Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2018 (4 stars)

Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2018

Georgia Bew

Could this be the best year yet?

Even with the building wrapped in scaffolding and the main central areas out of action, Edinburgh College of Art has managed to stage its most impressive degree show in some years. Access has been restored to the spacious first floor studios, with the painters in particular benefitting from having more room to breathe.

They are an interesting and varied bunch. Pavel Isupov paints restrained, atmospheric landscapes inspired by his native Russia in winter. Winona O'Connor has chosen the tricky medium of watercolour on fabric for ethereal evocations of place. Emily Herring has painted large-scale portraits of attack victims, where the medium itself shows signs of distress, while Daniel Craddock excels at calm, minimal abstraction.

Taylor Lyle uses bright colours and patterns to show us something of what the world is like for someone with severe dyslexia. Georgia Bew's work (pictured) leaps into three dimensions with quirky fabric sculptures inspired by playgrounds.

In Sculpture, the students have spearheaded the reopening of a small ceramics studio: Camilla Bidell and Kathryn Russell have produced some excellent work in this medium, while Doug Mackie has a traditional sculptor's instinct for form, scale and materials. Then there are pillows that talk (Sophie Case), plants that yelp when you touch them (Emily Dunlop) and foam, which creates new sculptural shapes every day (Amy Truscott).

Taylor Shaw's work is informed by her expertise at taekwondo: she has taken a lump of clay which is her fighting weight and imprinted it with blows from her feet and hands. Meanwhile, Sophia Pauley (Painting) uses abstraction to explore her experience of moving through space as a swimmer.

Rohanie Campbell-Thakoordin (Intermedia) has invented a country, and takes an ironic look at borders and admission procedures. Campbell Hishelwood has made a mirror disguised as a camera, which beams the faces of the unsuspecting on to a screen in reception, which Chloe McCallum's colourful weave of wool and light recalls the days when Intermedia was still called Tapestry.

Several students take a hard look at the art world itself. Amelia Tan's actors mimick the behaviour of people in art galleries, while Ladina Clement's show mimicks a booth at an art fair, complete with a Damien Hirst-ish spot painting made by potato printing. Don't forget to look behind it, for a final twist in the tale.