Tradition meets contemporary practice – Painters to watch from Arts University Plymouth
Throughout their studies in a wide range of traditional and contemporary techniques, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing and Printmaking students at Arts University Plymouth undergo a comprehensive series of workshops and material demonstrations to develop their creative voices as contemporary professional artists.
This year’s Class of 2023 from Arts University Plymouth includes successful, award-winning students who have already earned a range of competitive awards, from graduate residencies at the Royal Drawing School’s Dumfries House and St George’s Ascot to nominations for prizes with the Freelands Foundation and the Brownston Gallery.
Following their successful season of Summer Shows, here’s a roundup of some of the most innovative and ambitious students from the University’s 2023 Summer Shows who are graduating in Painting, Drawing and Printmaking:
Charley Dyson is a painter and printmaker whose work often utilises mixed oil paints to capture abstract landscapes. Charley’s recent paintings have focused on the landscapes of Somerset, her home county. Her practice also includes drawing and printmaking, both of which give Charley a different perspective on her work before committing it to paint. During her time at Arts University Plymouth learned to create her own paints, mixing pigments and linseed oil.
Charley was selected for a distinguished two-week residency at the Royal Drawing School’s Dumfries House in Scotland starting in September 2023. Charley is also a resident printmaker at Ocean Studios, in the historic Royal William Yard, Plymouth and has exhibited her work throughout Plymouth, including Leadworks, a showcase at Barclays Bank in the city centre and at The Talk Shop in Stonehouse. Charley was awarded the Brownston Gallery Fresh Talent Award in 2023 for her mark making and use of colour.
Cate Rogers’ practice is focused around her interest in colour, line and the rhythm that flows from their interaction. Creating vibrant abstractions on wooden panels and paper is her response to the chaotic, disordered events of everyday life. By adopting techniques that include precision, order and repetition, this facilitates a meditative state of flow both in herself and the viewer.
Inspired by the likes of Agnes Martin and Bridget Riley, Cate creates intersecting lines to form a grid, providing a framework for her paintings. Nature and her countryside continue to influence her paintings. The changing hues, tints and shades of the land together with hedgerows and trees are observed through the seasons and broken down into simplistic marks to represent the experience of being present in that moment.
Cate’s work has been shortlisted for prestigious art competitions such as the Freelands Painting Prize and has been featured in exhibitions across the South West as well as at Alfred University, New York.
Bethany Smyth is an artist and painter whose recent work at Arts University Plymouth explores her journey with religion and grieving. Bethany has addressed her fears and anxieties related to death by using skulls as a subject matter. Growing up in an Irish Catholic home, she was exposed to death as a young child through the wakes and funerals that she attended regularly. Bethany explores her own experience of losing faith, which took place in her late teens and early twenties.
Bethany’s work communicates the role in which women play during the waking process in her upbringing. She uses red to represent the presence of religion, and yellow to represent the energy of her mother and other women who have given her newfound courage during her bereavement. Depending on the painting, you can determine where Bethany is in her journey of accepting her loss in faith as the two colours battle for attention.
Bethany was selected for a prestigious residency at all girl’s boarding school St George’s Ascot, based in Berkshire. The residency will take place from September 2023 until July 2024 where she will live and work at the school, while also teaching workshops and creating her own art in the on-site studio.