BEST OF DEGREE SHOW 2017 at Six Foot Gallery

1st July 2017 – 30th July 2017BeFunky Collage

Six Foot Gallery is delighted to present the 2017 edition of our annual BEST OF DEGREE SHOW. The exhibition features the work of graduating artists, handpicked from Scotland’s leading art institutions. Artworks range across a variety of themes and mediums, as a representation of the diversity of Scotland’s emerging artistic talent.

Exhibiting Artists

Annabel Chau

“I am a recent graduate from Robert Gordon University. My work primarily consists of animation and illustration. This project came about as I touched on the issue regarding the lack of female representation in S.T.E.M (Science. Technology. Engineering. Mathematics) fields, whilst writing my dissertation about the effects of design and media on stereotypes. I knew there had to be plenty of women through history who have contributed to STEM fields greatly, but how come I couldn’t name more than 3? So I decided to do a little research and create this booklet to showcase the awesome women in history and today.It frustrated me that I couldn’t make a literally animated booklet that people interact with (unfortunately Harry Potter is not a reality), so after a little bit of research I landed on augmented reality as a solution. We now use augmented reality on a day to day basis, with the rise of snapchat and other social media platforms jumping on the bandwagon. It made sense to me to showcase my work with AR rather than simply on a screen.”

Aillie Anderson

“Aillie Anderson is a Silversmith and Jeweller who graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a BA Hons in 2017. Aillie’s work draws inspiration from the built environment around Glasgow, particularly the modern architecture and industrial structures of the city aiming to explore her appreciation of these overlooked details within an urban setting. Though her work she intends to explore the relationship between the physical scale of these existing structures, by reinterpreting them into visually stimulating, silverware and adornment. Aillie uses a combination of distinctively textured, precise scored silver forms alongside hand cast jesmonite to generate a divergence between material, surface and weight. Aillie has been awarded a Goldsmiths’ Precious Metal Bursary for a trio of angular silver bowls for her Degree Show collection.”

Bastian Birk Thuesen

“I approach the projects I make from a variety of different angles, often resulting in a mixed media outcome. Photography, sound, sculpture and other installation-based work are often present in my exhibitions. I think art has an important communicative role in society. A role of combining information and ideas into an output that is different from any other field. I am very interested in science and its approach to information and experimentation. My work is connected to the scientific model but with a different aim. You could say the result has no direct use. What often happens is a reflection of our society made possible by the technology available in our time in a search to understand the abstract.”

Cormac Banks

“During my final year of study, I aimed to create a diverse and interesting portfolio full of Still Life and Product photography. In doing this, a large part of my year was spent experimenting with different techniques, lighting, and materials to create these images. This gave me the opportunity and the time to learn to produce more professional images and overall, better quality work for advertisements and editorials. Some photographers I look up to include Charles Negre, Jason Pietra, and Carl Kleiner. The three main commonalities I noticed between these photographer’s work is a strong attention to detail, a sophisticated use of lighting and an interesting concept. Because of this, these are the three aspects that I have worked upon the most.”

David Brown

“The initial foundations of my practice are reclaiming discarded materials which have previous histories engraved on the surface. The process of erasure is a key factor in my practice, having the confidence to destroy what you have just created to me has changed my own understanding of my practice. As I build up new layers, I erase the history of the past while knowing traces of its earlier form will be visible. Through the deconstruction of previous layers it allows past layer histories to become crucial in the process of developing endless possibilities using repetition of drawing, painting and printmaking. The work is complex, highly layered through a process of repetition using a subtractive and additive method to create. This way of working forms an esoteric language a structure that is integral to the work. Using a material that’s surface has a previous history I aim to keep traces of its palimpsest. While building up aspects of colour, form and language I want to draw in the viewer to look closely at hidden details within the work.”

