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Myth and Reality of the American Western Homestead

Sarah Dryden
28 April 2016 – 18 June 2016
Preview: 27 April 2016

Ghost/HostGHOST/HOST: Myth and Reality of the American Western Homestead is the latest exhibition at our Showcase gallery. It explores the historical facts, myths and mediation of the early US settlers in the American West.

Part of an ongoing research project by photographer Sarah Dryden, the work seeks to explore the disparity between fictionalised depictions of the homestead in the Western States of the US and the realities faced by early settlers in relation to climate, geography, elevation, materials, design and construction methods.


The town of Bodie is one of five sites investigated in the research. It is said to be the most notorious of the California ghost towns with tales of gold digging, shootings and a narrative that any Wild West cowboy film would be proud of. More recently, Bodie has been used as a tourist destination, a museum site, a film set, advertising and music video backdrop, not to mention its direct links with Clint Eastwood’s fictional town of Lago in the film High Plains Drifter.

This exhibition also draws on the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe’s Ghost Host – which was recently reconstructed within Disney’s Haunted Mansion – and Victor Burgin’s Situational Aesthetics that looks to the built environment as a theatre of wishes and fears past, present and future, and the haunting of an environment by history, memory and fantasy. Sarah Dryden is a senior lecturer in the School of Art, Design and Fashion at Solent University. 

For more information contact

Southampton Solent University Graduate Artists in Residence 2015

4 September – 10 October 2015

Since 2011 final year students from across all the creative degrees at Southampton Solent University have been invited to apply for the Graduate Artists in Residency Scheme with Solent Showcase Gallery.

“What is expected of an artist?” is the question tackled by the scheme, helping the artists with the transition from student to professional artist. Selected students receive a small grant and are given access to studio space throughout the summer. They are contracted to produce work for an exhibition, offering them a real-life professional experience with a contemporary gallery. The residency also promotes cross disciplinary collaboration, encouraging graduates from very different creative backgrounds to work together to mount an exhibition, giving them experience with other creative methods, and artists who use completely different styles and techniques.


The Graduate Artist in Residency Scheme runs for three months at the end of which there is a public exhibition in the Showcase Gallery. For further information contact Les Buckingham or Kate Maple:

This year’s artists come from BA (Hons) Fine Art (Kristine Erminasa, Jeremie Glaize, Wendy White), BA (Hons) Illustration (Will Whittington) and BA (Hons) Animation (Emma Payne). Their work reflects interest in urban culture, featuring Will’s globe-trotting time differences, Emma’s civic bunker and a new view of Southampton by Wendy. Kristine’s work has inspired the show’s title as it highlights town and country issues as well as a metaphorical look at strata in society today. Jeremie takes a close look at more aesthetic ideas but his imagery in firmly rooted in the city and its colours.

Kristine Erminasa

Kristine’s animals (the RATSBIRDSBATS of the show’s title) stand in for human beings. She says, ‘People can become free, like a bird, by changing their perspective on life. ’They know their place in the pecking order but some want to subvert it, some want to aspire and some want to carry on in the same way. They cannot all live together on their structure but neither do they all want the same things.’ These beautifully constructed cyphers represent us all, our desires and our dreams and although we know that we cannot always have it all, some of the animals still keep trying to.

Jeremie Glaize

Jeremie has researched colour theory and has looked deeply at how colour impacts on human emotions. In particular he has included recent developments in ultra violet light and has researched the way these lights can change our perceptions of human moods and emotions. For the residency Jeremie decided to attempt three dimensional processes to see what happens to colours in space. To do this he used brightly coloured bottle tops for their purity of colour. As Jeremie says ‘In using different sort of supports, detached from each other, and using the concept of anamorphosis to create optical illusion, I would like to develop paintings that would blur the distinction between two and three dimensionality.’ As we walk around Jeremie’s installation, colours will have the ability to transfer different feeling to us.

Emma Payne

Emma’s digital work has ‘been done entirely by hand - pixel by pixel has been placed lovingly in a digital mosaic’. Emma goes on to explain that the piece ‘It stirs up a lot of emotions in me - from memories of playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega, to reading The Beano under the bedsheets and laughing at Mike Pearse's wicked and human comic strips. ’Though meant to reflect the fun of these influences, Emma’s work is also a critique of a bunker mentality, especially on the part of those in power. 

Wendy White

During her degree Wendy White redefined her attitude to her chosen subject of landscape. ‘For my recent series of work Hybrid Landscape I have been walking the outskirts of the city of Southampton where I live, taking photographs and making sketches, then working from this resource material back in the studio to produce what I describe as ‘hybridscapes’. This has allowed to hugely increase the possibilities for her work, looking at the urban landscape as well as the rural. The results are superb paintings by any standards.

Will Wittington

Will’s work examines how cultural influence has become instant and global now. The impressionist painters in the 1860s loved the packaging that arrived with the goods from Japan and they used the visual lessons on the packaging in their revolutionary painting. Will references these ideas through his use of packing and the presentation of clocks from city’s separated by one hour: London and Oslo, Bangkok and Hong Kong. They show, says Will, ‘the amount happening all over the planet at any one time, a mass hive of activity that never stops and never will do, keeping everything moving all the time.’

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