Sunday, 21 June 2015

FreshFace + WildEyed

Showing at the Photographers' Gallery is the 2015 FreshFace + WildEyed. Included are:

Jocelyn Allen's Covering the Carpet, in which she poses naked in contortions that hide her pubic hair from the lens, in reference to the removal of a painting from a London gallery in 2014. Allen's photographs are comically and perhaps sarcastically playful but also illustrate sculptural qualities of the human body. Seeing them in the flesh I was reminded of architectural plans, but of limbs, joints, head etc. This might be because Allen's face isn't visible in any of the photos either, so there's no immediate focal point for an intimate connection.

Aida Silvestri's Even This Will Pass, which presents highly blurred portraits of people who migrated from Eritrea to London, with the convolutions of their journey superimposed in thread. In the gallery, these are accompanied by the sitters' accounts of their journeys, including beatings, slavery, starvation, birth and miscarriage.

The exhibition is running until 5 July.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Serendipity and creativity

Wandering around Dublin on Friday night, freed from the conference that took me to that city, I stumbled across the graduation party for the National College of Art and Design's Visual Communication degree. There was live jazz, beer and chorizo hotdogs, plus a crowd of joyful arty types and their families - and the chance to see all of the graduates' final-year projects in the College building adjacent. I polished off a 'dog and a pint of Hooker while enjoying the music and general gaity, and then checked out the work...

It was inspired and inspiring stuff. NCAD says its Visual Communication degree teaches students to use "a variety of media to creatively communicate ideas and concepts that can inform, challenge, educate and potentially transform lives", which sounds like it could be PR-esque guff, but actually the show bore it out.

Some of my highlights were:

Ben Hickey's use of illustration to break up and enliven selected pieces of journalism as a way of making them more accessible.

Ellius Grace's photographic and interview-based portraits of people and the things that make them feel alive (not on his website, but his other photos are in a similar vein).

And Laura Dunne's "experimental cutlery", such as knives and forks made of pig skin, to "disrupt the eating process" and encourage people to be more aware of what they are eating.

There were other unconventional ideas too, like Stephen Kerr's alternative design for musical notation, and Manus De Brun's idea for a way of encouraging contemplation through a particularly innovative way of watering a plant - neither of which seem to have been put online, so I'll say no more about them.

The students' inventiveness and implementation were fantastic, and it was amazing to see so much creativity and passion in one room.

There's a video of the graduates' work over on The Irish Times. Be inspired.