Amber Edmond’s work is inspired by the rugged landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. Sounds of the forest, wind and water fill the room, forming an evocative backdrop. Amber explores her relationship with nature; her photographs document her time spent in rugged locations, collecting objects she has found there. A series of abstract monoprints represent her own unique version of the land around her.
Cave paintings are the inspiration behind Vee Somerville’s unique installation. Dodecahedrons is a series of large rock-like structures adorned with strange symbols. The geometric sculptures appear to have been thrown playfully on a bed of sand. Are they alien space capsules crash-landed on a beach? What do the symbols mean? Are they ancient or futuristic? Vee invites us to be curious, to form our own interpretation, and reflect on mankind’s past and future.
Yiannis Koromias’ work is much more traditional. His standout piece is a sculpture of a female figure on the floor in the foetal position. She rests on a piece of drapery which seems to flow from the wall, her hand gripping the fabric as if she’s in pain. Even though she’s made of plaster, we feel she could move at any minute.
Kate Forbes’ moving work Flux. Liosag. is inspired by Kate’s grandmother, a dressmaker, now struck by dementia. Kate uses left-over fabric merged with paint, print, and other media to create “soft art”. The room feels homely and comforting, with pleasing pastel pinks, beiges and browns. Kate has a light touch: delicate floral paintings alongside drawings of porous rock. Her work is immersive and textural; she creates unique shapes with fabric, for example an old coat stuffed to form a cushion-like sculpture.
In the next room, Stephanie May McGowan’s Go Luck Yourself is quirky and uplifting. Giant cardboard scissors look like crossed fingers. A wheel of fortune stands in the middle of the room, and in the corner is a fortune-telling booth complete with lucky tokens. Her scratchy figurative drawings appear scattered around the room at random. Stephanie loves to play with words: Try Your Hand and Made You Luck poke fun at the absurdity of chance. Alice Campbell is also inspired by folklore and mythology. Her figurative paintings and prints are bold and richly colourful. They tell us stories from her Scottish, Irish and Carribbean heritage, blurring the lines between truth and imagination.
Sara Morrison takes us right back to basics, with her cartoon-like illustrated animal characters, picked out in white on flat primary-coloured backgrounds, while Magdalena Michalak continues the animal theme with her ceramic fish mounted on a dark blue, sea-like background. The fish, she says, represent birth, and the struggle to be free of the past, to forgive and accept ourselves.
Emma McDade’s series of powerful photographs explore the face in close-up. The subjects’ skin is painted silver, highlighting areas of the face and altering its texture. Emma shows us the intimate relationship between sitter and photographer. In Fragments, a time-based piece, Hayley Lindsay explores the relationship between art and science, and the impact of debilitating brain conditions. A series of eight monochrome prints are reminiscent of x-rays of the brain, while a video of a child swimming breaks into fragments. The standout piece is a sculpture made up of glass or resin bricks which beg to be touched.
Although this is just a brief snapshot of part of this year’s Fine Art degree show, the work overall is fun, colourful, uplifting and thought-provoking. A spirit of optimism shines through. It’s a joy to see.