Welcome to our Show / Croeso i’n Sioe
Welcome from Sean Edwards
Programme Director FINE ART
Welcome to the 2021 Fine Art Degree show. The work you see on this website, designed and built by the students themselves, is the culmination not just of the past years work, but of their full 3 years here at Cardiff School of Art and Design.
None of us could have suspected that 3 years ago in that first induction week when we welcomed this group of students what would take place in these coming years. But unexpected shifts are what makes art students and artists so versatile. Not one of these students flinched at the twists and turns that have been thrown at them this incredibly difficult year- instead they have regrouped, worked collectively and risen to the challenge, drawing our attention to arts ability to reflect, discuss and even change the world.
Writing this introduction I was thinking about when we last were all together. It seems like a lifetime ago. The world as we knew it has been ruptured with so much and so many lost. But what have we have returned to time and time again over this past year has been culture- music, film, television, literature and yes, art. It has the power to entertain, to take us other places, to highlight injustices, to show us possibilities.
At times when those choosing to study ‘the arts’ come under attack I am reminded of the Leo Leoni Children’s book ‘Frederick’. It’s about a family of small field mice working hard and gathering resources to survive the winter. All except Frederick who lets the others do the work. When the family ask why Frederick doesn’t help he replies with cryptic artistic responses such as “I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter day’. At the end of the book in the deepest and darkest days of winter as the families resources run out they turn to Frederick and ask “what about your supplies Frderick?’ and he proceeds to paint images with words of rainbows, the warmth of the sun and fields full of wheat bringing poetry and colour into their lives. We are not yet at the end of this pandemic but the work here before you in this exhibition stands as a testament to the power of art to unite us collectively, to work in solidarity to create new futures and, like Frederick the field mouse, to sustain us through even the hardest times.
Out of Isolation
Isolation is not necessarily a bad thing for art. It focuses the mind. Over the centuries many artists have felt the need to lock themselves away order to work. Closing the studio door, even when that is a bedroom or a kitchen, is an act of concentration as well as isolation. Sometimes silence is needed in order to allow ideas to surface and combine in their own peculiar ways. Cut off, for much of the last year, from galleries and museums, and from the shared studio spaces in college, the students have had to find alternative sources of inspiration and different ways of doing things. They have dug into their memories to find the experiences to sustain them through lockdown, and have rethought what making and exhibiting might entail.
The poet Derek Mahon has written of places where thought can grow: an abandoned mine, a disused shed, places which, isolated and neglected, are left undisturbed; the silent growth of toadstool and cobweb standing as metaphors for the life of the mind. The everyday world, he implies, is largely thoughtless; the endless cycle of routine prohibits contemplation. The suspension of these routines during lockdown has encouraged the students to look afresh at our ‘ordinary’ lives; much that we have taken as essential has revealed itself not to be. Although we need to think about bus times and mealtimes, we also need places where they don’t matter. An artwork might be one such place.
An artwork clears a space for thought and in so doing gives it shape. Most of the time thinking is neither orderly nor rational: things wander in and out of our heads; we may be aware of a thought as it occurs, but struggle to say what it was after the moment has passed. The things we perceive form fleeting connections with memories and desires, but like dreams, they evaporate in daylight. Art is one way of laying hold of the connectivity of thinking.
Isolation is useful to art, but it is not the whole story; an artwork cannot remain on its own for ever; it is something that needs to be shared in order to fully become itself. As we draw (hopefully) toward the end of this period of isolation, it is time for these artworks to be welcomed and shared. In this online show they will begin to make contact with the people for whom they were intended. These are not necessarily the people the artists intended, but those with whom the artworks themselves make a connection. What started as a solitary pursuit ends up as part of a community.
Fine Art Degree Show Sangria
A version of the summer classic
As a CSAD Fine Art tradition, tutor David Fitzjohn normally makes his famous Sangria recipe, sharing it with the students before serving it at our degree shows. In order to honour this tradition, we have decided to share this recipe for those who want to participate. Feel free to make it at home to enjoy whilst viewing the show.
For this you will need:
- 2 x 75cl bottle of red wine (preferably Spanish)
- 1.5 Litre Lemonade
- 1 Litre Orange Juice
- 0.5 Litre Pomegranate Juice
- 2 x Oranges cut and partly squeezed
- Half a Lemon cut and partly squeezed
- Fruit of choice (Strawberries / Peaches / Pears)
- Loads of Ice
- Fresh Mint torn up to garnish
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large jug (or bucket)
- Add the ice and the mint. Leave to cool for 10 minutes
- Serve and Enjoy!
Enjoy the Show
With thanks to all students, staff and supporters.
Website Team: Charlotte Grayland, Nikkita Carnell, and Lizleen Malihan.