Claudia Figueiredo on why this is an exciting time for fans of art

Late spring is the time for budding third year undergraduate artists to emerge from their art school cocoons. All they have thought, imagined and absorbed from three years at university is revealed to the public in — what they hope — is ambitious artwork on show at degree shows.

These exhibitions, organised by students and curated by staff, unveil the theoretical thinking behind each individual art school.

The audience of a degree show does not just see brand new student work. Those who follow graduate shows year after year, like me — being one of them as an alumni of Oxford Brookes Fine Art — see the shifting directions of the school itself.

And, of course, another reason not to miss a degree show is to keep up with the pace of art.

Shows such as Oxford Brookes BA3, opening this Friday for one week, might just be the frontier of contemporary art ripe for discovery.

Three years of research and experimentation and it’s almost certain the audience can look forward to a compelling exhibition.

For budding collectors this is your chance to scout for artists and work that you think might become collectable.

Investing in art is a worthy cause and your investment now might just pay off the mortgage in 30 years’ time — if you choose well I’ve met the BA3 team, in appropriately paint-splattered clothes, taking a break from decorating the walls of the Headington Hill campus ready for its transformation into a white cube gallery.

BA3 is a collection of works dealing with the relationship of a contemporary human to their surroundings.

This is not their first exhibition, some of the group have previously opened up their own homes as exhibition spaces.

The nature of a show involving 34 student artists is that the work and mediums will vary as do artistic opinions and temperament.

The legacy of the YBAs (young British artists) stubbornly remains, so do expect expect to be shocked and/or appalled at BA3, especially by a large paint-by-numbers portrait of Jimmy Savile by Victoria Soar. However, beyond that there is a return to landscape and nature, an exploration into science and the body.

Perhaps it is a reflection of these meagre times that art comes back to what it knows best.

The exhibition launches tomorrow at 6pm in the new Glass Tank Gallery with an opening speech by internationally renowned artist, Tamarin Norwood.

And as a plus, the students are offering guided tours throughout the run of the exhibition. So why now take a deep breath and take the less well-trodden path. Contact for more information.

Claudia Figueiredo is a graphic artist and manager of Magdalen Road Studios