On the day before the final Degree Show hand-in, a fire broke out within the Glasgow School of Art. The Mackintosh Building in Garnethill was horrifically damaged and much of the student artwork was destroyed. It is every art student's nightmare, and art and architecture enthusiasts all around the country expressed their shock and sympathy for the students and tutors involved.
Cass Art was going to run a Student Spotlight on the GSA Degree Show 2014, but in light of these tragic events, we instead wanted to give the student's view and show certain artworks as they would have been seen. Thankfully, and against all the odds, the Glasgow School of Art will still be hosting a special show on 13th June, for students whose work was damaged in the fire.
A Statement from Glasgow School of Art Students:
We are Painting/Printmaking fourth year students at the Glasgow School of Art, and this year our degree show should have been viewed, as with every other year before us, in the historic Mackintosh Building in Garnethill. However, on the last day before our final hand-in, a fire broke out in our beautiful, much-loved building and brought devastation to what should have been celebration.
Our work, that we put every scrap of our energy into creating, is now either destroyed, stored away or being restored, and though it is heart-breaking to lose a degree show and the Mackintosh building, which sometimes formed the fabric of the work, we are relieved that we, the makers, are still here and in one piece, and the building will, eventually, be rebuilt. This is not a bad outcome. We are grateful for the love and support of the GSA who have endeavoured to put us, the fourth year fine art students, first in their thoughts and actions; we also appreciate the assistance from friends, family and strangers locally and internationally, at this surreal and confusing time.
This year was already a particularly exciting one as we have a lot of things to celebrate: the completion of the new design school, the Reid building, brings together design and fine art together into one campus for the first time in three years; the Commonwealth Games later on this summer have brought a lot of international attention to Glasgow, and huge local art events such as Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and the Generation series of prominent exhibitions have given us a great context in which to display our own work. We will have an exhibition of our fourth year work to be a part of these great events and to show our grit and determination not to let a terrible accident destroy what we deserve.
The Cass Art Student Spotlight
The Glasgow School of Art Painting and Printmaking students celebrate the multi-discilinary nature of art, exhibiting printmaking, sculpture, installations and video art as well as a diverse and eclectic selection of paintings. We had a quick-fire question round with the students to find out about the work that they'll be showing at the end of their fourth year.
How has your work developed through your time at GSA?
Hannah Hamill: My work has developed a more expansive practice with a greater focus on painting but using it as a basis for installations.
Lewis Miller: It's moved from a focus on 2-dimensional work, into sculpture, into installation.
Lydia Levett: In first year, after a project on minimalism I had a real turning point in my work and started my exploration of collage and putting different processes and materials together to create new works.
Andreas Behn-Eschenburg: Using different kinds of workshops at GSA (printing, wood, casting, textiles) has opened doors to what is possible with technical knowledge, and broadened my working process.
Minnie Carver: The most obvious thing is that my work has remained within portraiture, but has gone from realistic painting to more installation based sculptural work.
Francis Caballero: Managing time efficiently and varying my approach to works have been the most obvious changes I’ve recognised in my practice throughout my time at The Glasgow School of Art.
Freya Stockford: I think I’ve changed a lot in terms of process; I used to be very afraid of painting because I thought I wasn’t very good but I’ve definitely developed in terms of believing in my work and becoming more confident in it.
Caitlin Merrett-King: Throughout my time at GSA my work has developed significantly, moving from a more collage and printmaking based practice into installation, sculpture and film.
What are your favourite materials and top tips?
Top tip: Always use big brushes.
Lewis: Screen printing and the range of materials you can use through it
Top tip: Remember to cut your tabs well when screen printing.
Lydia: Materials wise, I'll try anything.
Top tip: Be able to play and experiment with work and make a lot, so you can choose a few.
Andreas: Steel, wood and printing materials.
Top tip: Try to think outside of the box with the materials that you have. Use traditional materials in an unconventional way.
Minnie: Actual clothing and plaster.
Top tip: When casting, remember to leave a lot of drying time. Keep the casts elevated on supports that equal the length of the cast otherwise there will be serious warping!
Francis: I have a fondness for waterproof tape now.
Top tip: Over the course of the year the best tip I’ve received is to be patient with my work; studio time can be a lot of sitting and looking.
Freya: I am extremely fond of gesso for everything; it’s just a good all-rounder!
Top tip: Have a good old play with everything you make.
Caitlin: My favourite materials are often found or everyday things like packing peanuts or toothpaste.
Top tip: Use a notebook religiously.
Can you tell us a little bit about your final project?
Hannah: My final project is a painting installation based on the concept of hyper-reality explored through the domestic space.
Lewis: It's a historical excavation of the relationship between primitivism and modernist architecture with the specific interest in the political history of central Africa since colonization.
Lydia: Exploring the idea of making and gesture as well as display. I'm interested in the voids as well as the image.
Andreas: I'm trying to put up an exhibition of a body of work rather than individual pieces. I've tried to frame my work within my space. It's about gestural action and technical process.
Minnie: It is a self portrait. All of my work explores portraits of absence and my clothing is a representation of my trace.
Francis: My final group of paintings centre around abstract still lifes, reproducing elements from a proliferation of sign and image in the studio.
Freya: My final show is based around the idea of uninhibited play. I don’t want to rationalise it or make it contrived, but my project wants to absorb the viewer in it.
Caitlin: Primarily exploring the significance of modernism, my final work aims to simultaneously challenge and affirm the timeless importance of this canon. An interest in televised art documentaries also fuels this exploration of the canon with a specific focus on means of information dissemination and the role of the documentary presenter as a ‘mouthpiece for the art world’.
What are your plans post-university?
Hannah: I plan to paint.
Lewis: I'd like to stay in Glasgow for the foreseeable future.
Lydia: I'm staying in Glasgow. In the future I'd like to go on to do a postgraduate degree.
Andreas: I'd like to keep printing and producing work. I'm going to apply for residencies.
Minnie: I'm going to continue work hopefully in my own studio in London and am waiting to hear back from residencies.
Francis: I'll be staying in Glasgow for another year, in search for studio time and work in general!
Freya: I’m hoping to move to London to work for a while, but I’ll definitely be back in Glasgow at some point.
Caitlin: After Art School I intend to stay in Glasgow.
The Glasgow School of Art students will be hosting a special show on 13th June in the McLellan Galleries. The degree shows for Design and Architecture will go ahead as planned. View their website here for more detail.
Visit the individual student's websites by clicking their names here: Hannah Hamill, Lewis Miller, Lydia Levett, Andreas Behn-Eschenburg, Minnie Carver, Francis Caballero, Freya Stockford, Caitlin Merrett-King.
Shout about your own degree show and artwork by taking part in our student competion - upload photos of your work to Twitter or Instagram with the hastags #CassArt #StudentSpotlight. All work will be featured on our homepage and one lucky student will win £500 to spend in Cass Art.
Image 2: Andreas Behn-Eschenburg
Image 3: Francis Caballero
Image 4: Hannah Hamill
Image 5: Minnie Carver
Image 6: Francis Caballero