11 Midlands-based art graduates take part in the RBSA biennial mentoring and career development programme, Next Wave. The exhibition includes painting, drawing, print, sculpture, installation and photography. Learn about the practice of each artist and see their work at the RBSA Gallery, 18 – 29 February.

Rita Rodner

Haseebah Ali

Haseebah Ali is an artist and print maker based in Birmingham. Her work centres around cultural and political themes and her artistic aim is to create artwork that not only educates her but the audience to which it is viewed. Haseebah is very interested in storytelling and capturing this within her work.

Her ‘Syrie’ prints arose during her final major project when the Syrian refugee crisis was in the headlines. Haseebah wanted to create a body of work that gave a more empathetic view of the situation, focusing on the people’s displacement and emotions rather than the political opinions related to them.

Haseebah Ali

Julie Chambers

Memory, perception and the human experience of Being in the world is the primary focus of Julie Chamber’s work and she attempts to connect and apply it to her painting practice.

Julie blend these existential ideas with my painting practice both in theory and in practice. She is also interested in topics surrounding agency, reflexivity and materiality.

Traveling the South West of England and West Scotland, these partly real, partly imagined landscapes, worked from imagination and memory, have titles which reflect mythological places from old Norse, old English and Greek mythology.

Julie Chambers

Ewan Johnson

Ewan Johnston is a painter working and living in Wolverhampton.

Ewan’s work is rooted in his live and the lives of people around me. He takes influence from both Art History and contemporary narratives mixed with stories of the everyday. Ewan is concerned with what it means to be a young adult living in a small city in England. Working through the medium of painting my practice is focused on colour, survival, joy, fear, humour and pain.

Ewan Johnston

Darius Martisius

Darius Martisius’ sculptures explore various aspects of biomorphism, or the incorporation of natural forms into his work, expressed as either preserving certain inherent characteristics of raw materials, or creating shapes or structures. Darius’ art can be understood as an abstract interpretation of the ongoing evolutionary and transformational journey from past to present to future.

Darius Martisius

Ella Oakley

Ella Oakley, fine-art-textile and sculpture-based artist; currently studying for her Masters, in Arts and Project Management at Birmingham City University; Birmingham School of Art. She is a Fine Art graduate based in the West Midlands. Her practice examines the relationship between the maternal bond and separation, metaphorically representing this connection in the form of hand constructed woven or knitted textiles, combined and embodied in plaster.

Ella Oakley

Rita Rodner

Rita Rodner, originally from Poland, graduated with an MFA from Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw (2002) and MA Photography from Falmouth University (2019).

She began her artistic practice working across the traditional media (primarily painting and drawing) gradually developing interest in digital photography and most recently in the alternative photographic methods and techniques.

In the latest works, she brings together the observations, knowledge and reflections about the subject of information and communication.

Rodner lives and works in Northampton, UK.

Rita Rodner

Kathryn Sawbridge

Kathryn Sawbridge is a Fine Artist with a background in photography. During her first degree in Photography at the University of Wolverhampton, her work explored identity and obscurity, and semiotics can give clues to obscured identity.

Kathryn’s work takes components from real photographs and brings them together in a recognisable scene. The finished photomontage may at first appear normal, but with elements taken from one context and reassembled in a new context, the new scene becomes very surreal.

Kathryn is a member of Sutton Arts Society and has recently been elected to be part of Birmingham Art Circle.

Kathryn Sawbridge

Daniella Turbin

Daniella Turbin is on a mission to explore Britain by traveling the length and breadth of the country and taking at least one analogue photograph for every square kilometre listed on the Ordnance Survey maps. This project developed out of an obsession with walking and drawing, in a need to escape the isolation that can come out of a studio-based practice. 

Oliver Turnpenny

Oliver Turnpenney works between digital form making and slip cast ceramics transforming the fleeting nature of the digital into tactile everyday objects. Oliver is interested in how the relatively new digital form-making medium can work with traditional craft practice.

The three pieces on display are examples of three different making methods. The fractal is a digitally intensive method of modelling the natural. A fractal is a shape that is used at different scales and rotations to make up a larger object. This can be seen in rock and landscape formations.

Oliver Turnpenney

Leigh Whurr

Much of Leigh Whurr’s work is heavily influenced by Surrealism.  It often delves into absurd or existential territory and explores the ambiguous space between reality and interpretation. Leigh paint digitally, using a graphics tablet.  The two digital paintings reflect a recurring theme in his work of characters at odds with the environment.  In this case, subway or train interiors that create a sense of juxtaposition in which we are in close proximity with others, yet isolated by an unspoken cultural boundary. 

Leigh Whurr

Jodie Wingham

Jodie Wingham’s work combines printmaking with non-traditional methods of display to create artworks that playfully distort images. Inspired by the act of observing others and the audiences’ enjoyment of this process, she focuses on the viewers desire to look and gain information, often using imagery with voyeuristic tendencies.

Themes surrounding the pleasure taken by human beings in the act of ‘looking’ underpin Jodie’s more recent work. What satisfaction we receive when an image is presented to us, reveals something not usually seen, a glimpse into the hidden.

Jodie Wingham

By Magda Petford, Marketing Coordinator RBSA

See all work at Next Wave 2020

Next Wave 2020 exhibition is on display 18 – 29 February at the RBSA Gallery. Join the Next Wave artists and curators at the Opening Reception on 19 February, 6- 8pm or for a guided tour on Saturday 29 February, 2 – 4pm. Both events are free.


Next Wave 2020 is sponsored by Galliard & Apsley House Capital Partnership.

A special thanks to:

The John Feeney Charitable TrustThe Oakley Charitable TrustThe Grimmitt Trust and Didymus CIO for helping us fund the 2020 programme.       

About RBSA

The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) is an artist-led charity which supports artists and promotes engagement with the visual arts through a range of exhibitions, events and workshops.

The RBSA runs an exhibition venue – the RBSA Gallery – in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, a short walk from the city centre. The gallery is open 7 days a week and admission to all our exhibitions is free. 

Find out how to reach the RBSA Gallery here. 

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