University of Chichester students "semi-skimmed" for new art show

Semi-Skimmed offers an exhibition of selected degree show works by graduating fine art BA (hons) students at the University of Chichester.

Some of the students
Some of the students

The exhibition runs until Saturday, June 30, 10am-5pm (closed Sundays), free entry at the University’s artOne building, College Lane.

Fine art lecturer Tim Sandys-Renton said: “The idea behind this extra show called Semi-Skimmed is that the main fine-art BA degree show happens in mid-May when all our potential applicants (ie AS students) are hard at work at school, and their teachers are busy overseeing exams etc.

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“Each year we’ve tried to engage with schools, particularly those outside Chichester who may not know us so well, suggesting visits etc, but generally they’re too busy to do anything new. So this show is about finding ways for them to see us when it’s a bit more convenient for them!

“We couldn’t just extend the dates because all our MA fine art students use the building over the summer to make new work and we couldn’t get in their way (their MA show is open Sept 10-18 and you’re all welcome to come along) so I thought why not do a re-hang, a selected BA show’ taking up a smaller area of artOne? In trying to communicate this idea to my colleagues I said ‘it’s like semi-skimmed milk’ in that it’s still really good but some of the excess has been taken off.’ Eveybody got that, and the title stayed! So when the main BA show came down and the students got their final grades at the end of May, we sent off any works that had been sold and I asked all the students if I could keep back a couple of the remaining works from each of them or if they’d make a new arrangement. Because it was somewhat smaller and more condensed the hanging process was simple, so now we have ‘semi-skimmed’ for anybody who missed the main ‘full-fat’ version.

“The BA students themselves are now metamorphosing into graduates as they’ve all finished their degrees. The university is calculating their final amalgamated mark. We’re sitting through lengthy exam boards at the moment, and in the autumn they’ll all be given their awards!

“Most of our students will carry on being artists in one way or another, but most are looking for jobs now to pay the bills. Some will be doing a PGCE to become art teachers, others will be going to do all sorts of other things that’ll use their innate creativity, but all of them have proved that their creativity is unique and special. Their individual vision is fascinating and rich.

“Creativity is one of those things that can’t be easily valued; it’s a life skill, something that enables you to engage with the world with confidence and enthusiasm, changing things for the better in small ways, as well as offering something that, with perseverance and determination, can grow into a rewarding freelance career as an artist. From my perspective this degree show, both full-fat and semi-skimmed, was another amazing surprise! No year is the same as any other, and each year has its amazing qualities. This year my over-riding impression was that of being a bit edgy. Some of the artists took real risks. They had something they really wanted to tell the world, they challenged the viewer (and the university) and didn’t simply try to make things that would look good on your wall. Having said that, the students sold a lot of work, so a lot of it would look great on your wall too!”