WSA BA Degree Show: Private View & Opening Evening
Wednesday evening was the opening and private view of the WSA BA Degree show of 2015. Having been working at the school for nearly a year now, this was my first experience of the end of degree show and I loved every bit of it!
Starting with the Head of School’s reception, everyone mingled with canapés and wine, whilst a video of the WSA London Fashion Show was projected on to the far wall. It was packed and people spilled outside from the room as more and more people arrived.
I’ve picked out some of my favourite pieces from the exhibition –
Oliver Allen is from Fine Art and has some pieces upstairs in Eastside. I was told that he paints his dreams and is non-stop with his work. Two large pieces ‘At the time I was thinking’ and ‘At the end is the feeling’ are surreal, colourful paintings, which I likened to the work of the surrealist Juan Miro. Olly says ‘In the Middle Ages, dreams were seen as dangerous for their ability to release the wild beast within us, revealing our demonic side, and as angelic for their ability to foresee the future and save us from disaster’
Downstairs in the sculpture studio are some of Amy Rose Holland’s work, inspired by second hand culture & jumble/boot sale objects. Her collection of objects and finds is called ‘The Museum of Fugitive Objects’ and she says ‘Where the jumble sale acts as a state of reincarnation for the objects, the museum becomes a place of object retirement’. There’s something quite eerie about some of these pieces, I suppose the ones with dolls heads/figures remind me of scenes from Toy Story with mutilated toys, functioning again with scrap replacement parts! However, I really love the new life & purpose she gives to the adapted objects.
In the small room at the back of the studio, a curved wall has been installed to frame Lauren Goldie’s ‘Overlap’. She has used glass wax, metal, wood, Perspex and video to create a sculpture which resembles a crystal stargate! Projected on to this is a video of her process of making, de-constructing materials and building, layering them up. Lauren told me that the piece has a strong concept of regeneration, having taken apart an old installation and re-used the materials within this this new piece. I couldn’t help but take my own perspective of the crystal like sphere, the healing properties of stones and with its changing, dancing light, I couldn’t resist the invitation to play with the silhouettes I could cast! Lauren has positioned the installation purposefully so that the audience can move around it and see the fixtures and workings of how its effects are created.
Also on Eastside is Kalisto Bancroft’s ‘Fuck Conformity, Expression is Everything’ – Ramblings of an Unconventional Hippie: A Manifesto. She has placed two huge scale paintings, a typewriter and a manifesto on display, which are based on ideas of freedom of speech. Inspired by the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, Kalisto’s work is an abstract expression of journalistic solidarity.
Alina Whitford’s untitled mandala is a display of patience, a passion for detail and pattern. The intricate detailing and pen strokes are skilfully symmetric and the shapes almost begin to move the more you look. Alina says of her work ‘the process of creating is when I feel most connected to my art and when it feels familiar’.
In Westside there’s Graphic Design & Photography in the Winchester Gallery, Fashion & Textiles upstairs where you can view the WSA London Fashion Show and the open studios of Fine Art.
Masie Buckley has used fabric, wool, latex and wax to create hanging sculptural headdresses. Her work has been inspired by mental illness and she wanted the pieces to be ‘an organic extension of the body’. The latex net seeming as though a cage over the head, but with soft beauty, piercing through the gaps with the flowers, feathers & fabric.
In the Fine Art studios, Musfirah Wajihah has displayed a number of illustrations of sad, female characters. Each one has their own persona, are youthful and have an almost cartoonesque cuteness about them. What drew me to these so much was the impact of them all together, but also the intense sadness, the delicacy of her pencil marks and the way she brings the tears/water off the page. Musfirah says ‘I broke through my insecurities and began creating raw, yet subtle artworks that reach out to others’.
Tsz Kwan Yip has used photography, video, painting & even a small collection of sculpture casts in her work inspired by the feminist identity, in a male-dominated society. Using her own experience from a time of violence, control and violation she has explored her own feminine identity and questions the taboo of female nudity within Chinese culture. ‘Five Elements’ are small canvas’ , each with a nude female form representing a different element. A video plays on one side of the room showing her set up process for some of her photography work, which she did every stage herself. In one photo she is painted head to toe in gold with her face hidden by her hair, another crouched on a woodland floor with a line of earth across her back. Her work is beautifully done and she balances a stark vulnerbility with a brave openness of her own female identity.
Also in Westside, there’s the Degree Show Pop-Up shop selling prints, postcards, yearbooks and other items, so don’t miss the opportunity to purchase some work!
The Degree Show runs until Sunday 21st June 2015, so come and catch it quick this weekend!
Quotations taken from ‘Shared Drive: WSA Fine Art Yearbook 2015’
Robynne Willowby, 2015.