Traversing the checkered corridor of the Crawford building feels like stepping onto the chessboard in Alice in Wonderland. You will encounter a dazzling play of light and shadows alongside moments of wonder, considered tenderness, magic imbued with striking symbolism.
Linda Bolsakova’s exhibition registers on your body first; the climate of the room is cooled by a breeze flowing in from the open window. Once the body has acclimatized, the mind can contemplate the thoughtful and considered sculptural elements that are at once materially vibrant and also brimming with metaphor. Organic compositions of green grass, fresh shoots and neatly manicured cubes of earth are juxtaposed beside suspended metallic sculptures and plastic tubes that have an almost laboratorial feel. Your senses guide you through the space. My hands yearn to comb through the moist carpet of grass that cascades from the ceiling above, and my eyes begin zoom into the macro ecosystem Bolsakova has encouraged to form. Nothing feels fixed in this space, a seedling might decide to spring into existence at any moment, the wind may swoosh through the window and ignite the copper bell to dance and sing for a precious moment.
A quick hop and a step across to the other side of the corridor leads you into the magical world of Veera Krouglov. Here is an odyssey into an enchanted realm where creatures rendered in pen and clay live contentedly side by side. Primitive yet beautifully formed ceramic beasties are scattered throughout the room. Occupying the entire breadth of the main wall is an interactive mural that Veera has painted with magnetic paint and decorated with removable facial features that the viewer can rearrange as they please. In her statement of practice, Veera says that she finds inspiration from the “endless little details of life, how little birds move in that strange twitchy way, and how plants can grow in the most unexpected places.” Her imagination permeates everything with a joy and craftsmanship that will leave you with a warm feeling and a Cheshire cat smile.
In the room opposite is work from Art, Philosophy and Contemporary Practices. In a world where one size is supposed to fit all, it is refreshing and moving to be met by Craig Black’s tender, honest and moving account of the love between him and his mother that transcends the struggles of his disability. Craig approaches the latter with sensitivity in a diverse range of mediums that span sculpture, printmaking, video and audio. Read as a metaphor of the fragility of life, hands cast in bronze hang from a red ribbon reminiscent of ballet shoes. The voice of Craig’s mother washes over the room and a film on an adjacent wall reveals the tactility between his and his mother’s hands as they embrace their unique differences.
Further down the corridor, exhibited in a darkened room, is the light installation of Sophie Suominen. Sophie has constructed transparent triangles that bounce light from a projector onto three screens that mirror any person that steps foot in its range. This creates a dazzling fractal display where colors melt into one another, whilst simultaneously reflecting an infinite world within a world, constantly changing depending on how many people are in the room; a trip into another dimension where time and space encounter one another in a psychedelic embrace perhaps.
So much layered depth and versatility on offer at this year’s degree show can’t unfortunately be conveyed in a few paragraphs. Give yourself the time to contemplate all the small little details, easily overlooked during the hustle and bustle of the opening night; you’re in for a visual feast.