Thursday evening saw the ‘Private View’ of Wirral Met College’s Graduate Exhibition titled ‘Fusion’ at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead.
The work on display is from students from Fine Art, Photography, and Illustration with Animation, covering diverse topics from social housing, chronic illness and mythological characters.
birkenhead.news attended the preview and spoke to some of the students about their work.
Kirsty Anne Wilson – BA Hons Photography
Kirsty won the ‘Best in Show’ Award for the photographs that she made. “I wanted to raise awareness of chronic illness and disability and lift the veil on what is obvious and share what is behind what you don’t always see.”, Kirsty told us.
“I printed [the photographs] on a paper that will degrade over time, to represent the decline in my health and never knowing when it’s going to last or when it’s not. I stuck them up with metal, representing my wheelchair and how that holds me up.”
“I deliberately didn’t frame them because I didn’t want a frame to be a barrier between the audience and the prints because I find so many barriers in life. I wanted to go against that.”
Kate Wastnedge – BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration
Kate Wastnedge is a character designer and illustrator who works in both digital and traditional mediums.
Amongst Kate’s inspirations is a desire to educate children – indeed one of her illustrations on display is a beautifully drawn poster-size animal A-Z, which would sit perfectly on any child’s bedroom wall.
She also has four fantastical illustrations that show mythological creatures. “I took inspiration from different mythologies from around the world. ” she explains, as she points out (from left to right in the image below) a Japanese Kitsune, a Golem from Jewish folklore, a Mavka; a female Ukranian spirit, and an Irish Selkie.
Les Weston – BA (Hons) Fine Art
Les Weston produced a concrete cast, representing the block of flats where he grew up as a young child. It isn’t quite as simple as that though. Not only does his work directly imitate the brutalist architecture in form, but also in construction methods, being made of concrete. Additionally, he has an audio and video accompaniment playing the sights and sounds of his childhood years.
Les told us, “When I came on the course, I thought I was just going to paint pretty pictures!” But, he moved away from that idea towards contemporary and conceptual art. Feeling nostalgia for his childhood, he settled on the tower blocks in Lea Green just outside Liverpool, specifically Churchill House, where he grew up.
In a case of art imitating life, Les’ first attempt at the cast proved too heavy to move, so he demolished it, repeating the fate of the tower blocks he grew up in.
Grace Darroch – HND Photography (Level 5)
Grace Darroch has some photographs on display, a mix of fashion, photographed at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton, and portraiture which shows skilful use of natural light.
One of her photos shows her sister, wistfully looking out of a window. Grace said, “I wanted just to show time going by.” – a point reinforced by including a collection of hourglasses in the image.
She said, “Finding that perfect spot is magical when working with natural lighting … it can create many different lighting techniques throughout your time photographing in a day.”
Jordan Whittle – BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration
Jordan Whittle certainly has a creative mind and the ability to transform those thoughts into surreal illustrations, usually depicting what he calls “monstrous creatures.”
Jordan makes watercolour sketches of his original ideas and then develops them as he makes the final illustration.
“I was adapting the sketches as I was making them [the final designs.] I knew things needed to be changed or to make it more interesting. I felt I needed to make it more interesting, more dynamic. In the original versions, they were stuck within the panel borders In the final versions, things come over the borders. It’s almost like it’s coming out. It makes it more three dimensional and engaging. These are things that over time naturally developed,” Jordan told us.
Sue Higginson, Principal of Wirral Met College said, “Being at the Williamson Art Gallery and displaying artwork from a student’s perspective really is the epitome of the journey they’ve been on during the lockdowns and COVID. To see the quality of our photography of fine art or illustration, animation is just wonderful!”
The Wirral Met ‘Fusion’ exhibition is free to enter and runs until 21 May 2022 at The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Slatey Road, Birkenhead, CH43 4UE.