RSA New Contemporaries
- Susan Mansfield
- 15 March 2019
Colourful and kaleidoscopic showcase for emerging artists in Scotland
The RSA's New Contemporaries exhibition, now in its tenth year, has established itself as the premier showcase for emerging artists in Scotland. Featuring 63 artists who graduated last year from Scotland's five art schools, it's a big, colourful kaleidoscopic show with work in all disciplines jostling, cheek by jowl, for attention.
Electronic work is relatively sparse this year, while painting appears to be in robust health. Michael Doherty, for example, paints boldly in a traditional style seeking 'to revive traditional representational painting and ground it in contemporary art', while Emily Herring's large-scale portraits of attack victims mirror their subject matter with distressed surfaces.
Pavel Isupov paints moody, evocative scenes of wintry parks and tyre tracks in the snow. Shipei Wang, painting in acrylic on silk, explores myths and folklore in a contemporary graphic style, while Samantha Cheevers' small mixed media pieces move from urban exploration towards the surreal.
It's always interesting to see how an artist's work expands from the limited space of a degree show into the grand neo-classical rooms of the RSA. While the install doesn't get it right every time – a few artists are in danger of being swamped by their near-neighbours – most have been able to respond with increased scale and ambition.
Daniel Craddock occupies a wall almost to its full height with an installation of his quietly assertive minimalist painting. Natalie Morgan-Klein's white organic-shaped sculptures take on a kind of quiet monumentalism in the RSA's marble courts, while Alice O'Connor's immaculately crafted wooden sculptures have a delicate clarity.