In the Tontine Building, the Glasgow School of Art Fine Art Graduate Exhibition displays the final projects of students this year. While understanding the display as an exhibition (and reviewing it as such) is problematic, highlights can be examined and key themes appear throughout students’ work.
Modernism is always a feature of art school shows, as students attempt to create a unique voice and look forward in art. This is no exception, with futurism and elements of science fiction creeping their way into artwork, use of technology throughout the exhibits and a playfulness with materials. On the other hand, many students used more traditional approaches, including watercolour paintings, self-portraits and even still life. There is often a sense that fine art students defer to abstract art, yet these examples are bold and colourful – showing an understanding of history without being afraid of comparisons.
Nature is a theme that recurs throughout the show. These include the use of natural materials, paintings of natural scenes and reflections on humanity’s relationship with nature. Representation and identity are also very prevalent in the show, with many examples of students attempting to explore ideas of who they are and how they can represent that. Social justice is, as one would expect, tied deeply to this representation. Within this representation is the frequent use of language and text in several pieces, including poetry, fiction and quotations. This gives the sense that students are using both the literal (or literary) and the abstract to represent themselves and their ideas as fully as possible.
While the degree show is on for less than a week, it is definitely worth visiting if possible.
By Claire Goodwin
Fine Art + Sound for the Moving Image
Architecture, Design, Simulation + Visualisation, Innovation
The Garment Factory
10 Montrose Street
Main image caption: Niamh Moloney, Tenderlands (2018)