REVIEW: WHIP Exhibition

A review of the show that encapsulated the hard work and creativity of BA photographers in their final year.

Graduation year is probably one of the scariest moments in a students life. Talented and brave people surround you, trying to find their place in the industry. Exactly like you. In an art school, since the industry you’re getting into is even more complex and the creative minds are usually more developed, is probably even scarier.

On Monday 23rd of October, was the opening of WHIP, where some third year BA Photography students had the chance to show their artworks in the Photography Gallery of Falmouth University’s Penryn Campus.

I had the chance to enjoy their symbolic photographs, getting to know some of them and gaining a deeper view into their artistic visions. There’s something about this art show that made me understand how our generation breathes art and how important it is for everyone to get a highlight and an honest compliment even when it’s about something obvious.

From Untitled by Emma Pearce, showing an aesthetically pleasing salad of flowers, to Genesis 1:27 by Leissle & Sharkey which delivers a huge glitched corpse, I’m sure that whatever is your art taste, you’ll find something stunning to feed your eyes on. The poster of the exhibition is also shown as a piece in the gallery: it’s Boundaries by Adam Hurst. The title explains a lot already, the whole concept is still mysterious but, at the same time, it’s no doubt the most editorial photograph of the entire collection.

A piece that particularly caught my attention was Entropy and Equilibrium, by Alan Carter. It was nice to chat with him about how his two photographs are all about overcoming depression. Without seeing the face of the subject, it’s easier to feel empathy for it and I felt it was such a smart move.

This connects to another project I really loved, Effie Gridley’s My Great Grandmother’s Veil. The shots are framed so alternatively, the light used and the white which surrounds both the pictures evoke a sense of nostalgia, which kind of explains the title of the piece.

Charlotte Lloyd Butler and Christina Smith (aka FARE), both music students, performed during the event, delivering their characters with just a guitar and their original songs in a majestic way. The atmosphere was there but, unfortunately, I felt like their words were too covered by the chatting of the viewers, leaving a bittersweet sensation of underestimated beauty.

It’s something that I felt also for Sisterhood by Liam Payne. It’s easy to portray pain using a palette of cold colours; portraying realistic moments of happiness and freedom it’s a lot harder. In this case, it works. This piece may disappear in front of others in the WHIP exhibition, but it’s because of its delicacy and elegance which leads the attention away to more direct and concrete pieces. They may get more attention, but they surely don’t have something really hard to deliver in two pictures: a warm feeling of home.

Becky Harvell’s Inner Sense in another piece that made me literally stay there in silence for ten minutes. There’s something about the use of contrast and the quirkiness of the subject that left me speechless. Instead of most of the pieces of the exhibition, this one was put on a Mac screen. I think it worked well, it made the colours more vivid and surely caught the eyes of many visitors for the original way it was displayed. To be honest, I have a severe attraction for human beings, but there’s even something for the fans of material subjects. For example, the symbolism of All we have is time by Pippa Jones, which surrounds themes like life and instants by using a teacup, is an interesting and aesthetically curated mix of pictures.

For the nature lovers, they’re going to have a blast in front of River in the sky by Lauren Fearn. It’s just magnificent, it left me speechless. If you watch it for too long, though, you may end up tripping about in that wilderness.

The last work I want to spend some words on is the interesting and experimental Louise Halpin-Parr’s EXP. A collage that unites gore and pop-art in a very glorious way and that surely defines the photographer’s style as unique, as we can see from other pictures from her personal photography site.

Louie Halpin-Parr         “This way up” (2015)

Briefly, WHIP is an exhibition that put my hopes up for the future of BA Photography’s third years. It’s an explosion of ideas that dazzled me because all of the pictures that are shown are gorgeous and have a huge dedication and passion as a background.

In these moments, I simply love being a Falmouth student.