One knows by now that entering a student art exhibition in Oxford is a move made at one’s own peril, as there is always the risk of leaving with a lingering awe-ache inspired by the talent it hosts. Tuesday night was no deviation from the norm. Collaborating to provide us with a tasteful mix of artistic styles, the Oxford Art Movement and Oxford Photography Society are currently holding a celebration of Oxford’s talent in an impressive five-day student exhibition, ‘The Body Electric’. UV paintings, ambitious human photography, footage projection of bodies wrapped in cling film and walls curtained by poetic ornament; it is safe to say that our fellow undergrads lack no collective variety in the work they produce, and no professionalism either.
The theme – ‘The Body Electric’ – despite lacking some Christmas festivity during Oxmas, was nonetheless a stimulus that spurred some impressive interpretation. Not only were there copper anatomic sculptures and a multi-socket extension lead wired into the word ‘body’ but some artists had been led wonderfully astray into the depths of exploring the intricacies of hue on canvas, as well as the intricacies of typology.
With the perpetual dim-lighting that is Freud, the venue provided no more than a low-key limelight for the hanging tableaux – an ingenious incentive for up-close appreciation. This intimacy was limited to the walls of the gallery, enclosing a spaciousness through which one could easily still sashay, ‘free cocktail’ in hand. The effect was therefore a satisfying balance between the grandiose and the familiar.
It is needless to say that the OAM and OPS succeeded in providing a deserving group of Oxfordians with an artistic platform, including some of our very own 1st years – Dominic Hand and Sofia Crespi de Valldaura.
Indeed, Sofia herself, who was at the launch of the exhibition had her own views on the evening. She told The Poor Print that:
“although the event was well-organised and the artwork compelling, it didn’t manage to attract masses, perhaps due to the steep £6 entry (including a cocktail), or the fact that it was six hours long, which dispersed the crowd. As a church-turned-cocktail bar, Freud is the perfect venue for art-related events, but its size means that it is hard to fill. That said, atmosphere was very lively at times, and quite a few people swing-danced to the live jazz band, but at no point was it packed. Still, this did not detract from the beauty of the music/painting/poetry combination, and it was nevertheless an enjoyable celebration of student artwork. I was very glad to participate and hope similar future events have a larger turnout—it would be great to see more people supporting such initiatives.”
The installation is in place until Thursday – take a quick trip northward to pay tribute to a selected group of Oxford creators that will make your visit well worth it!