While DigiDegree shows were contested by art students all over the country, there is no way around it. COVID is still free-wheeling, so the usual format of the IRL Degree Show is a no-go. Thus, the degree shows went digital. Which sucks. With limited or non-existing studio space, restricted use of materials, and curtailed guidance it’s super impressive what art students have been able to pull off. where’s the frame has highlighted our SLADE and RCA favs before and last but not least we're delving into our alma mater CSM
CSM at its finest, that’ what we think of Sian Fan’s work for the degree show Seeping Out. Eerie & dark & cool & edgy & futuristic & existentialism in the digital age ya name it, it’s all there. But to be more specific, in performance form, the work reflects upon the entangled and co-dependent nature of humanity’s relationship to virtuality and seeks to heighten our awareness of the experience of being online. So it perfectly lends itself for a digital degree show.
Mesmerizing. The presentation, the colours, the forms, the textures, the fabrics. - everything about Yasmina’s Kosmos in Blue captivates us. Yasmina reveals that it is about “the post-colonial experience and the idea of being a person that is an amalgamation of different visions”. We think that this hybridity is what keeps us enthralled, contrasting “African tradition with pop culture ideas of the future and technology and the mystical is combined with the more clinical technology.” She draws her inspiration from the Senegalese director Djibril Diop for “an exploration into the surreal”, and also from Hausa Architecture and Gundam girls “in an attempt to find harmony in contrasts.”
Katy’s elusive paintings explore the transitional spaces between reality and imagination. Her dark abstract on the border of figurative landscapes are mysterious and beautiful. She describes how in her artistic practice for the degree show, she fuses “water-warped prints with intentional mark-making, to create otherworldly landscapes that portray a journey through elusive natural formations.” The results are visuals centring “around a search for calm in the obscure boundary between knowing and not knowing.”
Katarina has been on a radar for a while as we’ve been loving her expressiveness, interesting colour combos, and 2D or 3D in-betweenness of which she shares on the gram. She explains this is due to the clashing of the tech with traditional painting, “The flatness of the computer screen shapes the elements that I bring to the canvas, yet the oil paints and mediums I use yield anything but flat results on the surface. The tube motif that seems to run through my works hint towards being three dimensional, but as they are inspired by drawings on a flat screen this is more illusionistic than anything.” This is related to the colour palette as well, “The colour schemes are a concoction of the more traditional oil palette (e.g. cadmium yellow, pthalo blue) and more ‘artificial-looking’ neon colours that are to used demonstrate this conversation between the real and the digital painting.”
Scott Castner found a classic yet intriguing way of capturing their graduate project by shooting with 35mm film. This is a tricky medium yet has the capability of capturing the rawness of the object/subject. During the developing processes, the film negatives were further manipulated through physical and chemical confrontations that altered the record of light. Each of Scott’s works are their own portrayal and their body through history and records, with the title ‘Self portrait in Strips’. Scott believes ‘…that knowing yourself, and more importantly creating yourself, is the most powerful and radical act an individual can take to challenge systems of hegemony and supremacy’.
Beautiful abstract paintings meet moving image/ abstract expressionist and figurative modes, that’s Teo Burki’s practice. For her, it’s about blurring the lines between digital and manual sensibilities, it “creates a new simulacrum of the ‘in-between’ space, hovering over the shared domain of the virtual and real.” As CSM’er do best, she pushes the boundaries of the human experience into the digital realities and visa versa right into the shared domain of the virtual and real.
The graduate collection of Violette Villeneuve, a fashion student born in Paris, is based on the technique of upcycling. She sources recycled materials and second-hand clothing from various vintage shops and fabric surplus studios. Violette’s graduate collection is called “LIFE AT LAST, SALUTATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE” and her works are invariably imbued with a sense of rawness. She patched the fabrics she found, created a collage and re-joined the puzzle pieces of her collection. It is part of her response to ‘exteriorising the internal experiences we collect through life’.
As a Swarovski Scholar, Villeneuve has interned at Rick Owens and Liam Hodges during her placement year.
Isobel van Dyke
Isobel is a freelance journalist who has written for British Vogue, i-D, and LOVE. Her work about LGBTQ+ issues is unfaltering. One example is her final BA project, the Van Dyke Magazine, which is an introduction to the new curriculum for queer culture. It includes a series of interviews with LGBTQ+ teachers and teenagers and stories of those who grew up under the restraints of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which specifically “prohibit[ed] the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities”, including school teachers. Only in September 2020 will all schools in England be required to teach about LGBTQ+ relationships and identity – to avoid school-wide bullying.
Van Dyke also asked queer creatives from across the globe to answer the question: what was your school experience like as a member of the LGBTQ+ community? She has collected answers from the likes of Sharna Osborne, Sinéad O’Dwyer, Heather Glazzard, Nora Nord, Hal Fischer, Maria McKee, Paul Flynn, Desiree Akhavan, Cecile Tulkens and Louise Gray.
Turkey-born painter Selin Uyar explores and plays around with Greek myths with her own unique metaphorical ways. In her final project, titled ‘Soliloquy’, she focuses on decoding experiences and symbolic gestures that include the sense of indirectness of her language. The main inspiration is the Greek goddess Persephone that epitomizes death, birth and fertility at the same time. Yet you won’t find the actual figure in Selin’s works, as she only uses it as a referral to her own self-reflexive quest – especially being a female who writes her own narrative. Her level of abstraction may hinder audiences from understanding her work, which might be due to her tendency to hide and expose herself at the same time. ‘Therefore, the meaning of the signified will always be deferred, and different, hinting at the duality between true experience and abstract expressionism.’
In a mysterious hyper-coloured fine art print, Huiping Yang aims to create a new visual experience of reality in the digital age. One of her final projects, ‘Amoy’, is her way of getting in touch with the sense of cultural memory from her country of origin, China. From this work, Huiping has seen her surroundings evolve drastically through fast-paced technological growth. And the fact that she often travels back and forth between China and the UK means she encounters various meanings of cultural memory. With this work, she wants to produce the sense of travelling in time between social media platforms and historical photographs. Her ‘conscious creation of distance between oneself and the external world can probably be designated as the founding act of human civilization’.
Huiping has produced a number of artworks for the Freud Museum Shop, London.
Wilma’s labour and research-intensive final work, entitled ‘Domestic’, is an installation documenting all the female victims of male domestic abuse since 2012. Each individual plate is placed on a table, reflecting a collection of 8 years of data. On each plate is the year, the woman’s preferred name, the relation of the person that killed her or her children, and how that woman died. Specifically, designed icons create a visual language to communicate the precise cause of death. On the underside of each plate are the names of the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Justice for the corresponding year. The striking underlying story of her work makes this expansive project a tribute to the female lives that have been affected one way or another.
All photos courtesy of the artist.