Recently finished her third year at Gray’s School of Art as part of the Three Dimensional class, designer maker Amy Benzie gives Central Station her interpretations of the work displayed for this year’s degree show.
Summer is upon us yet again and there has been a determined buzzing in the corridors and rooms of Gray’s School of Art meaning it is once more the week of the Degree Show. 20 – 27 June celebrates the magnificent 130 years of positive impact and inclusion Gray’s holds within the local community – and far beyond. Promoting and preparing the individuality of each student, the show is a rich culmination of the eccentric, the skilled, and the beautiful – not to be missed.
On entering the building we are immediately met with the works of the three dimensional design department. Stopping by the pieces created by Hannah Rachel Morrison a wave of emotions are brought to life by her sea-scape inspired vessels. As if on a beach-combing adventure, the collection of hand thrown ceramics with ethereal, shimmering pools of blue green glass collecting in their bases, alongside kiln formed glass vessels, evoke a sense of discovery and sentiment. It is incredibly difficult not to get hypnotised by a video set alongside the collection, showcasing the process of throwing on the potter’s wheel – reiterating the craftsmanship, skill and time that goes into each creation.
As we move around each display, we embark upon the slick and well-oiled machine that is the product design department. Surrounded by innovative ideas, I was struck by an installation from Ross Marshall which focuses on upcycling and the responsibility of today’s designers. Constructed from re-purposed materials, the fun and quirky piece gently coaxes us into considering our impact on the planet as consumers and producers. With an element of art and design’s influence both present and future now at the forefront of our minds, we continue on to explore the labyrinth of the school’s corridors.
Carrying on through the building we finally come to the weird and wonderful world of sculpture. This section of the show is well worth exploring and is sure to surprise – there is even a car on display. Don’t forget to continue on across the courtyard where more students of Contemporary Art Practice display their hard work such as sculptor David Mitchell’s poetic representation of the beauty and intrigue of nature. Focusing on the nobility and strength of man, Mitchell’s work has a highly traditional feel. His busts are created using bronze, terracotta and plaster and each sculpture holds a strong presence in the room whilst revealing a vivid sense of the character it portrays.
In the main hall, the Graphic Communication students serve up work that makes us laugh, cry and think twice. Work includes the charming illustrations of Holly Green. Aimed at children, Green has used her characters to beautifully tell a story and they come alive as decorative forms on a range of children’s products.
Be sure to save time for making your way to the top floor of the building where Painting and Fashion and Textiles can be found. I strongly recommend getting absorbed in the explosion of colour, life and narrative that fills each room and corridor. Be mind-boggled by the surrealist art and Rogue Taxidermy of Rebecca Gallacher; be intrigued by the patterns and depth of colour present in Erika Doy’s Bio:Morphology garments; lose yourself in the fluid vibrancy of Steven Tupper’s expressions where the smell of cut lino still fills the air…
One of the final displays to be discovered was the work of Fine Art student Heather Macinnes. Each canvas conveys vibration, optics and a mathematical order of pattern – whilst also challenging intuition. These mesmerising sequences – created by scraping a layer of black ink away in part to reveal the colour underneath – draws the viewer in quietly. And in a similar way, this review barely scrapes the surface of what Gray’s has to offer this year. This inviting chocolate box of art and design welcomes you to come along and be inspired whilst celebrating the hard work and commitment put in by each and every student.
Gray’s School of Art Degree Show 2015 continues until this Saturday 27 June in Aberdeen. Find out more information online here.
See more Degree Show reviews on Central Station here.