Rose Hendry
Rose Hendry

Dundee Degree Show 2011

It's degree show time again, and first up is DJCAD – replete with eggs and a weird ape-man
Feature by Ben Robinson.
Published 24 May 2011

Degree show time rolls round to Dundee once more, and the class of 2011 pitches up to offer the world its wares. With almost 300 students, 11 undergraduate programmes, and fourteen floors across two buildings, it’s quite an itinerary, and the Fine Art course is waiting for the yearly casting of thousands of critical eyes.

The diversity of work in the Scottish art scene just now is its very strength, and trying to spot trends is probably a fool’s errand. Better just to grab a map on the way in and simply get on with it.

The Cooper Gallery at the front of the Crawford Building makes an apt setting for the minimal sculptures of Julie Duffy, whose stark wooden planes, edged with insulation foam, command the space with some authority. Their spare, angular forms seem quite at home here against the classicist architecture.

Next door, by way of contrast, we see an installation by Beth Savage from the Art, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices course. A video plays of the artist sat under a tree wearing a pair of big felt bunny ears on her head, and over on a nearby table there’s an arrangement of teacups full of egg yolks. References to French author Georges Bataille are duly checked on the artist’s gallery handout, but it’s done in a way that feels more like fun than homework.

Sculptures by Raluca Iancu are fun too – and sort of traumatic at the same time, with wrecked cars and mangled planes, made using soft, tactile materials in bright, friendly colours.

Upstairs on Level 5 is a room painted top to bottom in black gloss, the setting for a hexagonal structure clambered over by an apelike celebrant of some unspecified esoteric rite. Phantom by Ross Fleming is a visceral telling of a secreted ritual, an act that’s all the more thrilling for being concealed behind a veil of darkness. Coming to it from the bright, airy Crawford corridors is much like stumbling into a black metal fan’s bedroom during a museum tour, and makes for a startling discovery.

Walking further along the way, Katie Morrison shows delicately rendered paintings featuring tessellations of machine guns, hand grenades and fishnet patterns.

Deep in the basement of the Matthew Building, the graduates of the Time Based Art & Digital Film programme make an annual showcase of the college’s renowned technical facilities. The short films of Rose Hendry certainly deliver in this regard. Realised to an acutely professional standard in terms of both camerawork and sound editing, her witty wordless vignettes were viscerally thrilling. The vivid pink of lipstick smoking on a cigarette, the bright red of tomato ketchup, the glamorous lady blowing a whistle amid the suds in Bird Bath, all these sights and sounds were indelibly branded onto the audience’s central nervous system. The shot of a cigarette stubbed out on the yolk of a fried egg will live long in the memory.

Comments (6)

Add a comment »
  • The degree show at DJCAD is excellent this year, but be sure when visiting not to miss the new media exhibits on the top floor of the Matthew building. A definite must see is the animation "My welcome intruders" (may not be the exact title), and the rest of the animations are more than worth a watch.

    Posted by Dave Henderson | Tuesday 24 May 2011 @ 15:24

    Report to moderator
  • Loved this years show! Should mention that Digital Interaction Design is a newer course on the top floor of the Matthew Building. (above product design, it might be 8th). I was really impressed by some of the tech-based projects on this level. My favourites being an ingenious iphone based engine warning system for your car, and a 'create your own map' based on new york city.

    Posted by Rob Forrest | Tuesday 24 May 2011 @ 16:24

    Report to moderator
  • what a brilliant show! some really interesting work. especially liked the slowed down 'Grease' video, the black room with the carousel and the giant clothes pegs! I even got my feet wet and experienced some exciting (but very messy) live performance art. well done!!

    Posted by Lucy Brown | Tuesday 24 May 2011 @ 19:58

    Report to moderator
  • Great show just a pity the art college stank of shite.

    Posted by Jamie Campbell | Thursday 26 May 2011 @ 15:29

    Reported to moderator
  • Maybe better posted as Dundee Degree Show 2011 - Fine Art review? A shame as once again the more 'applied' areas of study completely outshone Fine Art and Sculpture. Why mention there are 11 undergraduate programmes, then proceed to ignore them? Also, a bit surprised at Ross Flemming's poorly executed and derivative work being singled out for praise.

    Posted by Duncan fae Jordanstone | Friday 27 May 2011 @ 11:47

    Report to moderator
  • Theres only one M in my second name!

    Posted by Ross Fleming | Saturday 18 June 2011 @ 16:52

    Report to moderator
Leave a comment on this article