Davey Steadham

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2014 by newtalent



Caroline Hamilton

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2012 by newtalent

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‘Departure Lounge’ 2012

The ‘New Talent’ area reveals recent works from Sunderland University’s Fine Art and Photography, Video and Digital Imaging courses.

Caroline Hamilton’s work examines how different cultures have dealt with our ‘departure’ from this world to the next one. Hamilton is particularly interested in how our great-great-grandparents – the Victorians – dealt with death and mourning.

Her photo-collage presents an intervention at a stately home, involving two fictional Victorian ladies seemingly in conversation. The headless figures pose in the alcoves of a Victorian gothic chapel, shrouded in equally gothic gloom, whilst sporting kaleidoscopic, brilliant colours. The panel is covered in soil, just as we will be in due course. The eternal problem remains: how can we imagine not being ourselves? Is it possible to imagine, as one mythical figure famously does, still seeing the world “when I am laid in earth”?

The figures themselves are kinds of three-dimensional paintings – their elegant costumes being splattered and slathered with paint. In the middle of the photograph, a hot pink wax death mask of the artist, seemingly all too flushed with life, holds centre stage. The face is set inside the shape of a clock – an age-old symbol for the passing of time, and for its consequences for our mortal bodies.

Sara Punshon

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2012 by newtalent

‘Phantasmagoria’ 2012


Under a leak in the gallery roof, where moisture has entered the building, small fungi have started growing. Sara Punshon secretes flora and fauna into the gallery, which we encounter almost subliminally in our peripheral vision, if at all.


Punshon notes of this work, “Mushrooms are renowned for their rapid growth whilst also being a token of decay, and consequently death. However, these artificial productions are neither living nor dead, instead remaining in a state of inertia.” The work demonstrates what she calls “a level of control imposed over the ‘natural order’ of life” – where seasonal fungi, quick to grow and quick to die, are ‘frozen’ in time. Art freezes time, as well as enabling us to think about “the bitterness or resentment we can feel towards change, ‘growth’, and our own journey towards death.” What she calls the “pseudo-realistic” nature of the sculptures invites us to consider how we recognize what is ‘real’. In ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Alice talks to a caterpillar sat atop of a mushroom, saying “one doesn’t like changing so often, you know” when she grows and shrinks by eating the fungus. ‘Phantasmagoria’ is “an illusionary and impossible situation, whose nature perhaps reflects the common hallucinogenic symptoms associated with certain species of mushroom.”

Lee Cutter

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2012 by newtalent

Lee Cutter’s work asks us to imagine how we have changed and may yet change again over a long timescale. He looks at his own past and personal transformations often through unexpected means. None of us remain the same over the course of our lives. But how can we understand the processes by which we change? As Cutter says: “I am interested in transforming my experiences, feelings and memories into art. I look at how the mind can change, in response to new surroundings and new knowledge, and over time.”

On the screen adjacent, an ice cube melts until a toy figure is completely revealed. The change of state is enormous, but imperceptible from a glance: the work lasts a whole hour. It invites us to consider how we ordinarily live in the moment, but can only gauge who we have become – and how – by imagining what state we will take in the long term, and how our behaviour is patterned. On the wall, a text work poses a similar problem. Cutter makes an analogy between physical transformations that chemical elements in the natural world undergo, and our own personal transformations over the course of our lifetime. What is it that changes in us, and why?


Untitled 2012  [wall text]


Untitled 2012



Jane Evans

Posted in Uncategorized on June 8, 2012 by newtalent

‘New Talent’ reveals brand new work by exceptionally promising graduates and final year students from Sunderland University. Jane Evans’s works are inspired by the revolutionary art and architecture of the early twentieth century, and the brilliant, pure colours of sculpture from the 1960s like Anthony Caro’s. She is also fascinated by the geometry and vivid hues of Islamic art.

Evans creates sculptures that make heavy, thick sheets of steel appear elegant or almost weightless. She folds her material almost like origami, to create twisting, complex shapes that allow each to adopt a different position. Evans’s objects might appear to be a cross between the works made by two successive generations of British sculptors. One the one hand, we might see her works as (very) distant cousins of Henry Moore’s figures, encountered standing up or else lying down – as monumental, strangely gracious forms that resist any single interpretation. Certainly, some seem to rest on elbow-like joints to prop themselves up, and others stand proud. And each takes on a personality of its own through its individual stance. We might even think of the arrangement as akin to a group portrait, each character unified by their bold green background but distinguished with their unique colouring. At the same time, Evans’s works recall Anthony Caro’s more starkly modern and intensely colored abstract sculptures, made entirely from the hard, tougher industrial materials and hues of the modern world.

Davy Stedham ‘This is Only This’

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2012 by newtalent

Davy Stedham’s works ask us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes – or to imagine the other selves that we could yet become. ‘This is only this’ offers a ‘day in the life’ of any of us – or rather, shows the ‘days of the lives’ we could have, should we break out of our regular routines. As in the film ‘Groundhog Day’, every day begins the same way (‘wake up’) – but the rest is up to us.

Stedham notes: “This work explores the idea that we could choose to do any number of things, but we don’t. To pursue a travelling metaphor, we often assume we are like trains, instead of hikers. My work is based around the idea that we each live in our own subjective reality: we create our own narrative, and can only catch glimpses of others’ stories. The world is dense with lives, and we gather information about them constantly – though the ‘information’ is always tainted by the realities of those who report it to us.”

For Stedham, artists who have used language in their work such as Jenny Holzer, have been particularly influential. As have artists who create drawings that tell stories through language, like David Shrigley, Robert Crumb and Raymond Pettibon. He also cites writers as inspirations – especially those who combine the bleak and the beautiful, and the absurd with the comic and the wonderful, like Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien.

Naoko Shohi

Posted in current on July 22, 2011 by newtalent


Naoko Shohi

‘On the Globe’ 2011

‘Summer Holiday Memorial’ 2011

‘Back to the Ground’ 2011

NEW TALENT: Naoko Shohi
‘On the Globe’ 2011

‘Summer Holiday Memorial’ 2011

‘Back to the Ground’ 2011

Right to left. All works acrylic on canvas.

New Talent presents new work by young artists from the North-East of England, including recent graduates from the universities in the region.

Naoko Shohi is a Japanese painter whose work combines the bold colours and graphic cut-out forms of manga cartoons, with a delicate melancholy. Both the Japanese and English traditions of painting are renown for their use of watercolour, and Shohi adapts parts of both traditions to create something entirely new. Famously, watercolour requires exceptional skill and dexterity, as mistakes can never be erased or painted over. Creating a watercolour is, therefore, akin to a musical performance where no mark or gesture cannot be undone.

Shohi’s magical scenes often include human beings and animals in unexpected or even surreal combinations. In one of her other works, titled ‘Whales in Tokyo City’, we see exactly that: giant blue whales floating like zeppelins over an endless sea of tower blocks. The whales turn their eyes out to us, and, surprised to see us catching their eye, look back accusingly. It is as though we were impudent enough to challenge their authority on the planet, despite being only a fraction of their size.