Until 28th August
Leith School of Art is Edinburgh’s independent art school and a charity which receives no public subsidy. The school has just launched its End of Year Online Exhibition 2020 for students of the year-long courses. Since lockdown, tutors had to abandon face-to-face teaching overnight and evening classes had to be cut short, devastating to the future running of the School, which relies on finance from its range of classes.
A couple of weeks after the initial wrench of lockdown restrictions and armed with a new sense of what can be achieved online, staff at the School took a positive approach to its year-long course students by offering online support, leading up to this end of year online exhibition.
Almost half the year has taken place under lockdown, and the stuck-at-home students have been inspired, challenged and engaged through a final uncertain term. Taking the exhibition online must have been yet another challenge but it actually showcases how much has been achieved under difficult conditions. It has also sparked a new context and direction for some students, as well as giving voice to the collective experience of lockdown.
The exhibition displays artworks from eight different year-long courses ranging from Foundation through to an additional Graduate Residency programme. There is typically a lot of work to view at end-of-year shows, and there is plenty to see here online too. Online viewing allows you to dip in and out rather than absorbing it all in one visit. This offers a more intimate experience with the artworks and an opportunity to find out more about the artist. There are quick links to Instagram, YouTube or artist websites for further exploration of each artist that catches your eye. However, it would be great to see the works on display at some point in the future.
Some works in the exhibition are naturally infused with a visual depiction of life in lockdown. You can toggle your view of the artworks up close and in full screen, matching the experience of viewing in the real-world.
Some highlights for me include:
Foundation: Thomas Fairlamb’s spirals and painting by Celia Furness
Painting: Fiona Burrows‘ Leith Harbour, oil on canvas and Kshema Cooper’s mixed-media paintings, Joanne Cruickshank’s use of tone and Ian MacLeod’s bright watercolours
Contemporary Art Practice: Karen Prentice’s giant hair grip, and Sheila Yarrow’s Book of Tears
Figure: Iain Black’s ‘Flesh and Bone of Isolation’ project
Landscape: Jennifer Mole‘s oil paintings and Stephanie Salomon‘s mixed-media scenes of urban nature
Printmaking: Stuart Norman’s linocuts.
Some works are priced and for sale – available to purchase from the school. 20% of proceeds from the End of Year Online Exhibition 2020 will go towards supporting students on year-long courses in the 2020/21 academic year, through its Assisted Places Scheme.
The staff have worked wonders to keep all students engaged through regular themed email classes encouraging the wider Leith School of Art community to keep sharing work through hashtags on Facebook and Instagram. This exhibition is an opportunity to reach a wider online audience and attract future students.
Instead of cancelling, Leith School of Art has opted to bring its upcoming Summer School online for the first time. Running 20th July until 14th Aug, these week-long stand-alone courses have all the quality of the studio-based courses, encompassing slide lectures, group discussion and lots of one-to-one tuition. The school plans to re-open in September.
Leith School of Art
25 North Junction Street
Edinburgh EH6 6HW
Image: Celia Furness – Untitled, acrylic on board
See also news item about the show
With. grateful thanks to Julie Boyne for this review.