By Colette Fitzpatrick
The NCAD (the National College of Art and Design) Grad show is always a big part of my cultural calendar each year. It is really interesting to be able to see so many disciplines at work in one exhibition and I love to learn about what the next generation of Irish artists and designers are doing.
Today, the 2018 exhibition opened and will run daily until the 17th. Spread across the entire main campus and some off-site locations, it displays the graduates’ final projects and collections from all departments and courses. From ceramics to print, and medical design to fashion, there is an incredible variety and quantity of things to see; if you’re planning a visit, set aside at least a couple of hours because you’ll need it! Part of the fun is wandering around and exploring the buildings and campus; especially for me, as its an excuse to return to the college where I did my Masters degree and don’t normally get an opportunity to revisit.
I got a chance to have a mad dash around before having to head off home ahead of travel tomorrow and, while things were frantic, I got to see almost everything. So, here are just some of my personal highlights from the NCAD Graduate Exhibition 2018.
This ceramic artist combines his craft with performance art practices and has presented a body of work that relates to the high rates of suicide and mental illness in young Irish men and the cultural conditions that have lead to the staggering statistics of such issues that plague our country. Presenting bright, colourful and satirical works that abstract the human form in favour of expressing an emotional human body instead, the artist recorded the breaking of his own works and built a final work from the fragments, which depicts a hanging human form.
Kavanagh’s striking and emotive installation presents 796 snow white bone china hearts, suspended by wires over a desk and lit dramatically with a spotlight. Chilling and beautiful, it was inspired by the horrific discovery of the mass-grave of young children at a former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam. Clearly expressing the bringing into the light of institutionalised abuses and secrecy in this country, it presents an image that lingers in the mind.
3. Aisling Mc Donnell, print
Colourful, playful and very tongue-in-cheek, Mc Donnell’s combination of printed graphic works and small sculptural pieces is simply delightful. Expect giant fried eggs melting off the installation, oversized cigarettes, portraits of socks and hairy legs.
4. Moya Gibney, print
Gibney’s appealing installation also combines several media from almost life-size cut-outs of famous beauties like Marilyn Monroe and blank cut-outs with quotes of comments made about female bodies to graphic pieces and a mirror superimposed with female silhouettes. Making us look both directly at ourselves and at our deeply twisted relationship with female bodies, it is a stylish and effective installation.
As you can see, I was clearly into the print portion of the exhibition but I was truly blown away by the talent on display by the graduates of the department. Collins’ installation was one of the many graduate projects from the BA in Fine Art, focusing on Print, that thoroughly charmed me. Featuring a carefully designed and curated space, graphic works and a sweet film being looped on a television on the floor by the entrance, it has a reoccurring motif of a little dog, which is drawn and also animated in the film being played. I was somewhat mesmerised by said film and had to eventually force myself to leave as time was getting away from me.
There were actually several more pieces (of the many I loved) that I wanted to talk about so be sure to come back tomorrow for the rest of my picks of my absolute favourites among the many talented projects and collections in the NCAD Graduate Exhibition 2018.