Class of 2021: Traditional artistry reimagined with this year's graduates
The BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking course at Plymouth College of Art embraces both contemporary and traditional techniques, reimagining traditional artistry and allowing students to develop a distinct creative voice as a practicing contemporary artist.
Our 2021 Summer Shows celebrate the accomplishments of graduating students, with the Painting, Drawing & Printmaking students showcasing their work at Studio 11 from 2 to 8 July 2021. You can see a walkthrough of the show embedded below or on our YouTube channel.
Here we’ve showcased the excellence and innovation of this year’s graduating students by selecting a hand-picked few who have shown their passion, energy and appetite for success throughout the duration of their degree studies.
Award-winning artist Philip Battley was born in Plymouth, where he still lives and works. A former scaffolder, Philip began studying at Plymouth College of Art part-time in 2015. In 2019 he won the prestigious Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, which saw his work touring the UK. In the same year he also won the Pegasus Award for ‘Best Work on Paper’ at the South West Academy of Fine & Applied Arts Open 2019.
Philip’s practice, which at times borders on photorealism, traverses the parameters of painting, drawing and printmaking, creating paths and allowing him to approach his subjects in various mediums.
Philip said: “My work to some extent involves delving into social, political, and economic tensions that exist beneath life’s surface. I express what I want to say on these issues in my own way, subsuming information from varying sources and then coming to a conclusion through imagery.”
Phillip has exhibited work in London, Leicester, Salisbury and across the South West of England. In addition to acting as Chairman and Programme Secretary for Plymouth Arts Club, Philip has worked on a variety of external projects during his time at Plymouth College of Art, from set design and production for Port Eliot Festival and acting as Artist In Residence at Plymouth School of Creative Arts to collaborating on the city-wide visual arts project, We The People Are The Work.
Jo Hooper’s painting practice explores memory, liminal space and the artist’s embodied response to walking within the landscape.
Jo said: “I am particularly intrigued by the in-between states of twilight and dawn and am constantly lured by the emotive power of the interaction of colour. I use colour both instinctively and deliberately by working from memory and by viscerally responding to emerging forms on the canvas. I dissolve and layer paint to both reveal and conceal new patterns and colours and to play with light, translucence and luminosity.
Seeking to represent a sense of something ‘other’ in her work within the picture plane; a feeling of the genius loci of liminal space, Jo purposefully plays with the space between figuration and abstraction to explore an uncertain narrative within an uncanny sense of place.
Jo has exhibited in New York, USA, and Plymouth, UK. During her time at Plymouth College of Art, Jo has worked as a set painter at Port Eliot Festival, in addition to contributing to Plymouth Art Weekender, the Atlantic Project, and city-wide visual arts project, We The People Are The Work.
Cornish artist and printmaker Martine McPherson takes inspiration from the marine environment and coastline that surrounds her. Believing that art is a tool to engage conversation, connect people, inspire change and promote awareness, Martine is interested in the ways that the elements affect and alter the landscape and cause the change, often with devastating effects.
Martine said: “My work focuses on beauty and devastation, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the natural and manmade world. Recent work explores the medium of monoprint, where the changes that happen between the plate and finished image are reflected in the immediacy of the monoprint, a metaphor and parody for change.”
Martine has exhibited in Spain and across the South West of England, as well as participating twice in Tate Exchange, exhibiting at Tate Modern, London. She also contributed to ‘Art For Good…’, an art installation with artist Anthony Garratt, Newlyn School of Art and the National Trust, in which over one thousand artists painted at the same time on the coastal path at Sennen, Cornwall.
Specialising in painting and drawing, artist Ebony Jowitt comes from Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Colour plays an important role in Ebony’s work, often with a restricted palette and interrogation of contrasting colours, intended to break through harmony by forming a sense of unity through balance.
Ebony said: “My investigation starts with movement, predominantly outside of the home, within the rural environment. These walk-led paintings are an emotional understanding of the vast environments and how they are interpreted through limited memories. I paint in a way that allows the viewer to enter the walk with me, playing with the scale of my work to create an interactive world of colour and experience.
“Through my repetitive walking, I question the space that I walk through as it in turn becomes a place. One that is frequently visited both physically and mentally throughout my painting process.”
Ebony’s work is also on show for the rest of the summer at Barclays Bank in Plymouth City Centre as part of the IGNITE Festival of Creativity.
Plymouth-based artist Yazmine Labban is a qualified counsellor who has worked for Barnardo’s Charity.
Yazmine said: “My work is a journey through memories, stories passed down to me from my relatives. I am inspired by local history and seek to find the hidden pieces of untold information. I came to Plymouth College of Art thinking that I would explore and learn through paint, but I find drawing to be the foundation, and route in, to both printing and painting.
“I am interested in using tactility, sightlines and senses, to create the atmosphere which flows through my work. When Federico Fellini said “all art is autobiographical”, he wasn’t wrong - I think to make art is to seek something from the soul, a language that we engage in with ourselves which has a ripple effect when it then resonates with others.”
During her time at Plymouth College of Art, Yazmine illustrated a children’s book for Shekinah, the South West based charity for people experiencing homelessness.
Plymouth College of Art’s 2021 Summer Shows are part of the IGNITE Festival of Creativity, which connects creative graduates, businesses and members of the public in exciting new ways to spark employability, drive community engagement and develop new creative economy opportunities across Plymouth and beyond. IGNITE runs until 19 July, putting a unique spin on the traditional art degree show model by combining online technology with physical installations and exhibitions in community spaces to showcase work by graduates from Plymouth College of Art and the University of Plymouth.
IGNITE, which has been shortlisted in the 2021 HEIST Awards for Best Student Engagement Campaign or Initiative, is supported by Plymouth City Council as part of the iMayflower project, and by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund (administered by Arts Council England).