Friday, 7 July 2017

Grays School of Art Degree Show 2017 Part 1!

So that's it again for Grays School of Art and all the new graduates. Time to go off and make it, out there in the big bad world. But one heartening thing I've seen from this years crop is that many of them already have! I mean been out there making things happen. I'd met Allana Hardie in March at the Walk the Block Festival where she did a great blind drawing of me and Mary and then again in April when she volunteered for the Nuart Festival. She ended up saving my bacon as I rushed to set up some projectors and had no car to transport everything. Through out the week she was on hand, directing traffic, delivering lunches and generally doing whatever needed to be done. One of my favourites from this years show was the work of David Iain Brown. After speaking to David I learned he'd also volunteered in April for the Look Again Festival, helping with the install and build of The Listener in Union Terrace Gardens. I'd actually shared a picture of him and didn't even realise. 

In the grand scheme of things these are small interactions or moments but certainly ones which can have a lasting effect. In a world of self centreism and instafame to give up your time to help whether its a huge art festival or to set up a small show with friends can have an impact. As I wondered round this years show I was delighted to see work I recognised from the C.A.P. Pre Degree Show show a few months before. Although not exactly the same I recognised the artists motifs and it added an extra sense of appreciation. C.A.P. tutor Michael Agnew told me this is the first group who have completed the C.A.P. course from year 1 to graduation as its a new course structure, replacing the individual areas of practice like sculpture, print making and digital and moving image, instead bringing them all under one umbrella. And I would say its paid off, the breadth of work was wide and there was a certain dynamic energy to their show which I think was missing a little bit from other areas. 

Painting still stands alone and students presented some interesting work. I enjoyed Alison Grays compositions and Jack Dunnets minature paintings were excellent (both in post no 2). The design studio was filled with typography and cutting edge design but I often think it would be interesting to mix things up a little and show some of this work over in the C.A.P. space or up in the painting rooms. I guess the strong work will stand out but its almost a design overload. Same with the commercial photography work, I often find myself just glancing as I walk past and then its forgotten about. It's also a pain in the arse to photograph for the purposes of doing a blog post about! And alas, you will see that not all the students work is featured below. I did split it up into cohesive sections with design and C.A.P. below and product design and painting to follow in a second blog post. With so much to see it would be difficult to photograph everything, it would also probably become a little boring. I try to capture the bits that catch my eye or the work that gets my attention, after all art is subjective, one mans trash is another's Monet. 

But for all the new graduates, the journey is really just beginning and I don't think there's been a more exciting time to be in Aberdeen. With a host of opportunities to get involved in huge art festivals, galleries like Seventeen offering graduate shows and studio spaces like The Anatomy Rooms it might just be worth holding off on that bus ticket to Glasgow but make no mistake, you have to work to make it work. But its worth it!