itself.
To see more of Sean’s work, click here.
September 19 – 25
Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
University of Brighton Gallery
58-66 Grand Parade
Brighton, BN2 0JY
For more information about the show, click here.