Fine art students in this year’s degree show have really set out to impress, with a diverse range of approaches to printmaking teamed with an exciting and innovative approach to exhibiting.
Working towards the surreal, Anna Fennell Hughs has created a wonderful selection of multi- media prints that illustrate her own short story. Based on life events that we all encounter: the darker aspects of human relationships and the fragility of people. The prints display the longing for human presence, whether this be in a dark forest or on a rocky shore. Together the works depict a journey and a series of abstracted places. The work has strength, either split into stand-alone images, or worked together into a book or a film. You will fall into the fictitious world of the characters Poppy and Crocket and find a place in your heart for them. Hughs has deservedly been awarded the Royal Scottish Academy John Kinross Scholarship to Florence.
Fans of traditional Scottish culture will find Lesley Simpson’s work inspiring as she worked to replicate the ancient markings of the standing stones in the Argyll area with extroadinarily deep etchings using viscosity printing techniques that result in the image being made up of embossment and subtle pale grey line. The work spreads across the wall as Simpson has painted shapes and symbols in the colour of the paper. I think this elevates the work as a series. The presentation of glass-fronted frames means you have to get up close to really appreciate the fine detail.
Themes of the Scottish landscape extend as Ellis O’Connor works with the spirit of the land to create a series of lithographs that depict close natural surfaces and distant landscapes. She works in black and white inks over a selection of paper. The images are a bold account of the land, using layered-up photographic prints combined with marks she hand drawn marks. O’Connor has also produced a number of smaller prints and drawings for dale, each unique and well worth a look through. Her large-scale paintings mimic the lines you will find across the landscape and in her prints. O’Connor has been accepted into the Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries Exhibition and offered the John Kinross Scholarship to Florence; I’m sure both of these projects will give her the opportunity to produce more great work.
For me it is Moira Watson who creates the most impressive prints in this year’s show. Accepted into the Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporary Exhibition 2015, her work is powerful; large-scale, busy, colourful screen-prints demonstrating unbelievable skill and work with contemporary issues. Under the subject of the exploitation of global resources in the context of global leadership, war, political control and conflict, she has created a set of four screen prints that have the perfect balance of imagery and colour within each image and across the set. It is not easy to create something as complex and to balance the colours and registration perfectly, any such project would have taken much time and care. To have done this fourfold, each product as strong as the last, is very impressive. The overall effect of her work is empowering, with the combination of pale grey sculptures hanging from the ceiling finishing the space.
Elsewhere you will find exemplary works of printmaking used to support a greater body of work throughout the degree show. Dina Mackins presents a series of metal plates, drawn and etched into but not printed from. Through a series of screen-print on paper, wooden boards and while tiles, Chloe Waugh comments on the infamous murders of the Manson family. Marisa Satisa presents collagraph the shape of microscopic organisms assembled into the human body and printed on fine tissue.
DJCAD Degree Show 2014 fine art printmaking demonstrates exemplary standards of technical skill reinforced with issues and themes we can all relate to. I urge you to have a look around.