The Chelsea College of Art MA Exhibition, 2009

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Chelsea College of Art and Design Masters Exhibition 2009

A lot of work for a four-day exhibition, though no doubt much of the work will be shown again. According to Chelsea's press: "The MA Show celebrates the work by graduating students from MA Fine Art, MA Textile Design, MA Graphic Design Communication, MA Interior and Spatial Design and MA Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice." A nice way to put it.

True: the show was uneven, as most group show are wont to be. Were there particular themes of note? A few...

  • Ethnic poetic aesthetics (a mouthful) were present and accounted for, manifest as issue-based work often concerned with territorial conflict and/or social injustices.
  • Contributions from Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice surprised me a little, as I expected more reflexivity in the work--more internal awareness of how how it was operating as curation and not art. Sure, these areas overlap...though where exactly...this work didn't seem to know. But does this matter?
  • Where was the photography? Did I miss it? Not too many series; not too many large and discrete images...

Art and Design works of note:

  • Romela Crnogorac's stop-motion animation of two barbecued ducks (or are they geese?) getting it on while wearing gloves is nothing short of brilliant. As the birds' passion intensifies, they literally tear each other apart. Quirky, smart and v. well made (Crnogorac has a real knack for meshing sound and image): this is a work I'd like to see again and again. You can find another of Crnogorac's animations by following this link.
  • Luke Drozd's sculptural installation was marvelously reassuring. A combination of pop and poetic, it reminded me of friends' work I love--the efforts of Eli Bornowsky, Gareth Moore and others who put pleasant coloured stuff (often ceramics) on the floor. There's an ilk of artists working in this way. Drozd's work is a little more pop than poetic by comparison--closer to makings of Assume Vivid Auto Focus in some ways but not all. Even more charming is Drozd's entry for Chelsea's online catalogue. It describes the artist's relationship to a slide of a cat and, by extension, to the twilight technology of film photography. The work quite literally moves you--turns you upside down. A real find.
  • Ian Skedd's video installation is also good but in a different way. A Vancouver native, we move in the same circles back "home" and I'm familiar with his work. Showing the influence of Rodney Graham's passion for theatre, slapstick and fastidious production, Skedd's video installation (the title escapes me) is 03:30 of... pure anticipation. If a little too secured in it own resolution (that is, how well it resolves as a work of art), this piece is a pleasure to watch and (re)watch.
  • I must be feeling homesick for the West Coast, as Michael Lawton's paintings also appealed to me, in part because they recall Vancouver artist Etienne Zack's old work. Paintings of maquettes (just keep they away from the real thing) Lawton's works of engage with the provisional and tentative through well honed visual language. This is smart work I would enjoy hanging in my home.

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Luke Drozd's Formance, 2009