For many budding artists and photographers, displaying work publicly is a hard and daunting task. But the last week of November’s gallery night in Pontio, hosted by the Art and Photographic societies, had many students display their work to the public for the first time.
The space was filled with various artwork, done in pen, pencil, paint and charcoal. Portraits of animals, portraits of people, self-portraits, caricatures, sketches and many more were lined up against walls, with some artists being credited for multiple artworks found in contrast by comparison, proof of diversity.
Same could be said for the photographs; from landscapes to animals to people. Some were even done with old-fashioned equipment and framed.
With a chill and casual atmosphere, light refreshments and music, there were many visitors and friends who observed and gave their opinion.
“Some people skip over if it doesn‘t catch their eye. Some people have a laugh, which is kinda what I‘ve aimed to do. And some just nod and appreciate,” said Oli Taylor, one of the members of ArtSoc.
“I was oddly nervous for that because it’s the first time I’ve seen people react to my art in reality.”
Niamh Fretwell, another ArtSoc member, also displayed her work for the first time: “It’s scary. Everyone is giving their opinion, and it is quite overwhelming.”
She did feel a bit more confident: “It came out better than expected.”
One of the highlights of the exhibition was a photo which had two pieces of artwork created from it, each with a different perspective of it. This came out of a challenge in which artists had to paint pictures taken by PhotoSoc members.
The result was interesting and was highly well received.
“It was a really lovely photo. I was trying to do a blend; a mix of photo and a bit of art.” said Niamh, who did one of the paintings.
“I really liked those, because in the photograph, the focus is on the woman in the portrait, but in the artworks, the attention is more on the background, because you’ve got the swirling blackness. They’re very similar to the photograph, but also very different at the same time. It’s cool to see how people interpret the same thing differently.” said Fergus Elliott, chair of PhotoSoc.
The chairs and their committees worked hard to make the event possible.
“For the Art Society, I’ve wanted to put forward the collaboration, because that’s the thing which is new and most interesting. I had to push through social media and art sessions. That was the hardest bit: to put this collaboration together,” said Anna Monnereau, chair of ArtSoc.
The collaboration seemed successful: the people got along together can complimented each other on their work, members from both societies got to see their work from a broader perspective, and there were some members from both societies who were interested in joining the other; the interesting visual relationship between photography and fine art led some to discover and expand their personal styles; many were positive about other such events in the future.
“At the start of the year, we made a poll; there was a fair interest in a photography session. Maybe we can do a crossover.” said Zoe Faiers, treasurer of ArtSoc.
Both societies were willing to hold another exhibition next semester. The event helped the societies gain recognition around students.
“Unless you come to the Photography Society meetings, you wouldn’t really see anyone’s photos. As much as we try and get people to share things on the Facebook page, it’s not really popular, unfortunately. I’ve seen a lot of people here walking about, being exposed.” said Fergus.
With members becoming more confident in their craft, chairs are hoping for them to push their abilities further. Ideas such as painting a part of Pontio and further challenges were also being considered, as it allows for variation and surprising creations. Members themselves were quite inspired by others and were eager to try out new things.
“Everyone likes doing their own thing and everyone is quite open to try new disciplines of photography, so I’ve asked everyone to choose their own discipline.” said Fergus.
“What is great is that there are multiple levels and multiple styles, so people are more confident now that they see the amount of artwork submitted,” said Anna.
“That you can expose anything; making them understand was the hardest part.”