Former students return to Cambridge School of Art to work with ex-tutors to explore ‘inspirational moments’

Published: 12 March 2008 at 16:28

The influences of art historians and fine artists is revealed at first ever alumni exhibition

MindSpace, an exhibition exploring the ‘creative exchanges’ between students and tutors of the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, will be staged at the Ruskin Gallery, on the University’s East Road campus between 1 – 21 May at the University’s first ever alumni exhibition.

The MindSpace show brings back together selected art alumni and their tutors from around the world, from Buenos Aires, Solingen, Venice, Dublin, Iran, India, Canada and the UK, to create new innovative work that explores the creative thinking and influences that exist between them.

Curators and ex-students, Vanessa Koeller and Trisha McCrae, will bring together the work of over 30 artists for this exciting showcase which will feature fine art, installations, performance, film and 2-D and 3-D work.

In addition to the show, huge balloons covered with inspirational thoughts from the artists will dominate the exhibition space encouraging visitors to think more openly and expansively about the meaning of art. 

The text on the balloons exposes the intellectual, philosophical, creative and art historical ideas that are often hidden from view. In trying to understand the artist’s mind, these texts deconstruct the making of their work and lead the viewer to greater understanding of how the exchange of influences occur.  All have exposed how these exchanges have helped them teach, understand and how to capture emotion, feelings and how to find creative solutions to artistic problems.

Speaking about the forthcoming exhibition, installation artist Trisha McCrae, who now specialises in filmmaking after training as a sculptor and painter said:

“This show is all about inspirational moments. It comes as the result of direct collaboration between a selection of ex-students from the Cambridge School of Art and their former tutors which originated from the desire of a handful of free spirited artists to put on an alumni show designed to make everyone stop and stare.”

“We think the best people to curate exhibitions are artists themselves.”

"As artists, Vanessa and I are free from the constraints of administrative organisers and so can be creative with the art and the space.  We are happy to be including the creative exchanges from both arts historians and fine artists as all artists have been influenced by both.”

“Art is ultimately what fills the spaces of our minds.”

Since its launch in 1858 by John Ruskin, Cambridge School of Art has a rich history of 150 years as a provider of art education producing many notable alumni: cartoonist Ronald Searle; Thomas Taylor, who created the original Harry Potter book cover; several band members from Pink Floyd; and the creators of Spitting Image.

Ronald Searle said recently of the Cambridge School of Art,

"I owe my own instinct for survival to the fact that in art school I was thrust into a way of looking and interpreting the world around me in terms of ultra personal expression, not only in line but in the regard.  A laser regard.  A wicked regard into the strange possibilities of materials of the artist, linked to a desire to push, to expand their vast range as no-one had done before."

MindSpace opens to the public from 1-21 May in the Ruskin Gallery, on Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge campus. Opening times are Monday to Friday from 10am – 4.00pm.  The exhibition also opens on Saturday 17 May from 10am – 4.00pm.

For further information, please contact Trisha McCrae on 01223 871168 or visit