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Review: Norman Rea Summer Exhibition - "The Circle"

The Norman Rea offers 'The Circle', which makes for a fascinating collection of pieces, some with more obvious links to the theme of circles than others, but all nonetheless thought-provoking. Lauren Spence reviews.

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Curated by: Ayomide Sanwo and Ally Trimble
Venue: Norman Rea, Campus

The Norman Rea Gallery's annual summer exhibition gives students and lesser-known local artists a chance to showcase their work in the campus-based art space above Courtyard. Monday night saw visitors and students gather for a drinks reception to celebrate the opening night. This year's theme is 'The Circle', which makes for a fascinating collection of pieces, some with more obvious links to the theme than others, but all nonetheless thought-provoking.

The work which first struck me was the aptly-titled Spin Cycle, by Tim Pierce. Featuring what seems to be an actual section of a washing machine door, this encloses a circle of chunky sculpted shapes. The result is a piece brimming with movement, despite its stillness: a mass of swirling yet static colour. Next to this is a group of four rather small paintings by Anna Gammans, entitled Sydney, London, Agra and Shanghai respectively; perhaps it is the inspiring, global nature of these pieces which links them into the exhibition's theme. They may be slightly dwarfed by the works either side of them, but they are nevertheless impressive. The brightly coloured brush strokes at right-angles to each other create strikingly stylistic pieces, while the effect as a whole gives rise to a surprising realism, despite the unnatural hues.

There are too many works displayed to mention each separately, but another notable example is Lily Grant's short documentary The Clrcle, a study of one man's preparation and eating of a meal, endlessly looped in order to highlight the underlying messages about eating disorders. Along the back wall is an assortment of sculptures by Ann Decker, individually endowed with a variety of names, from Gold Pool to Sea Urchin. Beside these is Jonothan Exon's Memoriale Des Martyrs De La Deportation, Paris, a simple yet elegant monochrome piece. On the opposite side of the gallery space, Felicia Morizet's Philipa is a masterfully crafted depiction of a barn owl, mid-flight, in fine-point pen.

'The Circle' theme is also the theme for this year's Arts Awareness Week, a collaboration between the Norman Rea Gallery, SAASY, and Art History Society. Events will be running throughout week 8, culminating in a closing exhibition party at Orillo Productions, Apollo Street (just off Heslington Road). There will also be an auction of professional artists' crafted postcards, with the proceeds going to charity.

'The Circle' will be on display in the Norman Rea Gallery throughout week 8.

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1 Comment

Ailish Trimble Posted on Monday 6 Jul 2020

Hi, thank you for the positive review and really glad you enjoyed the exhibition. Just wanted to mention that the exhibition is actually on until the end of term.


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