ECA and GSA Degree Shows
The degree shows at Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art provide two distinct flavours
Edinburgh College of Art ●●●●
In Edinburgh, the sculpture is particularly strong. In one studio, you are greeted with Abigail McPaul’s row of bright blue trees. They are beautifully delicate, and the corresponding prints, showing close-ups of the branches, make it feel as though you are walking through a pretty but unearthly woodland. In the same studio, Frances Hetherington’s small confetti room creates the illusion of being in a strange underwater world. It is a brilliantly playful space that has clearly been enjoyed by many: the confetti is spread everywhere through the college and beyond.
There are a number of great performance pieces including one in which sculpture student Malcolm Fraser leaps from a wobbly stool and draws a line on the wall with charcoal as he falls into a pile of pillows. In another, participants are allowed to throw paint powder all over painting student Jodie Powell and her white bedroom, transforming it into a mess of bright colours.
Glasgow School of Art ●●●●
In Glasgow there is a lot of excellent video and digital work complementing more traditional paintings and sculptures. Aleksandra Roch and Justyna Ataman collaborate to create a living-room set-up featuring a weird-but-wonderful collection of satirical videos that attack the wealth and power of commercial companies.
Chris Silver’s work is in a similar vein: he lived off porridge for over four months to demonstrate the damaging effects of welfare cuts. His Austerity Cafe is a large instillation in which he acts as the chef or owner and hands out paper bags containing either a homemade muffin and a top-quality tea bag or some flour and a sub-standard tea bag. 'We’re all privileged, but some are more privileged than others,' is his message.
Other stand-out pieces include Jennifer Clews' film of rocking wooden chairs, a simple but haunting installation, and Karen McIntyre's 'Hats on the Hill', a tent with hand-knitted woolly hats hanging from the side as if left out to dry on a washing line. Inside a film shows people wearing the very same hats up Ben Arthur in the snow. It is a touching metaphor about a connected global community.