Dominika Kupcova

“Dominika Kupcova is a recent graduate of the Glasgow School of Art Silversmithing and Jewellery department. As a jewellery designer and maker she aims to create complex, eye-catching structures with an element of optical illusion, carefully constructed using repeated layers of linear pattern. The work is informed by the aesthetic properties of the DNA double helix and DNA testing outcome, inspiration generated through an interest in science and genetics since childhood. A fascination with the intricacies of human genetic make-up, uniformly structured yet individual, is echoed in the unique handcrafted jewellery objects. Complex and detailed drawing as the primary research technique informs the three dimensional structures of the wearable objects. Dominika’s work is created using a combination of hand and manufacturing processes – time-consuming and repetitive skills of metal work and hand cutting paper alongside quicker, modern techniques such as laser cutting. The resultant body of work pursues to seamlessly combine precious metals, with non-precious materials of paper and card, which are manipulated and transformed through a variety of processes into a material which is flexible and durable.”

Dougie Blane

I make art because it is natural to me. I do so habitually and instinctively. Art can be found in every moment and any object. We live in a society which leads people away from their human nature and prevents them from seeing the sublime in the everyday. I feel a strong need to communicate this mundane beauty.

My process is research driven and reactive to environment and materials. Research is often intuitive; I follow the patterns of synchronicity found in methods of chaos and indeterminacy. This leads to genuine and interesting results. My work is invariably about transformative processes, and my practice has often drifted between disciplines, which compels me to explore the boundaries between them. As far as materials go, I play with what is inherent to place; I have a fondness for the unregarded by-products of human action. I use industrial and craft skills to finish objects to a high degree, which often highlights a pleasing counterpoint to their material nature. I see my resolved works as transient; further process and decay are always implicit, and everything thereafter is valid.

Emily Watson

“Artist specialising in oil painting, drawing and photography. Currently based in Fife/Edinburgh. Recently graduated in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. As an artist, portraiture offers a unique opportunity to explore both personal connections and more abstract aesthetic concerns. The subject matter has always been important to me: I like to capture people I know on a personal level. It excites me to photograph and paint close friends and family members as opposed to strangers because I can capture a likeness and an individual’s personality better this way. I chose to photograph Leith-based band Ayakara, when they came up to Dundee for their first gig on their recent tour. I asked them to stand in front of a wall of graffiti which would allow me to paint more abstract shapes in the background. I also choose to use very vibrant colours to represent the Indie, psychedelic scene these people are associated with. I wanted to capture them in their prime, in the midst of their growing success as a band – self-conscious figures about to go head first into an unknown, but possibly exciting future. I like to work with loose abstract styles whilst also using realism in the figure to contrast. I will be experimenting different textures and colours to explore the idea of challenging the norm. Essential to the large paintings was the process of exploration and research which included collected photographs and footage of the band behind the scenes of their music video, at live performances and on tour. I have recorded interviews with the band members to listen to on top of the video to give the paintings context.”

Emma Strathdee

Emma is a recent graduate from Silvermithing & Jewellery at The Glasgow School of Art. She Looks at Anxiety Disorder and the chaotic human thought process and explores that in her work using a combination of precious metals, fabrics, and steel binding wire. Through research Emma found that anxiety is something a lot of artists and crafts people deal with and something she dealt with herself during her time at art school. Initially Emma looked at the physical symptoms of Anxiety – mainly the clenched fist, and then explored her ideas through photography, tracing and drawing before using the thin steel wire to bring her drawings to life; she also prints on fabric to include the textures of the hand. There is a contrast between heaviness and lightness, and light and dark in the work which was essential to her chosen theme.

Euan Paton

“My work explores the themes of pop culture and its constant evolution. From memes to political issues, I’ve spent the past year researching these changes in society and their relationship with the media. Escapism is a large part of why so many spend so much time focusing on pop culture “news” instead of real news and I decided to create an illustration showcasing that between 2010-2017.

