Picture gallery: The beautiful and the strange on show in Norwich exhibition

Mutated human spiders, cascading waterfalls of latex and allusions to the unsavoury production of fast food are just a small selection of the diverse and occasionally disturbing works currently on display in Norwich.

These works are part of the show called Babel, produced, curated and publicised by over 40 second-year undergraduate Fine Art students from Norwich University College of the Arts.

The students were given just a broad brief of producing a work for public exhibition. The resulting exhibition is a mix of themes, concepts and materials that turn the small gallery space into an Aladdin's cave of diversity which expresses the scope of modern art production.

One of the first works is a self-portrait entitled 'Stammer', by student Tom Leaning, 20, of Adelaide Road, off Dereham Road, Norwich. The work explores Tom's own struggles with his speech impediment. He said he wanted to 'convey how you feel when you can't rely upon your own speech'. He said it reflects the anxieties which have come from his experiences.

Other works are much more abstract, such as the work of J�n Sonni Jenson, 22, of Clarendon Road, off Unthank Road, Norwich. It is comprised of long strips of latex which cascade from the ceiling of the gallery and across the floor, like layers of skin. He said his interest lies with the human body, and added that he is using the materiality of the latex to explore the nature of human skin, with sand and red pigment applied to areas of the latex to suggest decay and mutation.

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Senior lecturer Paul Fieldsend-Danks 41, of Erpingham, near Aylsham, said that the whole exhibition was student-led. He said the project 'forced (the students) to engage with the problems of displaying works'.

This can be seen in the works of Holly Stubbing, 21, of Florence Road, Thorpe Hamlet. Her works take the form of a donation box, a red spot indicating the sale of a work and a title plaque without a work of art. The pieces are spread around the gallery space in an ironic response to the institutional display of artworks and the traditional gallery make-up.

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The exhibition marks the conclusion of a project which has seen the undergraduates follow the processes of creating an exhibition from the initial proposal to the curation and hanging of the works. It will run at the at the Stew Gallery, Fishergate, until April 6, admission free.

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