UCLan artists go viral with Covid-19 shows

Life on Preston's high street and the economic challenges faced by retailers during the pandemic have gone viral.

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 3:12 pm
One of the exhibits in UCLan Fine Art online show

Covid-19 is the focus of two special exhibitions by the city's art students.

Fine art students from the University of Central Lancashire have today gone ‘viral’ with their first online show in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Went Viral show is the first time that MA fine art students from UCLan have staged an online portfolio launch of their work, all of which was created under lockdown conditions.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The UCLan Interim art show at Preston's Harris Museum and Art Gallery

The students had to create their pieces in isolation, having to learn new IT skills and other techniques to help bring their work to life.

Among the exhibitors is Hollie Burge, whose focused on life on Preston high streets and the economic challenges faced by retailers there, a theme that has now developed added significance with the impact of the pandemic on shops during the past four months.

Hollie said: "Mapping Preston High Street is a project I started to explore the high street of the city in which I live and work.

"I wanted to highlight areas that might go unnoticed or not thought about by shoppers.

Artwork from the UCLan Interim exhibition at The Harris Museum, Preston.

"This included real stories from retail workers, presenting a viewpoint from ‘the other side of the counter."

She added: "I have also explored the economic hardship that the high street has suffered recently, by focusing on stores that have had to shut permanently, or retail units that remain empty.”

Sarah Feinmann has used her lockdown time to chart urban dereliction and the increasingly throwaway nature of modern society.

She said: “With my work I have explored urban dereliction and the throwaway society that consumes, discards and is left to decay. I use documentary photography to record the world around as I intrigued by those moments of loss or change.”

Artwork from the UCLan Interim exhibition at The Harris Museum, Preston.

Meanwhile Alexandria Eaves has used the lockdown period to create imagery based on her own experiences with autism and modern society’s interpretations of the condition.

In a double first, Preston's Harris Art Gallery is also hosting the students’ Interim Show, which was due to open on the first day of lockdown back in March.

The Harris has just reopened to the public and this means the MA fine art students have the two shows running at the same time.

UCLan’s MA fine art course leader William Titley said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up massive challenges for everybody in the last few months and for our students it has been no different.

"However not only have they been able to complete the course in extraordinary circumstances, they have managed to do so with such enthusiasm.

"They had to very quickly learn a new range of new IT skills whilst working in isolation, yet they have remained focused on their creative practice throughout that period."

You can access the ‘Went Viral’ show online at https://virtualdegreeshow.uclan.ac.uk/course/ma-fine-art/