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The University of Southampton

Delight for Southampton artists named in first exhibition

Published: 21 September 2023
Southampton's fine artists
Southampton artists were chosen from hundreds for the new exhibition

Promising artists from Southampton have spoken of their delight after their work was chosen from hundreds for a new exhibition in Hampshire.

Sculptor Ren Wooldridge and painter Harrison Jones will showcase their artwork at the Aspex gallery in Portsmouth as part of a drive to highlight new upcoming talent.

The exhibition, opening mid-October, is the first public display for the duo since graduating from Winchester School of Art, which is part of the University of Southampton.

Ren Wooldridge, whose clay sculptures are moulded from her own body, said being selected for the exhibition was a tremendous source of motivation for her early career.

She added: “Clay carries haptic memory and has an intimate connection with our daily life. I see my sculpture as an explorative vehicle in which to communicate emotions and thoughts, it embodies my experiences and psychological dynamics as a woman and mother.”

Winchester School of Art is one of the UK's oldest education establishments dating back to 1870 and today teaches the BA (Hons) Fine Art degree, from which both artists graduated this summer.

Artist Harrison Jones began painting as a child to help express himself having experienced delayed mobility, speech and sound sensitivity, and was later diagnosed with autism.

He said: “Without art, I would self-destruct within my own thoughts. The need to visualize is a necessity, it is my oxygen. I need it to breathe and live. My work is a diary of my thoughts that enter the realm of fantasy and reality, projecting a state of transient, inconclusive experiences. I create an autobiographical collection of paintings of my world.”

The Southampton artists were chosen from hundreds to showcase their work at the Aspex gallery after being nominated for the Platform graduate award, which has supported emerging talent in the south-east region since 2012.

Their lecturer John Gillett, Fine Art programme leader at Winchester School of Art, said Ren and Harrison very much deserved to be selected for the show.

He added: “Ren’s work is wide-ranging, embracing sculpture body-casting, drawing and mono-printing, and is reflective on issues around motherhood and family. Harrison paints interiors, assured in his understanding of light in space, the images are calm and gentle, with the occasional startling inclusion of a dalek.”

Read more about Fine Art degrees at Winchester School of Art via

Visit the at the Aspex gallery exhibition at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth or go to

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