29 June 2017
Review by Jane Sunbeam, photographs by Danielle Vaughan
The Foundation Show at De Montfort University gave its visitors a diverse and exciting experience this year – full of individual character and visions. The students on this course work their way through a variety of modules that all lead towards one final project. These modules are: Researching, Recording and Responding, Media Experimentation, Preparation and Progression, Information and Interpretation, Personal Experimental Studies, Extended Media Development and Final Major Project.
Amil Darwood, 'Sugar & Spice', textiles
We arrived on the 10th floor to a feast of rich textures and colours from the Fashion and Textiles students. Bright, knitted garments greeted us and were displayed alongside futuristic, Blade-Runneresque clothing made from transparent PVC which cleverly incorporated circuit boards.
Students used a range of different techniques, with some screen-printing fabrics and others choosing to focus more on weaving, dressmaking, sculptural clothing and machine and hand embroidery.
We were treated to a variety of different subject matter, from an exploration of African Kente textiles to architecture, spices, seasons, organic forms, deterioration, decay and more. The final pieces ranged from textile samples which hung delicately from the ceiling to beautifully made lampshades, wallpaper samples and garments.
The vibrancy and colour was a treat to the eyes, with students carefully choosing limited palettes that emphasised the message of their project.
Each student had followed a very individualistic path which was very apparent as we progressed through the show and as we visited the Lens Based, Digital Media and Visual Communication Department this continuation was evident, with students exploring numerous different media and themes.
Lewis Wells, 'No Comply'
This refreshingly contemporary department had clearly seen students exposed to a wide range of techniques and encouraged them to follow their strengths. We saw subtly layered photographs on the theme of Corruption sitting adjacent to quirky stylised illustrations on the theme of love.
Jessica Martins, 'Lost Dreams'
Black and White work was just as prevalent as bright colourful pieces, with graphic lino cuts based on the theme of Lost Dreams - with etched glass statements in front such as “I wanted to be a Landscape Gardener” making the viewer pause for a moment’s reflection.
Arthur Kems' Love' (detail)
Other pieces included exploration of identity, from large photographs zoomed in to focus on objects that portray identity, to an investigation of a similar theme using branding.
Animation was also explored by these students, and one example of this was an animation based on the theme of Security and Danger in which quirky creatures morphed and changed during their journey across the screen.
Heather Bolton, 'More than Meets the Eye', glass
The next department on our exploration through the show was 3D Design. Again, this was a brilliant showcase of student’s talents – from Contemporary Furniture Design in the form of bold and futuristic sofas to Glasswork that would sit happily in any contemporary gallery.
Strong metal formations were explored in relation to their usage, and triangular pods that interlocked were explored in relation to product design.
Our final department to visit was Fine Art, and this clearly is a bold and dynamic department.
Alexandra Turner, 'Fears and Phobias'
Amongst the works being shown were Sculptures, Installations, animations, paintings and monoprints. Bold and personal pieces were being shown, from a powerful cast body, suspended that gave the viewer a sense of awe, to poignant animations that explore the themes of self harm, depression and cancer.
Donavon Lenton, 'Relentless Numbness' - detail of animation frames, charcoal
One of these animations Relentless Numbness by featured both footage of the artist and also painstakingly drawn frames, rendered in charcoal. All set to a soundtrack written by the artist – all of which left the viewer holding back powerful emotions.
Emma Pears, 'Skin Deep'
It is a testament to the teaching team in this department that brings out such commanding voices in young students. Other pieces that stood out were large scale monoprinted portraits entitled Skin Deep, which made statements about rawness and identity, pop art inspired paintings and thought-provoking installations.
The Foundation show was a great success, and it was truly wonderful seeing the talent from the next generation of artists and designers emerge. A few of the students are heading directly into employment with the majority going on to study on degree courses - their future studies further emphasising the diversity of influences the students have been exposed to during their Foundation course.
Georgia Myatt. 'Sculptural Architecture'
Textile and Fashion students are specialising in studies such as Contour Fashion, Costume for Theatre and Screen, Fashion Buying and Trends and also Textile Design.
Students from other departments are furthering their studies in Fine Art, Sculpture, Graphic Communication, Photography & Video, Game Art, Product Design and 3D Crafts.
Lyn Ashwood, 'Motherhood - Emotion and Encapsulating Moments in Time'
The destination universities and colleges are also just as varied with some travelling to universities such as UAL, Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton.
What was surprising and refreshing to see though, is the number of students from each department choosing to stay and continue their studies at DMU Leicester – from Textiles, Fashion, Illustration and Fine Art.
We wish all the students a bright and prosperous future, and best of luck in their studies. They all seem to have been given a sturdy foundation from which to leap forth from and build onto!