Each year, full-time Fine Arts students at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation are invited to submit proposals for artworks to be displayed as part of the annual opening of the Historic House, part of the Arts and Craft Festival. Building upon students' existing practices and enhancing their professional profiles, proposals are encouraged to reflect the rich heritage of West Dean and the legacy of College founder, Edward James.
In 2018, four exhibited works included sculpture inspired by the creation of the Edward James Archive, a performance piece informed by James' involvement with Les Ballets 1933, a textile based on the clenched fist motif of the James Press, and a large-scale work that references West Dean's famous Footprint Carpet.
Medium: Chalk paint
Location: West Dean Estate, opposite Main House
Emma Rimer produces work that explores the power relations that govern the world around us such as the interaction between humankind and nature, and the effect humankind has on itself. Combining or using elements of painting, sculpture and projections, Rimer renders environments that invite us to consider the possibilities of time that passes and time that has passed.
Making reference to the 'Footprint Carpet' designed by Edward James in the 1930s, Painted Paces re-contextualizes the footprint, placing it outside and creating a large-scale work on the hills beyond the gardens in front of the house, within West Dean Estate. The work not only pays homage to Edward James and the college he founded in 1971, it also makes reference to a landscape shaped by humankind, highlighting our common footprint and the long-term consequences of our actions on the natural environment. The super-sized rendering of the artist's own footprint on a landscape with strong links to surrealism encourages a journey that considers and connects the past, present, and future.
Emma Rimer is currently studying for a Graduate Diploma.
Medium: Printed, dyed and patch-worked fabric
Location: The Star Room
Maud Boothby works across mixed media textile, using a variety of hand-dyed fabrics to create contrasting and complementary forms, textures, and shapes. Her interest in the fragmented body is made manifest through the use of repeat patterns and processes of layering, draping and folding to make sculptures that allude to parts of a whole.
In Faust Stoff the motif of the clenched fist, used by Edward James as the emblem for The James Press, is adapted by Boothby and worked into a large assemblage of printed silks and cotton fabrics. The raised fist has been used for over a century as a symbol of solidarity and support. James first introduced it as an image for his publishing venture in 1931 (initially called The Faustian Press - faust being German for 'fist') before commissioning a number of artists, such as Rex Whistler and Pavel Tchelitchew, to redesign the motif for subsequent publications.
Boothby takes on the challenge of redesigning and printing her own version of the clenched fist, juxtaposing it with colours and patterns found in the West Dean Collection and Archive. The resulting patchwork design was displayed in The Star Room during the Arts and Craft Festival weekend.
Maud Boothby is studying for a Graduate Diploma.
Medium: Forged steel, cellophane, thread, netting, foam and paint
Location: The Music Room
Chérie Lubbock's artwork is concerned with how humanity protects and seeks to hold things together in stressful times. She uses her work to comment on the fragility of mental and physical health and is particularly interested in how individuals and communities support and protect themselves and others from breakdown or loss in traumatic situations.
Lubbock often combines recycled wood, cardboard, steel, cellophane and thread in her work, consciously creating sculptures that have a corporeal element. The sculptures are often bound together using ties or have features that are reminiscent of body parts, sealed inside cellophane, as a physical manifestation of support and protection.
Vestiges engages with the legacy of College founder, Edward James, through the creation of the Edward James Archive and his founding of West Dean College. Both of these resources act as a means by which his ideals and legacy can be preserved and passed on.
Chérie Lubbock is studying toward a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
Location: The Oak Hall
Working across a variety of media, including painting, sculptural installation, video and performance, Askild Winkelmann creates artworks in which she distils her observations of the world into carefully chosen combinations of colours, subverting them with elements found in her environment. She also researches global issues that concern her - for example, how human behaviour impacts the environment and creates conflict - to inform her work.
A Conversation in Steel is a performance inspired by the legacy of dance and performance related to West Dean across two generations. The work references both Evelyn James' involvement with the West Dean Amateur Dramatics Society in the early 1900s, often performed in the Oak Hall, as well as Edward James' patronage and collaborative input into Les Ballets 1933.
Winkelmann likens the balletic movements of dancers to the agility of fencing. This connection is presented as a performance that ties together the conflict and competition inherent in her wider practice with the dynamic, fluid and precise movement of dance. A trained fencer of 15-years, Winkelmann has choreographed a new work inspired by photographs held in the Edward James Archive, which capture postures of dancers and seem to highlight the fine balance between conflict and concord.
Askild Winkelmann is studying toward a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
Study Fine Art
The Fine Arts programmes at West Dean College provide a stimulating and supportive environment for students to develop their individual practice.
All students are provided with generous studio space, weekly tutorial support, access to a broad range of visiting artists and lecturers, and year-round access to exhibition spaces. Students have numerous opportunities to engage with West Dean House, Collection, Archive and Estate, are given support from highly skilled technical staff and a range of specialist facilities, plus assistance for visiting exhibitions, events and developing professional opportunities. Programmes are delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, workshops, individual and group tutorials, critical sessions and self directed research.