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October 20, 2016

Norman Rea Gallery – The Circle, Arts Awareness Week 2013

by Zahir

The student-run Norman Rea gallery, in accordance with Arts Awareness Week invited York students and staff to submit their own work to be shown in the gallery’s final exhibition of the year.

As with any collaborative exhibition, it is difficult to have an overarching sense of coherence. As none of the artists created their works in discussion with eachother there is no linking factor other than the loose theme, ‘the Circle’. However, this meant that there was a large variety of work and the brilliant curation by Aily Trimble and Ayomide Sanwo brought often incompatible mediums together in an inspired way.

The stand-out work of the evening has got to be Emily Garthwaite’s ‘Hindu Gods’ series. The stunning trio of photographs contrasted dull, urban surroundings with the vibrant colours of the Hindu God figures. Having completed a Foundation year at Central Saint Martins, Garthwaite is now working towards a career in photography and is certainly one to watch.

Another beautiful photographic work was Jonathan Exon’s ‘Memoriale des Martyrs de la Deportation’. The simple black and white photograph of a flock of birds neatly encircling the composition contrasted with the bright colours of Suzanne Decker’s excellent glasswork pieces.

I was pleased to be introduced to the work of the University’s resident artist, Ann Decker. It is a shame that the University doesn’t provide more opportunities for students to see her work. Her small ceramic sculpture, ‘Gold Pool’ encouraged a number of visitors to tiptoe over the high shelf on which it was displayed in order to better see the intricate ‘pool’ of gold.

It was refreshing to see a number of video works exhibited, as the medium is often overlooked and has not been shown so far this year at the Norman Rea gallery. Jordan Licht’s ‘Nighthawks’ was an interesting study of Edward Hopper’s painting by the same name.

Tim Pierce’s unusual medium for his piece, ‘Spin Cycle’ of a washing machine door notably stimulated conversation. The bold colours and interesting shapes in the washing machine door attempted to imply movement, aided by our preconceptions of the washing machine and the title of the artwork.

The Outside space in the area between the gallery and Courtyard seemed oddly disparate from the rest of the gallery. However, the interactive artwork encouraged audience participation and a great opportunity for the gallery’s visitors become a part of the exhibition.

This interesting collection of mediums and artists proves to be a thought provoking and surprisingly high quality exhibition. This was an excellent celebration of the end of the year and hints towards what will hopefully be another successful year for the gallery.’

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