Glasgow School of Art MFA Degree Show 2018 (4 stars)

Art review: Glasgow School of Art MFA Degree Show 2018

Mathew Parkin

David Pollock examines this year's exhibition

For seven days in June, the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show colonised much of the city, with the courses associated with Design, Innovation and Architecture taking over multiple floors of the main Garnethill Campus on Renfrew Street and the Fine Art courses showing in the Tontine Building on Trongate. Across the entire show there was at least a full day's viewing, much more than can easily be covered in just one review; so here we're focusing in on the MFA aspect of the exhibition, and the work of those students who have been following the course which largely made GSA's reputation for producing world class contemporary artists in the first place.

Housed in the Glue Factory, a ramshackle warehouse space on the outer edge of the M8, the MFA show continues to reflect that sense of the industrial which still clings on in ever-developing Glasgow, of art exhibitions and ad hoc gigs which are executed in rough, commandeered former workspaces. The work on show spreads itself over multiple media and refreshingly shows almost no intent to conform to any kind of previously-successful industry norms, although the extensive levels of innovation on display are balanced by a clear sense that many of the young artists here are still finding their voice in terms of what they want to say.

Yet a few of the pieces are genuinely spectacular, and primed with potential for great things in future. Maria Gondek's sculptural piece sonically permeates much of the building, an intricate chandelier arranged from what appear to be welded copper heating pipes, designed in such a way that the hot steam passing through them and billowing off towards the ceiling creates a low chime like a sustained end-of-shift siren. It's a marvellous response to this gallery environment, where beautiful artefact meets post-industrial decrepitude.

Nearby, Sarah Louise Keber's paint sculptures are technically and aesthetically stunning, a series of shaped, tactile stalactite formations made of thick layers of emulsion whose beauty is in defiance of the apparent illogic of their creation. Elina Bry, meanwhile, has created a couple of simple video and audio pieces, the most intriguing of which is one featuring the artist singing along with the Flirtations' 'Nothing But a Heartache' while measuring her own heartrate, an imagination-grabbing oddity of a piece.

Elsewhere Christian Noelle Charles has placed stylised videos of herself dancing to a silent rhythm around the building and Jaxton Su has devised an intriguing device which shifts islands of foam and iron filings around randomly on a surface (the title 'United Nations' appears to compare the process resonantly to the ebb and flow of national alliances); Corinna D'Schoto has created a room of bright, abstract sculptural pieces which appear to recreate the spaces in a nuclear home and Wojtek Gasiorowski has devised an alien-looking sculptural/audio/video piece which plays with the acoustic of a horned instrument; Dan Newton has responded imaginatively to the dank antechamber in which his work is sited with an ominous combination of mood lighting and a poem scrawled upon the wall; and Giulia Lazzaro and Megan Clark have collaborated on a cycling-themed performance piece, which is decorated with the latter's unusual, Leigh Bowery-esque racing outfits.

The Glue Factory, Glasgow, run ended.

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