Focus on the unusual at Show and Tell 2016

"I'm interested in the irrational and functions of the imagination. Like Heath Robinson's pictures, these perhaps are nonsense answers to deeper metaphysical questions.”

Michael Deville, BA (Hons) Photography

Fantastical machines, a new twist on the term 'Bone China' and super-sized animal sculptures are some of the diverse works on show at Staffordshire University's annual Art and Design degree show.

Show and Tell 2016 celebrates the final year work of hundreds of students and opens on Friday 10 June at the University's College Road site before opening to the public on Saturday 11 June.

BA (Hons) Photography student Michael Deville has produced images of fantastical contraptions influenced by Heath Robinson's illustrations of complicated gadgets.

Michael's machines wouldn't look out of place in Wallace and Gromit, featuring everyday items like kettles and toasters connected with string and cogs. The devices seem like ingenious inventions but on closer inspection are totally implausible.

He explained: “They're pointless and crazy! I'm interested in the irrational and functions of the imagination. Like Heath Robinson's pictures, these perhaps are nonsense answers to deeper metaphysical questions.”

Michael built the 8ft x 4ft contraptions in front of camera and each photograph took two weeks to complete. He added: “It was a lot of work but I really enjoyed it and hope people will find my photos intriguing and fun.”

BA (Hons) Illustration student Jamielea Jones fell pregnant during her second year of University but after taking time out to have children has returned to complete the course.

She said: “The tutors have been really supportive and I think having my children has really helped me grow creatively and be more organised with my time!”

The 26-year-old from Crewe has designed a range of ceramic-ware inspired by the Hunterian Museum which houses a fascinating collection of anatomical specimens.

She said: “I've always found scientific and medical imagery really interesting. It's not what people traditionally associate with beauty but I think skeletons and body parts can actually be really beautiful.”

Jamielea's ‘Bone China’ collection features detailed illustrations of eyeballs, skulls and bones on plates and cups.

“It's probably not what you'd want to eat your tea off! But I really like the idea of representing something a bit unusual on things as normal and everyday as dinner plates.”

Following in the footsteps of her mother who graduated from the same course last year, BA (Hons) Fine Art student Lisa Nash explores our relationship with animals in a series of photographs, animation and and striking sculptures of rabbit like creatures.

She said: “It was really useful to see my mum go through the process before me and it's been great to have her support with my project.”

“It's based on that idea of getting a puppy or kitten for Christmas but a few months down the line, when they’re not small and cute anymore, people lose interest.”

Lisa's artwork shows the small animals being cradled by human hands and features sculptures which create an air of uneasiness for the audience.

“I wanted to represent the conflict between those different feelings in my work – the initial love and admiration that turns into apathy. You don’t quite know the intention of the person who's holding the rabbit.”

Show and Tell 2016 will feature the work of more than 300 Art and Design students from 20 courses including photography, crafts, graphics, animation and surface pattern.

The exhibition is open to the public from Saturday 11 June – Saturday 18 June. Opening times can be found here.

See more of the student work on the University's YouTube channel.




Amy Platts
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