Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Top 5: GSA Degree Show 2018

I was so sad to see the news at the weekend that another fire had devastated Glasgow School of Art's historic Mackintosh building. There were actually tears in my eyes as the pictures filled the screen. I'm not sure why I felt so effected - I didn't study there and have only visited a couple of times but the thought of such an amazing building (both in terms of aesthetic and what goes on inside it) being ruined again when it was so close to reopening is just heartbreaking.

I'd already written up this post last week and have been in two minds whether to share it or not. I've come to the decision that it's important to celebrate the work of these awesome graduating students and hopefully this top 5 (a tiny selection of the work on show) will introduce you to some great new artists and designers to watch , so here goes...

After the DJCAD show, my Scottish degree show tour continued with a trip to Glasgow School of Art. This is one I don't manage to get to that often so I was excited to check it out. Split across a number of buildings, it was a bit of treck to get round everything I wanted to see but it was worth the sore feet. There was an excellent mixture of work on show, with some particularly strong photography. This isn't usually an artform I gravitate towards (strange considering how many photos I take) but there were some great images that really captured my attention. There was plenty of other great stuff too, making it yet again a struggle to pick just five. But here we go, in no particular order...

1.) Flannery O'Kafka | Fine Art Photography

So here's some of that interesting photography I was talking about. I'd seen one of Flannery's photos on the poster for the degree show and it really made me want to make the trip to see the rest of the show (it was the one of the white mountain lion, in case you were wondering). I love the composition of the photos and the way they're displayed. There's something ordinary about them and oddly disturbing at the same time - I like that.

2.) Claudia Sabina Veneroni | Textile Design

I'm a big fan of a bit of embellishment and Claudia's work had it in spades. Wild and unusual prints are covered in detailed beading, stitching and sequins. I don't even want to think about the time that went into this very full display! Her designs tell weird, wonderful and surreal stories, all centred around her travels to Hong Kong and then exaggerated to pack a real punch. I want to see all the garments in the fashion illustrations become a reality and then make their way into my wardrobe, please.

3.)Sophie Daw | Silversmithing and Jewellery

Sophie's work was also quite abstract. Looking at it, the pieces aren't obviously items of jewellery but there was something about the textures and colours that really drew me in. All of the collection is extremely tactile and I had to do my best not to just stand there stroking it all like a weirdo. I can totally imagine wearing one of these pieces and taking comfort from touching and fiddling with it. I like the accidental look and quality of these pieces - the fact that no two are the same. There's something very un-precious (is that a word?) about this that made them stand out against the precision and clean lines of some of the other work on show (not that I don't appreciate that too!).

4.) Vilte Fuller | Painting and Printmaking

Talking about wanting to touch the artwork, I had to put my hands behind my back to stop myself from touching Vilte's images. They look like paintings in these photos but they're actually printed on velour. Sassy! I love how wonderfully hedonistic her characters/ subjects are and the odd bits of detris scattered around her space were integuing little tit bits. I've seen a photo of one of her works as a pocket square and I want it so bad!

5.) Lucy Lamort | Sculpture and Environmental Art

The #MeToo and Time's Up movements have featured in a number of degree show displays this year and that's a good thing in my eyes. These are not just moments, these movements are rallying cries for actual change, and Lucy's work caught that idea perfectly. Her wall hangings and prints feature bold text with sentences like "YOUR SYMPATHY IS PERFORMATIVE" and "MEN 'EXPRESS CONCERN' WOMEN 'WHINE'" highlighting differing standards based on gender. The banners and prints made me think of protest placards and I especially liked the one above about making bad men into muses. The way it's repeated really made me stop and think what it meant and question why that's something society does. I also love how much space the wall hangings take up, causing the words and thoughts to take up space too - as they should.

There you have it, my top five from this year's GSA degree show. There were so many more that I could have included - special mentions go to Andrew Sutherland, Helen Robinson and Hyelee Yeo -  but I have to stop somewhere.


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