Evie Caldwell

“As an illustrator, I like to incorporate humour into my work, even for more serious subjects. Humour is a fantastic way of getting people’s attention. Throughout previous years I have worked mainly with white backgrounds, focusing the attention on one subject. Recently, I’ve discovered a love for bold colours and it has opened up a whole new style of illustration for me. The subjects of my work are increasingly centred around real life issues. The two prints displayed are snapshots of ‘The Women Project’. I wanted to show what it means to be a woman, femininity and body and mind acceptance through a series of illustrations using real stories and quotes from real women. I wanted to take what is usually a taboo subject for so many of us and create something positive, quirky and inspiring. I’ve collected the wide range of the illustrations into the Women Book, you can look at this on my Behance.”

Iona Lundie

“I am a designer maker whose work explores the rich cultural heritage of fire festivals in Scotland; events which have occurred annually across the country for hundreds of years. I attend these festivals and collect burnt wood in order to research material, shape and texture directly from the source. There is a strong emphasis on repetition in my work, both in the lines, shapes and textures of the remaining burnt firewood. The circle is important as it leads from one moment to another as well as providing a nod to the recurring calendar of events. Casting allows for me to accurately represent textures and build up larger pieces from repeated elements. With oxidised surfaces contrasting to brighter gold, silver and bronze sections I create statement objects that are eye-catching on a larger scale with intent to be seen and celebrated, much like the fires. The work often functions both as sculpture as well as adornment for the body with each piece striving to celebrate the transformation from one state to another such as wood to ash and dark to light.”

Ishbel Mackenzie

“My work explores the identity of image and perception in contemporary culture, where visual language is so fused with the digital that the boundaries between reality and fantasy are blurred. There is a fascination with the mirage of the screen-based image: a blurred, manipulated reflection of the real world. Following this interest in how our reliance on the screen has changed overall visual perception, my work explores the virtual unreality of digital processes versus the physical materiality and objecthood of the artwork.”

Jack Dunnett

“I aim to create scenes of places which are otherworldly, yet have essences of familiarity and human engagement. A shared narrative which forever remains unclear yet professes that there are always stories to be told. Environments which focus not on the elements constituting a setting, but rather on the variable involvement of the human within this setting. I use figures and everyday items to place the human in context, creating characters which live in the paintings without firm footing, uncomfortable and perpetually aware of their alienation. Everyday lost souls, haunted by that which they don’t quite understand, engaging in dialogues which can never escape the edges of the paintings that house them.”

James A. McKenzie

“James Alexander McKenzie is a painter working within the expanded field of painting, encompassing collage, poetry, performance, installation, sculpture and found objects in his work, challenging what constitutes a painting. Spontaneity is essential to his methodology and permeates whatever output he finds himself working towards. McKenzie’s methodology is ungoverned and non-complacent and through his work he hopes to awaken one to the attainable vitality that isHis practice is heavily influenced by his work with children, and children and young adults with additional support needs. To say that children are simple-minded is not to say they are simple in a demeaning way: the Taoist principle of the Uncarved Block teaches that things in their original simplicity have a fullness, a natural power; a power that is lost when the simplicity is changed. McKenzie attributes this principle to the people he’s worked with, and through his artistic practice endeavours to embody the Uncarved Block. An intrinsic feature of McKenzie’s work is exercising Jung’s method of self-healing ‘Active Imagination’. It has been an invaluable means of attaining self-knowledge and individuation for him, and through it, he is able to facilitate his innermost yearnings, and be synchronized perpetually, thought and body unified. Active Imagination involves focusing one’s conscious mind on its unconscious processes; there are innumerable methods by which to accomplish this, depending on a respective participant: by whatever approach one chooses, in order to achieve the embodiment successfully one must be ungoverned, without any framework: all-inclusive with medium, facilitating whatever will emerge – McKenzie’s method being his painting practice. Succeeding in a dialogue with one’s unconscious will allow one to ease enduring tensions (hindering emotional and mental states), and grant one a lucidity that means they can align themselves onto a path that is in accordance with their Self.”

