Glasgow School of Art's degree show is an incentive to loosen up a little
- Jessica Ramm
- 14 June 2017
Take off your shoes and enjoy the show at the latest graduates child-like, humorous exhibition
Being asked to remove your shoes when entering a home is a delicate and controversial issue that divides people. Being asked to remove your shoes at a degree show implies that this years' graduating students are either unabashedly sincere about protecting the cleanliness of their artwork or that they're claiming the exhibition space as an intimate and safe domain for their own creative recreation.
Growing up in a risk-adverse society, it makes sense that this cohort is celebrating the vernacular of soft play: a language of flaccid stuffed shapes and bold colours. Millie Layton's waggling appendages and Katie Rose Johnston's pillowy objects are reminiscent of early learning furniture found in play centres. The work on display here is a nudge of encouragement to loosen up and live a little.
This year the students aren't content for us to watch from a safe distance, they're asking for our participation. Accordingly, visitors are invited to pass through a range of architectural structures such as Flora Hunt's re-interpreted classical archways. Lachlan McFeely Bolt speaks to his visitors from a nearby cupboard via an intercom installed in his space, giving the impression of a closeted artist working hard to make work in a humorously cramped position. Perhaps through humour it's possible to shake off the weight of an increasingly rigid system where the young must work to service the status quo.
Across the show, issues of creativity and control are being played out on multiple levels. There is a compelling sense of material being stuffed into a range of forms, sometimes very literally bagged and sealed like products on a supermarket shelf, sometimes using traditional casting processes. After all, the word 'stuff' is both a noun and a verb. Amy Kim Grogan displays a rack of wriggling silicone carrots cast from supersize prizewinning vegetables and a selection of roast chicken soaps on ropes. Many of the objects on display present a savvy but straightforward approach to the complexities of the material world.
GSA Degree Show, Glasgow School of Art, until Sat 17 Jun.