Best of Degree Show: Melanie Wiksell

Melanie Wiksell finds in death, an imagery that she wants to exploit and explore to its limits. She aims to distort life with surreal and uncanny elements and draws inspiration from the occult, rituals, the sublime, and mythologies. One of her central interest within these themes, is how people decorate pain.

After three years at The Glasgow School of Art, Melanie Wiksell will now be returning to Sweden to continue her education on the master’s programme at Umeå University, where she looks forward to further expand her artistic expression. Her goal with this programme is that it will help her strengthen the ways she demonstrates credibility in her expression and concept.

Featured image

Best of Degree Show: Alana Stewart

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 23.49.25

Studying Contemporary Art Practice, Alana Stewart has spent the past four years exploring the various disciplines within fine art. The freedom to explore has allowed Stewart to develop her knowledge and skills, particularly printmaking. She is inspired by Scottish tradition, culture and stereotypical motifs and these themes have become more apparent throughout her four years.

On graduating Stewart was awarded the 2015 Glasgow Print Studio Prize. Using the facilities available at the studio she plans to spend the next year producing a new professional body of work and further developing her printmaking skills.

Best of Degree Show: Mauri Ann Beardshaw

Mauri Ann Beardshaw is a recent BA graduate of Jewellery Design and Related Products from the Birmingham School of Jewellery. She was encouraged to take an experimental approach to designing and making contemporary jewellery and objects.

Beardshaw has always been interested in science and the natural world. Her current collection is inspired by diatoms that she has collected and studied with her microscope. This species of plankton have a protective silica shell made from two interlocking halves that are intricately detailed with pores to filtrate nutrients.

Using saw pierced metal and laser cut acrylic, Bearshaw’s bright silver containers and brooches explore diatoms exquisite layers of detail depth and pattern. With the addition of warm glowing elements she strives to intrigue the viewer and celebrate the microscopic wonders beyond human vision. She intends to further develop her collection in sterling silver with the ambition of exhibiting her work in more galleries.

Best of Degree Show: Kim Simpson

Graduating from the City of Glasgow College with a BA (Hons) Photography, Kim Simpson’s dissertation presented a visual exploration of the visual norm and highlighted the inequality present in the west. These ideas form part of her ongoing personal project entitled Exottish. Exottish deals with themes of exoticism, identity and visual stereotypes faced by non caucasian individuals in Scottish society. Inspiration for this work is her own personal experience of raising her daughter, who is of mixed race, living in Scotland.

Visually addressing this societal problem Simpson aims to raise awareness of the specific issues that non caucasian or mixed caucasian individuals go through growing up in or living in Scotland. She wants to evoke discussion and make people think and believes that this is the only way that racial ignorance can be overcome.

Best of Degree Show: Elena Mary Harris


Elena May Harris gets to know the places she lives in by situating her art practice in relation to the history of the city. She makes objects that reminisce to the familiar: the domestic. Harris works with communities and social groups as a way to build relationships through skill transfer and conversation and uses materials and processes rooted in craft to communicate with audiences on a level outside the art context. Harris aims to make beautiful objects that may not be explicit of a certain situation, but give an impression of the context they were made within.

Best of Degree Show: Georgia Galloway

Lesley Finlayson 2 BOD 2015

Using vibrant colours and various media Galloway creates atmospheric works which provide cultural and social commentaries. Her style is varied, sometimes refined and at other times more abstract and expressive with the idea to incite and encourage contemplation and rapport.

The rich and varied course the City of Glasgow College presents allowed Galloway to grow both personally and professionally through guidance and support from experienced professionals. The expansion of her visual language, whilst studying, has enabled her to evolve and adapt her own creative practice and she holds future plans to assist others in developing theirs.

Best of Degree Show: Lesley Finlayson

Lesley Finlayson has been developing her body of work by looking at the landscape in non representational ways and by breaking free from traditional conceptions. She abstracts the imagery to create something new, which requires the viewer to engage with the work – challenging them to look at  and interpret it individually.

Her time at the City of Glasgow College allowed her to come in contact and communicate with a variety of lecturers, all specialising in their own field. Their words and advice helped her consider different ideas and perspectives as well as pushing her work in new directions.

For her future, she plans on continuing with her volunteering roles in order to gain further experience in organising and teaching art. She will also focus on expanding her knowledge about different mediums, for example by learning new printmaking techniques, develop existing ones and further explore the concept of the landscape.


Lesley Finlayson 2 BOD 2015


Lesley Finlayson BOD 2015

Best of Degree Show: Joanne Dawson

“The best thing I learnt from art school is to value your peers and be a support network for one another. You’ll end up learning thorough them.”

Joanne is interested by the ‘things’ we engage with in ordinary situations. Everydayness being subverted by foregrounding its support – how it is encountered contextually and in the way it is presented. The physical work she produces is a double of what already exists, a metaphysical reflection on society, with objects that attempt to locate the position they aspire to copy, maybe as a soft replication or of an indication to something else. Working primarily through the use of sculpture, installation, and printmaking, Dawson deals with the functionalities of the commonplace, intervention and object through site-specific research. On Joanne’s agenda next is beginning to work towards a number of shows including G-unit in the Savoy Center, Glasgow, and the Embassy Graduate Show in Edinburgh in September. She currently has a shared studio at Crownpoint Studios in the East End of Glasgow.

Best of Degree Show: Sue McMillan

Graduating as a degree student of Contemporary Art Practice, Sue McMillan found her time at the City of Glasgow College rewarding, exciting, and at times rather challenging. She believes that the vast experiences she has gained, with the support and guidance from her peers and tutors, will continue to aid her future creative practice.

McMillan’s work is varied and often holds reference to domesticity and secrecy. Using a diverse range of media to create work allows her to experiment and it is this chance element that she particularly enjoys. Consciously choosing to work in multiple layers helps to conceal or reveal subtle clues as to the context of her work.

McMillan aims to continue as a visual artist working both within the community and her own studio. She will soon be undertaking voluntary work, helping others in creative activities and gaining new valuable experiences.

Best of Degree Show: Rosanna Lee


Rosanna Lee arranges and manipulates objects in order to create abstract sculptural compositions that draw attention to the detail and formal qualities of the materials and their dialogue with the architectural features of the site. She explores how sculpture can be understood in terms of the human body, gesturing towards the possibility for the work to become a substitute for the body and vice versa.

Time spent studying at Glasgow School of Art developed Lee’s confidence and allowed her to establish a process for making experimental, sometimes spontaneous, sculptural installations, performances and video work.

She was recently awarded the Chairman’s Medal for Fine Art. On graduating, GSA permanent collections acquired some of her work and she is now working towards the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition which will take place early next year.