In the digital age, social media platforms such as Instagram have widened the artistic landscape, offering emerging practitioners new arenas to showcase work. Free Range, the largest creative showcase in Europe, unites over 3000 undergraduates studying across the UK’s top 50 creative and academic institutions. Occupying three floors at Old Truman Brewery, London, the show offers viewers an interactive environment whilst providing the next generation of creatives with an expansive platform. Split into four categories: Fine Art; Photography; Design (Graphic and Fashion) and Interior Design & Architecture, the event demonstrates the multiplicity of ideas which shape today’s contemporary work.
For example, Norwich University of the Arts’ Beyond the Frame exemplifies the desire by emerging photographers to learn from the past to progress and solidify their practice. By examining the diverse textures found within artificial topographies, Holly Farndell presents cropped compositions of still life, swinging lights and cosmetics. Interrupted by silhouettes of anonymous hands and hopeful typography, the images comment on contemporary issues of gender, self-care and mental health. By utilising pink and golden tones, reminiscent of iconic Palm Springs landscapes, the series is both familiar yet refreshed, highlighting the importance of visual rhetoric and emphasising how practitioners are in a constant conversation with the past.
Investigating notions of selfhood, Angela Harrington’s Entwine, featured above, explores representations of identical twins through uncanny compositions. The body of work forms part of Arts University Bournemouth’s EYEWASH exhibition and offers a surreal reflection on ideas of personal and collective identity. As figures interweave against bold backdrops, the images subvert established styles of portraiture, offering new perspectives on ideas of autonomy. Moving into the realm of architecture, featured artist Karen Balding’s series explores the structural conventions of Art Deco. By depicting buildings which have since been lost to demolition, the practitioner highlights the importance of memory and nostalgia whilst considering the conventions of historic documentary photography.
Free Range runs from 14 June – 16 July. Find out more here.
1. Angela Harrington, from Entwine.