Student Spotlight season is upon us, and we're profiling several Degree Shows up and down the country. Amy Thellusson gives us an exclusive preview of the Ruskin School of Art Degree Show...
Above: Paintings and Installation by Noelle Turner-Bridger
The Ruskin Degree Show 2015
The Green Shed, Oxford
Just ten minutes from the centre of Oxford, but feeling like a world away from the city of dreaming spires, The Green Shed is the studio warehouse sweet spot on the Osney Mead Industrial Estate - home to the Ruskin School of Art Degree Show for the second year running.
Part of Oxford University, but very much moving to its own rhythm, the Ruskin is known to be a small and curious school unlike most. It’s the testing ground for some of the brightest and best contemporary art of our generation, and also the only institution that requires you take a drawing exam wearing a black gown and bowtie.
Installation in progress at the Green Shed
This year the Ruskin’s 23 finalists have designed the exhibition space to have the look and feel of a labyrinth - even more so, that is, than the average art show. After stepping off the road outside visitors find themselves approaching the warehouse down a long path of alarming straightness towards a building as honest looking as its name suggests. Inside, however, the game begins. You are presented with a choice of four options, each direction taking you through a journey of spaces, each totally different to the last. A giant drawing mounted on a curving wall draws the eye into impossible patterns, a golden snooker table light beams intently onto fragments of flint in a side room, a jumper quietly hums as its threads are converted into sound waves. Near the centre a mysterious cylinder strobes blue light towards the roof as if signalling the players to the eye of the maze. Outside, three large containers showcasing two video pieces and a computer game form a courtyard cul-de-sac with the side of the warehouse.
Paintings and Installation by Arieh Frosh
Painter and film maker Arieh Frosh has installed a series of three paintings under a structure of white pipes which drip blue liquid into bowls below. With their shadows forming a lattice with the satin stripes of the paintings, the pipes read as both extension of the composition and a response to the industrial architecture of the warehouse interior. The slow dripping seems the perfect temporal answer to the eerie space within the compositions, neither alarming nor soothing but evocative of a semi-solidity between memory and reality, sleeping and waking.
Installation with works by Mateo Revillo and Emma Papworth
Taking powerful command of a large open area, a collaborative installation by Mateo Revillo and Emma Papworth raws its every surrounding into an examination of form and surface. Incisively removing the veneer of the white cube, Mateo’s plaster board plate is articulated directly onto the carcass of the wall. At the same time bashful, inquisitive and fainéant, Emma’s sculpture-paintings carry a bodily presence and have a quiet humour about them. Are they hard or soft? It’s not for them to tell.
Mateo Revillo and Emma Papworth
Behind a black curtain we suddenly find ourselves in the territory of painter and performance artist Joe Mackay. A projected film documenting a quasi-theatrical animalistic ritual sheds light on a collection of artefacts- objects which are equally triumphant as sorrowful.
Projection and Installation by Joe Mackay
The Ruskin Degree Show opens to the public on Friday 19th June and is open every day 12-6pm until Monday 22nd. Check their website for more details.
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