Crawford Building, Level 2
20th – 28th May
With the open, free and unpredictable nature of the Fine Art course at DJCAD there is always great excitement and anticipation when Degree Show comes round. This year is no disappointment.
Tucked away in the Cooper Gallery is a truly delightful body of work. It is impossible to miss the sculpture created by Ulrika Kjeldsen. Entering the gallery, you could make the mistake of thinking you have walked onto the set of War Horse as you are immediately confronted by a giant steel horse. The magnificent scale leaves you wondering how she got it through the door in the first place. Upon closer inspection, the horse appears to resemble a toy rocking horse. Reducing this majestic animal to that of a children’s toy symbolises the concept at the heart of her work: through this representation of the Clydesdale horse, which is associated with the Scottish workforce, Ulrika highlights the oppression and exploitation of working class people throughout Scottish history. Three months of bending, welding and shaping went into its making and it is evident that learning and refining technical skill is important to Ulrika. This parallels the rigorous labour experienced by the people with whom the work engages. The display is suitably simplistic and the lighting has been well utilised to create a striking shadow of the horse’s head on the wall behind.
On the opposite side of the partition wall is an installation in stark contrast to the monochrome tones of Ulrika’s. Elise Bell brings us a cool and quirky display which is inspired by her family, home life and stories told by her grandparents. Intertwining fact with fiction, Elise has invented a band entitled ‘The Grandmothers of Methil’, and the installation offers viewers a backstage pass. Band tour boxes fill the space, containing a treasure trove of items. Not willing to compromise on home comforts, the band has packed impractical objects such as breakable crockery, numerous tea towels, ceramic plant pots and cat ornaments. The work is fun and humorous and a sheer love for making is palpable in the work as each item has been carefully hand crafted.
Before exiting the room take a look at the work by Daria Zadarnowska. Placed along the wall is a set of canvases showcasing her experimentation with the Encaustic Technique which incorporates layers of wax and mixed media. Daria is deeply inspired by her Christian faith and her work is a rich contemplation of her spiritual journey to God. Within the translucent layers of wax, she has embedded Bible verses and photographs representing moments of prayer. Her works are intricate and require close inspection, which beautifully reveals her personal and deeply intimate relationship with God.
Further into the art school, in studio 4, you can find the work of Alice Wadkin. It is a bold critique of how the University is run; her sound piece exposes the struggles of staff and students who must work within the institute’s business-like structure. Viewers become part of the conversation as they step onto her theatre-like stage and put on headphones to listen to the script, taking on the role of these characters themselves. Her work is an engaging invitation to become part of an important discussion.
There are many more works on display, and many more studios to explore. The wide variety of materials and concepts mean there is something for everyone to enjoy.