It’s the time of the year when Degree Shows pop up all over the place and a fresh dynamic to the regional arts scene springs up for everyone to see. A never-ending hotbed of talent which energises both aspiring and established artists alike.
Split into several areas at the Manchester School of Art it was easy to know where to go by following the stream of people. I decided to go against the grain and check out the Design area first where I was greeted by coloured glass and industrial lighting. Moving back downstairs to the Textiles area my creative eyes were happily soaking up the cool screenprints, colour swatches and trendy moodboards. Lovers of fabric will love the combination of transformative sculpture and long drapings by Amy Pham inspired by rhythms in colour and gesture. Emily Victoria Gidley’s 60’s fashion-inspired clashing prints, eye-popping colour and illustrations.
**Video contains nudity**
Moving towards the Holden Gallery the Photography area really grabbed me with its multi-layered combinations of images and placement of found items to create an interesting play with time, space and place. The Castlefield Gallery’s pick by Mia Portet is a large photographic installation dominated by two images and supplemented by small wooden outserts covered by another image. The whole piece creates an enveloping feel emphasised by the wrapped draping content.
“To the artist on the threshold of entering the world beyond art school, it’s the opportunity to explore new things that leads to new ways of new thinking, to engage with a sense of magic, and in turn give voice.” David Osbaldeston
Moving around following the stream of film, from nudes on the beach to animations, next to the fun re-collaged representations of Trump, to the modern-day takes on still-life photography. The photographic line-up of self-portraits by Amy Lofthouse are distorted or display cracked mirrors which are increasingly relevant whilst we experience a crisis of mental health illness.
Upstairs is the Fine Art area broken up by individual areas combining one or two artist’s work, mixing painting with video, installation, print and sculpture. There’s definitely a mix of interpretation and style which you would expect from a Degree Show – representational, figurative, abstract – all acknowledging contemporary themes – female identity, self-expression to political ideology. The use of sculptural materials is still a popular route, similar in the way that many of the photographic installations used different spatial combinations. Graduates such as Rosa Baugh (digitally altered screenprints), Stephen Barr (painting/canvas installation), Shahram Farrokhnejad (wooden wall assemblage), Annabel Holland (neon found materials) and Victoria Morton Marshall (coloured perspex arrangements) have all used materials and different processes to enhance or expose their transformational qualities.
“Plaster, plants, paper, concrete, steel, ceramic, glass, fabric and sound are some the materials used, reminding us that making is empowering.”
On until 20th June
Manchester School of Art Degree Show 2018
Manchester School of Art (Benzie, Grosvenor and Chatham Buildings, Cavendish Street, M15 6BR) and 99 Oxford Road (Old Manchester Met SU, M1 7EL)