Glasgow MFA Degree Show 2011
Monday, June 13th, 2011
Degree Shows are, as far as I’m concerned, fraught with danger; the sheer weight of what’s on offer causing fluctuations in quality, as well as meaning that the more subtle and esoteric works get crowded out by the whizz-bang neon lights and large-scale installations.
I’m absolutely not saying that the 2011 Glasgow MFA Degree Show is any different, but it is, more so than previous years, definitely worth the effort. Roll up your sleeves, tackle that sensory overload full-on and you’ll be generously rewarded.
Obviously, to try to pick out trends amongst this lot would be impossible, so I’ll just focus on the small handful of bits and pieces that I was particularly taken with. Judith Liddle’s hyper-kitsch candy-coloured sculpture, titled ‘Look Into My Eyes and Tell Me That You Love Me’, was one of the very first pieces I cast my wee eyes onto and it managed to stay with me beyond everything else that followed. It comprises two large globular green sculptures connected by a very swish pink velvet sheet. The nature of Degree Shows being as they are, there’s unfortunately a work a few doors down which is quite similar, superficially at least; Ross Little’s spray-painted sculpture on a rotating platform. While we’re on Ross Little, incidentally, he is also exhibiting a laptop covered in thick black paint which is pretty rad, so maybe check that out too, if you can.
Onto the Ashanti Harris exhibition then, which consisted of a large circular mound of earth on the gallery floor, with two or three rings of footsteps trampled on top of the ripped-up roots. This was, very effectively, hidden away behind a partition isolating itself and the viewer from the hobnobbing thrum and, more importantly, from the rest of the show. Unfortunately, this piece was accompanied by a weak bit of video art, mercifully tucked away in a corner on a small screen, showing a dude hopping about in a field. Even this failed to dull the effect of the central piece though, which I’d say was maybe the best thing I saw out of the whole lot.
Also worth a quick mention are Aimi Louise Ferrier’s beautiful and frequently disturbing oils, as well as Myrto Giotakou’s cartoony printwork loveliness. Amy Malcolm’s disquieting hive-like sculpture piece, of what looked to me to be wooden slates piled on top of one another and covered in foam, also a definite high-point, as was Joshua Duncan’s witty Sauna. I have absolutely no idea on which grounds I’d recommend Max Prus‘ absurdist video work, given it’s graphic imagery (seriously, you’ve been warned – I’m still having ‘Nam-style flashbacks), but despite it being permanently on the edge of falling into abstract cliche, it does undeniably have a certain power to it. Just don’t expect to sleep within 48 hours of viewing.