"Staging the end of year show at ACAVA studios is a brilliant opportunity for us, and really helps our students to make important connections in the city."
Anna Francis, Course Leader and Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice
Fine Art students from Staffordshire University are curating their first external art exhibition at a former pottery factory in Stoke.
The show titled 'Interfuse' includes a diverse collection of artwork ranging from video, sculpture, painting to installation and is being held at the former Spode Factory site, which has recently been transformed into artists' studios and exhibition space.
There is a strong focus on the environment throughout the exhibition and Becca Pemberton, 22 from Congleton, has constructed Perspex boxes filled will crushed plastic bottles, reminiscent of flatscreen televisions. Underwater scenes created by filming condensed milk and food colouring in water are projected through the transparent blocks and an original soundtrack, echoing the sounds of the sea, accompanies the installation.
She explained: “I'm interested in how people affect the environment and this piece looks at plastic pollution, especially in the ocean.
"When you enter the room you're absorbed by the sound and the imagery and you forget that there is something serious is happening."
Another video installation by Juliette Platts, 40 from Cheadle, explores the battle between man-made creations and nature. Television screens show footage of a polystyrene block trapped in a weir and a replica of the foam block in the studio omits recorded sounds of the water.
“I like to look for evidence of human interaction and human nature where it's unexpected. The polystyrene takes on human qualities as it’s moving around, like it is lost and doesn't belong.”
She added: “The foam block in the studio then plays back the sounds of the weir, as though it has taken something away from the place that it has been contaminating.”
Political themes also recur throughout the exhibition including portraits of world leaders in the guise of zombies, demons and sinister clowns. Another canvas shows the infamous image of a Syrian refugee child washed up on a beach alongside a photograph of a local homeless man lying in the street. A thick black band runs across both pictures and calls into question issues of censorship and media representation.
The exhibition spans several rooms at the ACAVA studios at Spode, which is the base for several Staffordshire University graduate artists, and will open to the public on Thursday 6 April.
Course Leader and Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice, Anna Francis said: “It is so important for our students to get out into the city to see what a thriving art scene is developing here. Staging the end of year show at ACAVA studios is a brilliant opportunity for us, and really helps our students to make important connections in the city.
“Some of our graduates have studios there now, so it's wonderful to catch up with them, and see how they are making it work as practising artists in Stoke. Our students and graduates know what a brilliant opportunity bidding for City of Culture is and this is our way of showing how they can be involved”
'Interfuse' opens on Thursday 6th April, 5-8pm at ACAVA Studios, Spode Works, Elenora St. Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 1QQ. The show continues on Saturday, 8th April 11am-4pm and Sunday, 9th April 11am-4pm. Find more information here
• This week first year Fine Art students will also host their first public show, 'Contingent' on campus. The exhibition opens on Thursday 6th April, 3-5:30pm at UniQube in Staffordshire University's Flaxman Building, College Rd, ST4 2DE and continues on Friday 7th April 10am-5pm and Saturday 8th April 10am-2pm.
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