Fine art students receive first class honours

Despite the challenges of the past year two fine art students from Orkney College UHI, Jenny Sprenger and Sarah Wylie, have defied the odds by producing some extraordinary work for their degree shows and receiving first class honours.

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Image: Jenny Sprenger

The final months in the studio for a fine art degree are the most critical: in terms of space, facilities and peer interaction. The fact that both Jenny and Sarah did so well having been compromised during this time is testament to their talent and drive.

Jenny Sprenger, a multimedia artist based in Thurso said:

“My work is concerned with self-portraiture without the portrayal of the physical body. Rather, it is shaped by my experiences and thoughts of both the past and future, a way of cataloguing my life journey. I employ mixed media to create spontaneous works suggesting a chaotic outpouring of emotion, preferring to work quickly and use the instability of media and form to create a beautiful mess. The idea of drawing beauty from chaos is important to me. The work is performative resulting in sculpture, painting and installation.”

Sarah Wylie who is based in Orkney and works with photography added:

“My imagery presents transitional landscapes: landscapes that don’t pin themselves to a specific location. The act of photographing effects a ‘staging’ of the landscape whereby the subject matter becomes suspended in time. Walking is a fundamental process within my creative practice that influences my experience of looking. This gives me a new view of my homeland by bringing attention to the everyday, unusual and overlooked spaces within the Orkney landscape.”

Both students were active members of the learning environment at the University of the Highlands and Islands. They were enriched by the experience and their peers.

Jenny said about her time studying and future plans:

"The time I spent at Orkney College UHI whilst challenging was an incredibly rewarding experience. The degree course at the university allowed me the freedom to explore who I am as an artist and to develop my practice in a meaningful way. The art that I create focuses on self-expression and increasing self-awareness, as I believe that the therapeutic aspects of art are of huge benefits for everyone and should be more easily accessed. My future path is still uncertain but I know that I wish to help teach others to express themselves through art the way I do, as I am passionate about the subject of mental health and believe in the ability of art to heal. I am researching new ideas for workshops and considering training in psychology to share the positive experience of my own practice."

Sarah observed about her time studying:

“My time at Orkney College UHI has presented the opportunity to really explore myself as an artist. My learning on this course enabled me to articulate what my interests were which pushed my work in a more informed direction. Understanding the motivations of my practice helped me become more intuitive in the making process. Engaging in conversations with tutors and fellow students whilst working alongside like-minded individuals created an invaluable atmosphere for developing research and practice. I hope to continue exploring new directions in my work by getting involved with creative projects, research and practical ways to further on my skills."