New exhibition at the University of Chichester

New exhibition
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Four University of Chichester art students are pushing the boundaries with their latest show, Sintitulus, which continues at the Otter Gallery on the university’s Chichester campus until January 31.

Spokeswoman Catharine Russell said: “Charlie Rapley, Michelle Spencer, Tigerfox and Andrea Vassallo, who are all studying for a master of arts in fine art, are presenting a diverse range of work – from clothing as sculpture, painting and drawing, everyday items that are washed up on the beach and turned into objects of beauty, and an empty, dark space.”

Charlie Rapley is using items of clothing that have been drenched in resin to create stiff wall hangings that appear wet. She explains: “It is an illusion of materials.”

For her previous show, she used over a thousand tubes of silicone sealant mixed with powder paint to make sculptural paintings, and she is planning to experiment with chocolate and gelatine in the future: “My practice is material led, and I need to connect with the material.”

Michelle Spencer found art after her children grew up. When she left school, Michelle trained to become a hairdresser but decided to return to education to get some qualifications, although she was uncertain about which career path to take.

She said: “One day I was taking my daughter around art colleges when I realised I really wanted a career in art. I had that feeling you get when you are searching for something but you can’t find it and then when you find the thing, it was right under your nose in the first place.”

Since then she has gained a BA in fine art at the University of Chichester and is now mid-way through her MA. She describes her practice as ‘hybrid’ as she mixes figuration with abstraction and also combines drawing and painting.

She is inspired by many of the St Ives group of artists, in particular Sandra Blow, because of how she deals with scale and balance. For two years running, Michelle’s work has been shortlisted for the National Open Art Prize.

Tigerfox is another exhibiting artist in the MA show. She makes flower arrangements from objects that are washed up on the beach.

Andrea Vassallo grew up on the outskirts of Venice and studied interior design at the School of Art in Padua before moving to the UK in 2007. After a spell at the National Gallery in London, he moved to Chichester in 2011 to begin a BA in fine art.

He originally started out as a painter but has become more interested in people and their behaviour, he explains.

“Being able to give someone the option to lose control in a controlled environment, where people are placed under the spotlight, could give the possibility to discover emotions and interests embedded deep into our own personality.”

His work for the exhibition is a darkened room, the inside of which can be seen from the outside leaving those inside unaware they are on view.

“I want to see how people behave when they are unaware they are being watched,” he explained.

Between them, they say the title of the show, Sintitulus, is “a provocative, invented inscription literally meaning without title.”

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