Jennifer Souter

“Jennifer Souter is a multi-media artist and graduate of Time-Based Art & Digital Film at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. Her work has taken the form of mental health advocacy. Her process and choice of subject matter is coloured by her own experiences of living with mental illness and the difficulties this creates in the formation of an identity. She is a firm believer in the importance of allowing individuals to control the narrative of their illness. Her tentative and raw approach, in her writing and drawings, aims to reflect the inevitable uncertainty that results from trying to navigate a functional life. The work exhibited is an examination of repeated patterns of behaviour, particularly those associated with procrastination and daily maintenance. For those who live with mental illness this can be the most debilitating part of their condition, the frustrations and feelings of failure that come with being unable to manage your daily life. In the work a relationship is explored which equates managing your illness with that of an owner and a pet, specifically, a cat. The cat featured in the exhibition is portrayed as a rather monstrous, wild and predatory creature that could be kept at bay and domesticated if only you could manage the daily feedings she requires.”

Joanne Hall

My work focuses on the interrelationship between humanity and the natural world, with a strong influence in scientific investigation. Conducting a series of explorations along the coast of Fife led me to discover a variety of fossil fragments dating to the Carboniferous period, 330 million years ago. Locked within the surfaces of these ancient stones are traces of life no longer in existence, links to an age long past in Earth’s history; a captured moment rendered permanent in stone, shadows from another world. By grinding the fossils down into a powder, I am undoing the millennia long petrification process; breaking down this permanence and transforming them into something more ephemeral, just as our understanding of the distant past shifts and changes, steeped in uncertainty. Through experimentation with delicate and ephemeral materials, contrasted with the physicality of my fossil finds, I attempt to capture the space between knowing and being, where the physical world meets our interpretation of it.

Joe Bloom

My paintings present non-linear stories which seek to release the creative potential of the subconscious and conscious mind. The imagery and subject matter of my work comes from a range of places, including dreams, magazines, classical paintings, the internet, photos I have taken on my travels and observational sketches which I try and do on a daily basis. The reasons why I decided to put certain things together are often hard to decipher at an early stage of a painting, however through my process and its outcome, these potential reasons can be unpicked and made sense, or, as equally important, nonsense of. I am excited by how this as a process can, in turn, produce an outcome which is open-ended, subjective and interpretable both for me, and whoever may view a piece of work.

Louis Bennett

“Louis Bennett’s work uses the language of political cartoons to explore Colonialism and the selective memory of the right-wing. Contemporary politicians are treated with stylistic nods to history painting and pop. Layers of British nostalgia collide. A Kafkaesque sense of the absurd gives the work a playful narrative quality that invites an imaginative response, but Bennett’s paintings exist within a British tradition of blackly comic, polemical image-making stretching back to James Gillray.”

Mhari Davidson

“Historically, portraiture has been an exploration of a person’s hierarchical status within the world. I use portraiture to begin analysing the relationships between the people in my life and holistically, how they relate to the larger context of my surroundings. Both painting and relationship require a sense of wonder in how they are constructed, what gives them their personality, their character, and how they are able to be examined again and again and yet reveal new intimate characteristics. The painter, the sitter, the painting and the viewer become one. The complexities of this relationship offering both frustration and joy in its very act.”

Nicolle Gavin

“Nicolle Gavin is a jeweller who graduated from The Glasgow School of Art in 2017. Her jewellery draws inspiration from aesthetics of crystal structures and patterns of growth as well as the concept of “Order in Chaos”. To further enhance this concept she digitally manipulates a stair-stepped structure to create a multidimensional body of work. Nicolle creates pieces with a similar allure to crystals, evoking a sense of curiosity within the wearer to inspect their pieces closely.

Nicolle utilises a combination of advanced digital technology, complex casting techniques and traditional bench skills to create three dimensional, highly intricate pieces. Working in silver, gold and semi-precious stones to relate back to the idea of the preciousness, she uses materials with a similar connotation of value.”

