Odds and quads

These striking wire-mesh sculptures of naked, falling figures hanging from the ceiling often attract attention and comment from students and visitors at the University of Sunderland's automotive engineering department.

February 23, 2012

Descent is the work of art and design graduate Michelle Castles and was created in 1998 for her degree show. Although the fundamental concept was inspired by Dante's Inferno, the figures were based more immediately on fellow students.

"I would like to point out that the sculptures are larger than life and exaggerated," she is careful to make clear, "though I still have all the original measurements of those students!"

Ms Castles has since expanded on the hand-manipulated mesh sculptures she created while at Sunderland to forge a career as an artist focusing on the power of the youthful human body. For her, the translucency of the mesh medium possesses "an ethereal beauty" that gives "the illusion of figures transcending the physical and soaring into the spiritual".

Although now based in Cumbria, she will return to the North East for an exhibition at Newcastle's Biscuit Factory celebrating athletes and tying in with the London Olympics.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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