24 April 2014

A diverse exhibition of Foundation Art & Design students at the Pitt Rivers and the
Museum of the History of Science in Oxford

In March the Foundation Art and Design students exhibited their work at Pitt Rivers and The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. This was the fifth year that Oxford Brookes Foundation course has collaborated with the Pitt Rivers and Museum of the History of Science. Fine Art and 3D Design students responded with great enthusiasm to the theme of Need, Make Use, exploring why humanity has created design solutions for certain everyday needs.

The Fine Art students took a subversive viewpoint; Lucy Ralph’s Bow, Arrow and Knives are encrusted with nails causing pain to the perpetrator of the weapons. Likewise the jewellery of Willa Hilditch would harm the wearer in the same way as animal traps found at the Pitt Rivers collection. Beth Warnock draws attention to the inevitable lifecycle of objects, for example, our houses, which are often destroyed by, fire or left derelict to rot. In fact Kiah Endelem-Music has carefully archived the detritus we leave behind, which in itself tells us a lot about the owner and society in general. Time is a universal need; without it, all order could be lost. Time and its passing is experienced differently by each and every one of us. Chloe Abrahams at the Museum of the History of Science gives us a film of six different clock faces each showing a different time, which represents six individual’s different perspective or experience of what time it actually is.

Pitt Rivers and the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford

This year the 3D Design students’ predominately chose to infiltrate the museums by creating works that slotted into the collections’ history. Oliver East's period based mechanised hand, relying on the hydraulic technology of the time, could surreptitiously intervene within the cases of Victorian medical equipment at the Museum of the History of Science, whilst Lina Noueira's religious relics present objects from both the past and distant future, with a naive handcrafted quality that ensure that they wouldn’t look out of place within the cases of a museum collection. Other pieces reflect contemporary social issues, like Noami Cessford's peanut bowl. This acknowledges tribal husk bowls whilst also referencing contemporary societies wastefulness with regard to food. Iona Williamson also addresses issues relating to food in her piece entitled 'Pointed Reminder', which responds to the obesity epidemic of the 21st century.

Pitt Rivers and the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford

The Brookes Foundation course values the opportunity to work on a real-life exhibition project where students’ work is carefully selected by staff from both museums. This experience, often a mixture of elation and disappointment for students accepted or rejected, is an essential part of the learning process of being an artist and designer. The Pitt Rivers and the Museum of the History of Science are evocative places full of surprise and wonder. They provide artists and students alike with an immense resource, which, whilst helping to unravel the mysteries of the past, gives an indication towards future creativity.

This year the exhibition could not have happened without the help of fellow colleagues, Helen Stokes and Chris Taylor both lecturers on the Foundation course at Brookes.

The exhibition at Pitt Rivers is part of the Use, Make, Need events supported by Verve - Heritage Lottery funding.