Today I’ve come to the art and design gallery at the University of Hertfordshire to see the Inside the Art Collection exhibition. As soon as I arrive, I’m handed a glass of wine. White walls and wooden flooring create the perfect minimal space to display this vibrant visual artwork from paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture to ceramics, photography and mixed media.

I’m told by Elizabeth and Inna, the programme managers, that the entire UHArts collection comprises more than 500 works and was established back in 1952. I learn about how this UHArts exhibition programme gives us a glimpse into the output of the School of Creative Arts over the last three decades covering three areas: already established artists, contemporary artists and young emerging artists exhibiting work from their student degree show.

Many of these artworks are being exhibited for the first time. I love the way the exhibition has been put together by contrasting the work of young artists at the beginning of their journeys alongside established artists. Platforms such as these enable these young artists to promote their art for the very first time and express their own aesthetic perspectives.

I’m mesmerized by Ahmed Moustafa’s The Cube of Cubes (1987), an abstract composition made up of ninety-nine golden cubes within a single large black cube. It is the perfect mathematical model exploring the universal theme of multiplicity inside of unity.

Moustafa’s work is inspired by his Islamic roots and fascination with European Neoclassical traditions. Its precise proportions are immediately attractive and it does not fail to convey a sense of the infinite in a tangible way. I feel as if I’ve transcended time and space and am peering into some computer matrix!

I move onto Elvis in a Launderette (2003), a huge photo of an aged Elvis lookalike, his hair perfectly slicked back, looking downcast and waiting for his washing to dry in a dimly lit launderette. The artist, Laura Church, has certainly got me thinking about the icons that we as humans emulate and believe in and how they too are subject to the grim tones of real life after the limelight has faded.

Another intriguing artist, Peter Lardi previously worked as a structural engineer; his urban installation entitled Diversity (2004) makes use of discarded materials found on construction sites thereby exploring "the possibility of a material renaissance". There are blue white and fragmented pieces of mirrored glass on wood. His revisiting of materials gives them a "second chance" and puts them into a new reality.

In stark contrast, Annette Schroeter’s painting Woman in Traditional Dress (2005) takes a nostalgic look at pre 1930s German folklore celebrating traditional costume depicting a girl wearing a headdress in decorative, warm and rich colours

I’ve enjoyed my journey through art this afternoon and have even lost myself in one or two of the pieces. I’m reminded of what Brian Eno once said, that we should see artworks "as triggers for experiences rather than as objects". So true.

I think the curators have done a wonderful job and as I’m about to leave, I chat with one of them. I share my hope with her that one day the art world will become less exclusive and elitist. I ask her about her job and she tells me that she is continuously fascinated by how totally unexpected artworks complement each other; she’s amazed by the originality of some of the degree show pieces and explains how she enjoys promoting art both within the university and in different public spaces, thereby bringing people together and connecting art to the outside world.

  • Marisa Laycock moved from south west London to St Albans in 2000. She enjoys sharing her experiences of living in the city.