Venus by beth swan

Graduates 2021: Beth Swan: Fine Art Painting

“The second I stepped foot into the studios I knew this is where I wanted to be. I fell in love completely with the course, the studios, the general feeling of the University and Brighton too. It ticked every box.”

Hi Beth – please tell us a bit about your work and your influences

“Painting from a woman’s perspective through a bisexual lens, I celebrate female and non-binary bodies within their private spaces, revealing what the heteronormative male gaze cannot reach. Reminiscent of recent lockdowns and the world’s retreat to the confines of the home, the cosy environments are all too familiar, tributing the prolonged periods of functioning around our beds. The bedsheet pattern becomes a motif, representing my utmost comfort when cocooned and curled between the sheets. It more solemnly expresses the sexualised assumptions parcelled with my body and sexuality, bringing light to the ‘otherness’ and alienation I feel as a bisexual identifying woman. The home becomes a haven where I feel free to live unapologetically without the penetration of an onlooking sexualising gaze.

“Through layers of colour playing with line, pattern, flatness and the sweet spot between detail and ambiguity, atmospheric portraits of people rightfully taking up space are presented. Paying tribute to the private realm, intimate, honest moments can be captured. Between the two polarities of heterosexual and homosexual, I conflictingly exist between sheets.”

 

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

“Painting at Brighton has allowed me to specialise in something I really love. I have learnt so much and cannot thank the tutors and especially our technician James enough. Working alongside such talented course mates has not only been great fun, but extremely beneficial to my practice too, allowing ideas to bounce around, inspirations to be shared, and comments and critiques to occur. Brighton as a place is fantastic and is a constant inspiration due to the vibrance of the city. I cannot wait to follow everyone’s journeys and see where everyone ends up!”

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Painting?

“A tutor on my Foundation at Arts University Bournemouth recommended Brighton to me after seeing I was a painter before I had even realised myself. The second I stepped foot into the studios I knew this is where I wanted to be. I fell in love completely with the course, the studios, the general feeling of the University and Brighton too. It ticked every box.

“I always knew I’d do something creative, but never thought I’d go to university. The second I found out that I could specialise in painting and started going on open days around the country, I knew this was for me. To be granted time to practice with tutors specifically for your discipline blew my mind and has developed me as a painter in ways I never thought.”

What are your plans after graduation?

“I wish to continue developing my practice and will be looking out for a studio after I give myself some time off painting over summer. Drawing is fundamental to my practice, so I wish to give this more time and experiment with print processes too (well… basic print methods which can be done from my bedroom). I will be looking for employment and making alongside until I hopefully find a studio. I have always wished to turn my hand to tattooing, so this is potentially on the cards in the future too. I am very excited to see what the future holds.”

Find out about studying Fine Art Painting at Brighton.

See Beth’s work in the Graduate Show.

 

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