Nikol Kantri Mylona

“My practice, in general, approaches environmental issues and focuses on the relationships between man and nature, animal welfare and the relationship between animals and Animals (humans). My aim is to raise awareness about animal maltreatment and inspire change. In order to convey my ideas, thoughts and feelings, my practice focuses on drawings. These drawings are based on the theme of ‘Incision’. My portraits present the issue of animals, specifically in this series of pet animals, that are mutilated every day with the excuse of practical or aesthetic improvement. The style in which I present the work emits a clean/clinical quality in order to give emphasis on the act of ‘Incision’.”

Ross Jordan

“Ross’s work explores ideas of sensuality, aiming to evoke seduction. The photographs are suggestive, hinting at a sexual manner. The images play with the notion of storytelling, this story is one unclear to whether it is truth or fiction. He develops this concept by creating images which appear at times almost surreal and dreamlike, with the subject matter often merging out of flat backgrounds as well as incorporating different textural elements. Anonymous subjects are captured, their faces obscure, with the connection to these subjects being uncertain. One of the images is shown at its most original form, as a negative, questioning its purpose while adding an illusory quality to it. It gives clues that something exists within my images but fails to directly address each subject matter, avoiding its reality. Ross Jordan Graduated in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2017, predominantly working with photography. The two works shown are part of a larger body of work consisting of seven images.”

Ross Miller

“The woodcut is a technique that has endured. It’s kind of a sculptural approach to making an image. Drawing is fundamental to the process, but is broken down, altered, by the act of carving. It becomes something more. The work is an extension of myself. But something more has to have gone into it. There’s that bit of artistic introspection. It’s a result of that. There’s a seeing thing involved, or more a combined ‘feeling and seeing’, an encounter with oneself. My eventual drawing isn’t meant to look really realistic. It may be a likeness but it’s not a copy. It’s come out different because I’ve had a different intention for it. When it comes down to it, I make self-portraits because pretty much, I’m all I know.”

Sarah Rogers

“I find the encompassing nature of woodlands and how they can create an entire atmosphere and world through their sounds, textures, and visual beauty fascinating. After growing up in the countryside surrounded by nature, then moving to a city for four years of university, the harsh contrast between urban and rural inspired me to explore a theme relating to forests, their contents, and the effect they have on people. My work focuses on structural organic forms created in silver wire with coloured glass inclusions using an enamelling technique called Plique à Jour.”

Shine Robert Christensen

“Contextually, my practice investigates the distinct character of natural, and as an opposition, the artificially made object. In particular, the canniness of the indistinguishable field between the perception of nature and the artifact, that seems to be avoiding the stringent definition of either; an example of this is the ‘wunderkammer’. There are elements of memento mori in my work, as an approach to immortality – a dream life of collecting/archiving, accumulating and sorting processes. The artist as a conscious collector. Conceptually, these objects are transient in regard to time, stages of processes and the possibilities of space they can be displayed in. Objects can be recognizable and materials incorporated are pragmatic, provisional and a continuum.”

Sylvia Tarvet

“My artwork stems from my love of music, painting and psychology. Bound, as we are, by universal experience of the human condition I look to the individual to explore these shared experiences. The psychological journey of our lives etches itself not only into our demeanor but also into our very muscles and physiognomy. Through different mediums I examine the human face and figure and, through them, the emotions which lie behind and within. The tactile nature of the materials is as important to my work as the overall form itself.”

Zoe Hodgett

Mirror Me Numb, is a series which originates from a larger installation, which was shown at the DJCAD degree show this year. Mirror Me Numb is about reflection, through fading or disintegrating imagery, exploring the line between the apparent and the hidden and between the real and the imaginary. The work is based on an entrapment of bodily experience through the process of remembering and forgetting and how it feels to remain trapped in an undesired collapse of a space and time. It communicates the artist’s struggle with the recollection of disorientated emotion between the relationship of body and mind. Private and vulnerable, illogical and complex, the visualisation of specific bodily gestures with psychological wonder provides an act of creative re-imagination.”