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Review: Nottingham Trent University MA Show

Wednesday 25 July 2012

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Words Spindle

You have until the 28th July to see the M.A. show at Nottingham Trent University. Titled MA EXPO 2012, it includes the work of students from the schools of Art & Design and of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment. The shows are housed in the Bonington and Arkwright buildings. It is a visual delight to see; such a range of ideas, approaches and disciplines and interpreted in individual and creative ways. There is a really varied selection of work created and offered to the viewer.

NTU is respected for its fashion courses and the fashion projects created were strong and original. Diya Li’s pieces were unusual and caught the eye because of the silhouettes and proportions. Elegant but not delicate, dramatic but not showy, each garment incorporated pleating and ruffles and had a sense of contemporary versions of Victorian clothing.

Also in fashion, Fiona Mills’ innovative Zero Waste Pattern Cutting practically explored how economic pattern placement could be combined with design to create fashion garments which could be produced with minimal fabric waste.

In another part of the Bonington building is Fine Art. I have often been bemused by Fine Art in the past as it can be something of a triumph of the conceptual over the visual, but there were some engaging shows this year.

Lauren O’Grady’s exhibition appealed to the whimsical side of human nature by creating little glimpses of 3D landscapes, like something that a Hornby train would drive around, punctuated with abstract crystalline forms.

Brenda Baxter combined a narrated video with an illustrated map of a particular part of Nottingham city centre. She looked at its position and began to see it as an island, surrounded not by water but roads, isolated and yet also connected and full of experiences.

Over in the Arkwright building are Architectural Design and Product & Smart Design. Smart Design is a new course at NTU, developed it seems to allow students to connect and engage with modern technologies.

At first glance Sophie Alidina’s exhibition didn’t capture my imagination however she came over to explain her work and the research she had done and I looked at it again. She has created pieces of lace which can capture and filter out air pollutants, meaning that her pieces could not only decorate homes, they could make them healthier places to be as well. The MA EXPO 2012 is full of imaginative and varied work; textiles to ceramics to furniture and much more, and what is good to see is that there is no ‘house style’, every student has expressed their own creative voice.

Words: Rose Davison