Wealth of young creative talent on show at The Base, Greenham
GENerate: Exhibition by students from Newbury College, Mary Hare School for the Deaf, Downe House, Cheam School, Basingstoke College of Technology and iCollege Alternative Provision at The Base, Greenham until Sunday, January 29
Review by LIN WILKINSON and pictures by PHIL CANNINGS
THE exhibition currently running in the gallery at The Base is a showcase in a professional setting for artwork by students from six local schools, sixth-forms and colleges, working in a variety of media.
Thoughtfully curated by The Base team (Stephanie Johnson, Camilla Dingee, Teia-Lee Smith and Rhia Whitnell), it’s a colourful and diverse show, with work by both individuals and groups, the students ranging from 11 to 19 years of age.
Among the ceramic work, Picasso-esque heads by iCollege students are hung as a panel. Mary Hare students show two collections of wall-mounted pieces, one a quiet group of small decorated blue and white plates, hand-pressed and glazed, with allusions to traditional Dutch work. Portrait of Katie from Francesca (Mary Hare) is a very competent, fired-clay representational head. Cheam students show mugs and pumpkins, the latter plump and brightly glazed.
There’s a strong panel in various media ranging from digital painting to paint markers by Newbury College students, exploring a variety of approaches and styles, but all taking images of the late Queen Elizabeth II as their starting point. They range from formal, conventional images, to the influence of Warhol and Lichtenstein. One bears textual fragments relating to the Queen; a black and white image breaks up a conventional profile with layered geometrical elements; Haydan’s image is cartooned.
Repeat by Susannah from Downe House is a pleasing, photographically layered black and white composition of hands and skull-like facial features. The influence of May Ray comes to mind. Destructive Portrait by Airlie (Downe House) is a composite photographic image of deconstructed, atomised heads, formally arranged. Vincent (Mary Hare) shows an intriguing black and white digital print of stairs in Malta, nicely seen and here treated as a composition of abstract geometrical elements.
There’s strong textile work to enjoy, with several striking jackets by Downe House students. The jackets are adorned with fragments of fabric – knitted, sewn and embroidered ̶ and found objects, lending the surfaces rich colour and materiality. Students from Mary Hare, clearly following the same brief, show three very pleasing felt, appliqué and embroidered wall-pieces. Assemblages with a semi-abstracted feel, their surfaces are dotted with motifs made of scraps of fabric and knitted elements. In the textile landscape Kingsclere Fields by Damian (Basingstoke), the materials lend undulation and form.
Star Wars from Basingstoke student Steven comprises two nicely drawn, illustrative heads. Ruby, a fellow student, works in drawing, paint, ink and acrylic, exploring human vulnerability in her two images of half-obscured and distorted female faces.
There’s a variety of 2D work from Cheam students. Nina shows a pleasing pen and wash drawing of an antlered skull, and Sam a small, very competent female portrait, conventional in approach and style, except for the use of some non-realistic colour.
The hard, sharp, glistening treatment of Joann’s (Downe House) resin-coated acrylic mimics the properties of the compositional elements; Athina’s acrylic King Crab is assured in technique and composition.
There’s humour in the painted cardboard animal heads by iCollege students. Kitty (Newbury College) shows Chronic Pain, an unsettling mixed-media female torso, like a dressmaker’s dummy, wreathed in barbed wire. The text elements reference unthinking reactions to another’s pain.
Open Wed-Sun 10am-5pm, free entry.