By Colette Fitzpatrick
Yesterday, I talked about attending the NCAD Graduate Exhibition 2018 and how into it I was.
Graduate season is always an exciting time in the art and design worlds and, as one of our major art colleges, NCAD’s show is a big fixture of the cultural calendar of Ireland. It will be open daily to the public, for free, until the 17th so we definitely reccommend popping in for a visit – but be sure to give yourself at least a couple of hours as there is, simply, far too much to see!
Whether you’re interested in glasswork or jewellery, medical design or sculpture, painting or print, there is a vast range of things to see and the energy of young Irish talent on the cusp of their futures is truly invigorating. It put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.
If you’re planning a visit, here are some more of my favourite projects and collections from this year’s show and some great reasons to make time for it!
6. Sinead Buckley, print
Buckely’s wonderfully tongue-in-cheek – and rather disturbing – project presents two illustrations, a series of altered photos and a looped video that feature some of our favourite Disney characters but all is not as it seems and they are not as we remember them. In the video, brief moments from various movies (Hercules, Mulan, Snow White, etc) are mashed together in a montage, without context. These moments – from Ariel rolling around with arms in the air and mouth agape in delight to a variety of scenes of prone figures with others looming over them – suddenly seem sexual and, at times, rather sinister and, over all of it, a jaunty whistling tune blares. In the printed images, similar scenes are played out in the beautiful and sweet style of illustration and in the altered photos, Snow White is depicted working away happily in a 20th century Workhouse that looks somewhat suspect. The overall message is clear: the child-friendly happy endings of Disney (if you’ll excuse the pun), aren’t representative of real life.
7. Carmen McNerney Quigley, painting
Of all the rooms of painting, this busy and eclectic installation immediately caught my attention. Presenting Ancient Eqyptian, Classical, and Renaissance motifs, paired with modern pop culture references, decorated from floor to ceiling and combining painted work and objects, there was a sense of playfulnees and life and energy that excited me. I also loved the style of drawing and colour choices and immediately wanted some of the works and merch with the designs on them. I would, for sure, rock a tee with the Chanel snail or rep stationery with the reimagined Boticelli.
8. Maria Z. Parodi, Glances of Tomorrow, painting
Parodi’s works were like a fairytale princess, hidden away but stunning, at the top of a tower. Already hot, my companion and I just about melted when we reached her installation but it was worth enduring. The light on the attic floor was beautiful and the lovely works were bathed in the most pefect dancing light. A response to the advances in genetic engineering, and the artist’s concerns about the potential moral issues that it might present, this installation is a mixed-media affair with mixed-media paintings and an assembled sculpture, evoking the constructed and pieced together “designer babies” that the author is concerned with. At once lovely – executed in pretty pastels and with a delicate touch – and disturbing, it is exactly the kind of tone that lingers in the imagination.
As with above, the pretty colours and attractive illustration style and aesthetic of this piece could deceive, upon first glance. However, at closer inspection, the disturbing nature of the images is immediately apparent. McNamee presents images of disembodied body parts being groped roughly and hands desparately trying to push the interlopers away. Aiming to dissolve the normalisation of sexual harassments on nights out, it presents a very real issue in unflinching technicolour and magnifies it so we can’t look away.
10. Lucy O’Brien, Margin, textile surface design
I’m not the most print-literate person in the world so, despite my best intentions, the textiles section of the exhibition never resonates deeply with me. In the context of a garment or in a room, I get it, but on its own, I can fail to see the bigger picture. However, in saying this, O’Brien’s work immediately stopped me in my tracks. Inspired by modern architecture and in the most delightful palette of greys, grey-greens, cream and beige, these are textiles that I instantly wanted to drape my house, and myself, in.
The astute among you may now be wondering what’s going on. You may have noticed that I didn’t even mention any fashion collections from the show and, never fear, all in good time! As Fashion Ed, I’m working on some content separately and will post that in due course. For now, know that that part of the exhibition is also well-worth a visit and the show, at large, is the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon today…so what are you doing? Get on it!