It's Your Shout!: Is There Any Merit in Modern Art?

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Byline: RICHARD PEARCE

PICKLED sheep, scruffy beds and piles of bricks. No, not a student's flat, it's art. Or is it? With the presitigious - and controversial - Turner Prize for contemporary British artists coming up on Tuesday, students at Foxford school and Arts College give their views on modern art.

GURJIT BHAMBRA, AGED 18

HOME: Lives at home with mum Surjit Kaur, a housewife, sister Amrit, 16, brother Sukhbir, 14 and Jasbir 10.

EXAMS: Studying A-level art, design technology and IT.

INTERESTS: Socialising.

AMBITIONS/CAREER CHOICE: Design engineer.

FAVOURITE ARTIST: Francis Bacon.

LEAST FAVOURITE: Frida Kahlo.

GURJIT'S VERDICT: Since taking up A-level art, it has made me a different person. It has totally changed my views about everything around me. Modern art, I think, involves the thought, feelings and observations of today's modern artists.

People can be far too narrow-minded about modern art and don't even bother looking at it twice. However, if we can keep an open mind and give the work time, we may often see a great deal in it.

I think modern artists make an important contribution to our society by the way in which they challenge ideas, issues and perceptions.

My message is: "Keep looking!"

LOUISE PILLING, AGED 18

HOME: Lives at home with dad Carl and mum Julie, a sales assistant.

EXAMS: Studying A-level art and design (illustrations), fine art and design and technology.

INTERESTS: Netball/horse riding.

AMBITIONS/CAREER CHOICE: Considering university, arts and communication.

FAVOURITE ARTIST: Picasso.

LEAST FAVOURITE: Yves Klein.

LOUISE'S VERDICT: Personally I like modern day art, I think you have to have an open mind when you look at modern art. You have to look deep inside to try and find out exactly what it means, even then it's unexplainable.

Modern art, whether it be painting, sculpture, or multimedia gives the artists the freedom to express themselves without the boundaries and limitations of more traditional forms of art. It can be freely structured and open minded as the artist sees fit. Which allows the audience to make of it what they will.

This art appeals to many people, largely those who are prepared to look beyond the images they see on the canvas and look deep within themselves to decide on a true meaning.

CRAIG HUTCHINS, AGED 17

HOME: Lives at home with dad Trevor, mum Linda, brother Tony, 15 and sister Danielle, 12, who both attend Foxford.

EXAMS: Studying A-level art and design, design and technology.

INTERESTS: Computers, art.

AMBITIONS/CAREER CHOICE: Degree, product design.

FAVOURITE ARTIST: Braque.

LEAST FAVOURITE: Pokemon designer!

CRAIG'S VERDICT: My opinion of modern art is that it is interesting as it makes a change to traditional, boring work. I didn't have time to fully appreciate all of the work displayed when I visited the Tate Modern as some of the work was very complicated.

I found a lot of the work very deep and found it difficult to understand, but that may be because the themes are very personal to the artist themselves. The work is interesting because it is about ideas rather than imitation.

Some pieces were not really well justified and didn't appeal to my tastes. Overall I found some of the work very challenging and think that modern art is good, as there is something that has the potential to appeal to everyone.

STEPHEN DAVENPORT, AGED 17

HOME: Lives at home with dad Peter, a factory worker and mum Carol, a teaching assistant.

EXAMS: Studying A-level art, technology, history.

INTERESTS: Computing, movies, music.

AMBITIONS/CAREER CHOICE: Product design.

FAVOURITE ARTIST: HR Giger.

LEAST FAVOURITE: Tate Modern artists. …