We did it!! The fourth year painters of Gray’s School of Art got everything successfully finished, packed up and send down to Edinburgh from Aberdeen for opening night at The Arts Complex on Friday 22nd February. As mentioned in my previous blog ‘Exhibition Preparations’ as a class we had to plan and organise absolutely everything to do with the exhibition and it paid off nicely for us. Everything went really smoothly and without any fall outs! Phew! As a year group we get on brilliantly and I feel very fortunate to be in a class with such talented, enthusiastic and genuine people and we will definitely be organising many more exhibitions together in the future.
The opening itself was a great success with a fantastic turn out, there was plenty of food and drink to see us through and everyone arrived looking very dapper and well dressed; which was a welcome change to the paint covered hands, aprons, boiler suits and old clothes that as a group we are usually adorned in! It is so nerve-wracking to put on show the work you have been hoarding away in your studio and working on day in, day out for so long. I definitely go on such a journey with every piece of work I make (as many artists do), I can leave the studio for the night being really pleased with the days work and progress, arrive back first thing next morning and want to change it all! Everything pulled together in the end though and I turned out rather pleased with the end result.
The completed series was based around time I spent ice hole fishing in Finland, it looks at surfaces I experienced during this time referring especially to the ice and snow that
covered and encased the sea. The work is made of 9 individual panels displayed in a patchwork fashion mirroring the shape of a gill net. Within the piece I drew inspirations from different traditional processes and techniques of fishing industries of Finland and my home of Shetland, using a range of materials.
I’ve really loved experimenting with materials and surface in this piece and every panel has turned out to be exactly that; an experiment. Within the piece there is a panel showing a gill net which has been encrusted in salt; a panel with large copper sulphate crystals; another with salted seaweed panels which have been hand sewn together and encased in a clear casting resin. The other panels used various other materials including salt, Shetland wool, varnish and graphite powder all on a flat surface of acrylic paint. These materials were used alongside processes exploring surface and the relationship between shine and matt. I named the piece ‘Suomi’ meaning Finland in Finnish and it stands at just over 8.5 ft2.
Everyone involved put huge effort into the work produced and the individual styles and interests of every student really shone through. Gray’s as an art school is fantastic at allowing us students to do exactly as we wish to. We are encouraged to try out all our ideas, no matter how abstract and random they may be! We often use the expertise and equipment of other specialisms to give our ideas a launch pad to grow and adapt from and we are lucky to have the support of excellent tutors and brilliant facilities.
There is still a chance to catch the exhibition until 3rd of March at The Art’s Complex, St Margaret’s House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE. Back in the studio work is continuing and the next deadline is the real deal, Degree Show in mid June…Very exciting!