Cambridge School of Art students 'celebrate' degree projects at prestigious Ruskin Gallery venue

Published: 2 March 2007 at 16:05

Over 100 students from the Cambridge School of Art (CSoA) at Anglia Ruskin University are to showcase their talents in a major forthcoming exhibition (22 June–3 July) which will be open to members of the public at the University’s prestigious Ruskin Gallery at East Road, Cambridge.

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The final-year undergraduate students from the regionally and nationally acclaimed School will be ‘celebrating’ their achievements by showing a vibrant selection of art in the beautifully restored gallery, named after the Victorian scholar and founder of the School, John Ruskin.

The exhibition will be launched with a Private Viewing (21 June) on the evening before the start of the event.

Work displayed in the main gallery and surrounding art studios at ground floor and balcony level will represent the creative outpourings of student illustrators, fine artists, fine art printmakers, photographers and graphic designers. Craig Langton of the Ruskin Gallery explains:

“This show is truly stunning in terms of its diversity ranging from the extremes of graphic design to fine art. These are young students, who are ready for professional practice, are constantly challenging the boundaries of art and education; and for this reason bring something truly original and unique to their study.”

“This is one not to miss for anyone who has a fascination with fresh ideas in art and design. Whether it is drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, advertising, film production, fashion or media and photography, it will all be here on show for the public to savour and enjoy.”

“The Ruskin Gallery is now becoming known as one of the most prestigious exhibition spaces in the Eastern Region and this show is one of the largest, most dynamic and thought-provoking we will see here this year.”

BA (Hons) Photography student Daisy Zoll (34), with an exceptional eye for simple detail, is from Cambridge. She has been exploring the ephemeral evidence of people’s actions throughout her university career.  Her work joins the long tradition of a creator’s fascination with existence.

She explains:

“I focus on things which usually arouse no comment, everyday items that play starring roles in our daily lives. Things which are, perhaps, overlooked until change occurs, when we begin to see past their immediate context.  These images start in a very small way to illustrate society’s terminal indecision and very transitory nature of care.”

“An isolated glove can hold our attention for far longer than a happy couple. A building on the cusp of destruction conjures up a morbid hold on us. Care is bestowed or withheld in an instant and we see this in a multitude of examples everyday, a dropped half sucked sweet, a waste ground of a front garden. Changing fortunes are found everywhere.”

Mature student Tracy Bonsall (41), from Bedfordshire, is studying for a BA (Hons) in Fine Art.  After working in languages and as an art technician within a school, she wants to be an art practitioner when she graduates after six years of mostly part-time study.

One of the exhibits Tracy will have on show is in acrylic on board entitled Birds Hill I. She explains the inspiration behind her work:

“I am interested in the relationship between the process of painting, and the image and time. I have become fascinated with construction and demolition sites because they are in a state of in-between.”

“The images in my recent paintings relate to partially demolished industrial buildings on a site in Letchworth. The voids in the veils of paint are derived from holes in debris netting and are intended to draw the viewer’s eye to a threshold between two spaces. The small scale of the paintings marks a shift from the large, looming structures to something more detailed and intimate.”

On the show itself, she comments:

“It’s a privilege to be showing my work in such a wonderful gallery space. This show brings everything together for us.”

Another final year student is Alison Dymond from Steeple Bumpstead, near Haverhill, who is studying a BA (Hons) in Illustration. She has been researching the life of travellers, nomads and gypsies and is planning to illustrate a poem about them by Russia’s greatest poet Alexander Pushkin.

She said:

“It is all to do with questioning the meaning of freedom and educated values which I find incredibly interesting.”

“My style has only just become apparent to me. I love to paint and always have. I mainly focus on colour, texture and composition and, most of all, I try to create a mood, an atmosphere with the use of paint. The main purpose of my work is to make the viewer feel something.”

On the same course is 27 year old Glenn Pickering from Cambridge. He has created a book of illustrations detailing lesser-known places of historical interest in London.

Glenn said:

Old London Town by author/illustrator Will Owen inspired this idea originally. It is a small hardback book published in 1921 that has sat on my father’s bookshelf for as long as I can remember”.

Although Will Owen’s book led Glenn to create his own guide for the capital, he was keen to make his version as contemporary as possible employing both traditional and digital techniques.

“I wanted to create a very individual book about one of the world’s most famous cities using methods that mirror what is happening in both London and illustration today. I hope that my book will inspire the reader to visit our capital, acting as a richly illustrated advocate for its varied history and culture.”

Alex Sandwell Kliszynski (32) from Cambridge is another accomplished BA (Hons) Photography student who will be exhibiting his work.  His oddly familiar but strikingly controversial series of human-dolls stems from a concern with the commoditisation of the body, particularly the female form.  He explains:

“We seem more and more to be surrounded by images of women as sex objects in the mass media, particularly the ‘lads’ magazine that often take the lowest common denominator approach to their male audience.”

His experiences of working with teenagers also suggest that some young women are now embracing something known as ‘raunch culture’. 

He continues:

“It seems that in many cases young women are aligning their own ideas of sexuality with a constructed male fantasy.”

Anglia Ruskin University has a 150 year art tradition.  The degree level courses offered within the Cambridge School of Art offer all the flexibility of modular based programmes.  There are currently 600 students participating in the diverse range of courses available at the School.

In 1858, John Ruskin, the great Victorian artist and philosopher opened the Cambridge School of Art in Sydney Street in the heart of the city.

It was in 2003 that the name of Cambridge School of Art was revived by the University and the project to restore the school’s Collier Road building began.  Refurbishment work in and around the central hall of this historic building has created the new Ruskin Gallery.

New undergraduate courses available for 2007/08 include Interior Design and Fashion Design.

For further information on the show, images from the exhibition or forthcoming or courses at the Cambridge School of Art visit or

The degree show is free of charge and open to all members of the public. Weekday opening times are 10.00am-4.00pm. For further details contact Craig Langton at the Ruskin Gallery on 0845 196 2981 or email