Review: Here and Now at University of Brighton

Exhibition: Here and Now – 2nd Year Fine Art BA (Hons), University of Brighton, until February 23 2010

It will typically take an art student three years to hone their technique, but to give a piece a great title can be the work of seconds.

Here and Now is a group show by second year students at Brighton University. And if one painting by Peter Barwick is anything to go by, studying here is a blast.

I Totally Just Painted This is a large scale oil on canvas work featuring cartoony square dogs. The joy of using bright colours is emphasised by the ring of those five words on the plaque.

Another painting opposite is named with equal boldness. I Loved You may not have as much attitude, but the neon Chinatown landscape by Elisha Enfield is as lush as a film by Wong Kar-wai.

A good title can open up a work to interpretation. You Can Never Be Too Sure by Vicky Pattemore is a small but resonant ink drawing of a rib cage suspended behind a finely wrought birdcage.

Elsewhere, a title expands on an idea. A row of tiny sculpted washing machines in shades of off white and dyed pink is arresting and amusing to a point, which Charisia Chatzitsoli goes beyond with a single word: Shrunk.

Not all works need the convention of a name. 10 ft up on the gallery wall is a brass emergency bell. A steel and glass staircase leads to it, so fragile that Sarah Ross’s work will make you wince before you’ve even glanced at the plaque.

Caroline Bugby is another student who lets her piece do the talking. A waxy Ordnance Survey map hangs like a dishcloth from a jauntily angled DIY store hook. The result is cheery. If she had called it I Totally Just Sculpted This, the effect would be the same.

Meanwhile Lucinda Turner-Brown has had as much fun as anyone here. In an apparent tribute to Joseph Beuys she has built a twin tower of packets of Asda Smart Price lard. The piece is called, Life. Well, you can’t fault that for ambition.

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