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Review: ‘Waves’, the Norman Rea Gallery

Photo credit: The Norman Rea Gallery
Photo credit: The Norman Rea Gallery
Photo credit: The Norman Rea Gallery

This week the new exhibition of the Norman Rea Gallery, the on-campus gallery, opened its doors.  Many students embraced ‘Waves’ on its opening exhibition evening. This was my first time stepping foot in the gallery and I wish I had done it before my third year of university! If you haven’t already, it is certainly worth having a look around. The art on show was from a range of students curated by Brooke Balesi: Jonathan Notley, Mathilda Della Torre, Florence Goodhand-Tait, Charlotte Ager and Nolij. All the artwork is being sold in aid of Surfers Against Sewage. The exhibition showcases a fantastic amount of talent among our students at the University and I am looking forward to see more of their work in the future!

An eclectic collection of different media made up the artwork, including ceramics, paintings and even an acrylic mobile. As a whole the exhibition brought to the forefront the beauty of the seas and coastlines across the UK. On entry to the gallery the first thing that catches your eye is the stunning colour of the installation that dominates the room. The different types of acrylic creates an immersive experience. Although on closer viewing it looked a little unrefined, it was impossible not to want to walk through it. The photographs and paintings evoked a certain sense of nostalgia. Some the paintings had a kind of childish quaintness, particularly with two people playing in the sea. Personally, I found myself more attracted to the abstract paintings than any other part of the gallery. The use of such sophisticated palettes left me in no doubt as to why these collections were included in an exhibition entitled ‘Waves.’

However, despite the fantastic atmosphere of the exhibition evening, it was a shame that the gallery space was not used to its full advantage – with some of the ceramic work being almost hidden away in the corner of the room. My desire to see more artwork in this exhibition was certainly not easy to ignore, although the small number of quality pieces should not be a reason to condemn the exhibition. There was also certainly a range of opinions among the audience of the evening, as is often the case among such a large crowd. Yet comments such as ‘I could have done that’ seemingly missed the point of a wonderful and diverse collection.

‘Waves’ aims to raise awareness of pollution of our oceans by raising money for Surfers Against Sewage. The charity tackles a number of issues faced on our coastlines across the UK. This includes the improvement of water quality and raising awareness of the impact of climate change on ocean habitats. Currently, the largest project of SAS is combating plastic marine litter;  as plastics can also attract toxic chemicals, they become increasingly harmful over time. There is even the possibility of these plastics entering the food chain when mistaken for food by fish, seabirds, marine mammals and other organisms. Over 100,000 marine mammals and over 1 million seabirds die every year from ingestion of and entanglement in marine litter.

The ‘Waves’ exhibition runs until the 10th February in the Norman Rea Gallery (above the Courtyard in Derwent). The gallery is open between 9am and 6pm Mon-Fri.

Sources: https://www.sas.org.uk/, http://www.normanreagallery.co.uk/