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Compelling artwork by DMU students opens to public

A diverse fusion of arts and technology is being showcased by 16 postgraduate De Montfort University (DMU) students at a gallery located in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter this weekend.

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A taste of Tiffany's photography

Demonstrating the breadth of work developed during the Fine Art and Digital Arts MA programmes, the exhibition gives students valuable experience in curating for a public event and the chance to unveil their final projects.

Held at Two Queens, an artist-led gallery co-established by a recent DMU graduate, it is open to the public on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September from 12-6pm.

Award-winning Fine Art student Tiffany Tangen is showcasing the latest in her documentary-style portrait photography, which focusses on builders and is edited to look like paintings.

The 23-year-old from Leicester said: “I enjoy capturing the ordinary in a way that makes it more beautiful. My work involves hours of editing and the tonal quality that emerges naturally is what determines the final colours of each piece.”

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An example of Paige's windmill installation

As one the many participating students who has benefitted from a Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship – offering PG tuition fee discounts of up to 50 per cent - Tiffany added: “Not only has DMU given me the chance to develop my art, it’s also enabled me to exhibit professionally.

“This year alone I’ve been lucky enough to hold 17 exhibitions, including at leading galleries in London and Brighton.”

Digital Arts student Paige Uttley-Plunkett is sharing an installation which captivates audiences through memories inspired by her grandfather, who used to create windmills as a hobby in his shed.

“DMU has developed my practice over the past four years, allowing me to realise my passion for building environments for the purpose of the audience’s experience,” said the 22-year-old from Middlesbrough. 

“The course also taught me how to code using Arduino and Processing which has been crucial to my recent work and has definitely impacted on my interest in working with technology.

“I’m very excited to be showing my work at Two Queens. Having the opportunity to exhibit in a professional gallery environment is an amazing end to my degree.”

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Doll catwalk, from Rebecca's documention of play with her daughter

Two of the other Fine Art students taking part in the exhibition are 24-year-old Niahm Meehan from Ireland and 38-year-old Rebecca Hobbs from Leicestershire.

Niahm, who is showcasing performance work based on the written and spoken word, said: “My work explores the inaccessibility of language based on conversations I’ve overheard and questions that I have.

“It’s a scripted durational piece, but will not be solely vocally performed. A piece of written matter will also feature somewhere in the performance, as text has always been important in my practice.”

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Having completed an Art and Design (Foundation Studies) followed by a Fine Art BA, Rebecca’s challenging exploration of her relationship with her young daughter is the culmination of six years at DMU. Her film, drawings and book document playtime with her now nine-year-old.

“I was a single mum when I started university, brought up by a single mum myself. In a society which idolises mothers, it’s still seen as taboo to talk about motherhood challenges which aren’t rose-tinted,” she said.

“Admitting that I didn't feel able to play with my daughter was hard as it should be such a natural ability. But by taking something autobiographical and turning it into something more abstract, I’m hoping people will find elements they can identify with.”

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Fashion photography will form part of Emmer's interactive projection

Digital Arts students participating include Cathie Taylor, a 49-year-old mother from Leicester, and 24-year old Emmer Cooksey from Middlesborough.

Cathie’s audio work is a powerfully personal account of her own mental health, based on a series of descriptive accounts outlining a “manic episode” caused by her bipolar disorder. 

The Media Production graduate, who is providing an immersive experience by combining audio with a 360 degree photograph, said: “I’m hoping to raise some awareness of mental health issues. They affect one in four people to varying degrees, yet it’s still spoken about in hushed tones.” 

Using 35mm film, Emmer’s is an interactive projection piece which utilises facial recognition technology to change colours depending on people’s reactions.

“I shot fashion photography on 35mm black and white film, which I developed and scanned in. It loops around like an Instagram post and I’ve deliberately left in coding glitches and errors to intrigue viewers,” she said.

“DMU has helped open a lot of doors for me. Thanks to the good facilities I’ve been able to focus on my passion for analogue photography and develop my digital skills alongside it.”

Posted on Monday 11th September 2017

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