RA Schools Show 2015
The RA Schools programme prides itself with its uniqueness. As the only free three-year postgraduate programme in the UK, it is a highly selective course that accepts only 17 students each year. With its tailor-made programme – aiming to develop each individual into the artist they want to become – this is the type of course that boasts some of the best emerging talent working today. So, the RA Schools Show offers a rare glimpse into their studios, normally hidden for the public, exhibiting the 2015 graduates’ paintings, sculptures, videos, installations, photography and live events.
The artists included in this year’s show are Caroline Abbotts, Rebecca Ackroyd, Victoria Adam, Matt Ager, Sofie Alsbo, Hannah Bays, Josie Cockram, Henry Coleman, Adam Collier, Ziggy Grudzinkskas, Declan Jenkins, Maria de Lima, Evelyn O’Connor, Laurence Owen, Max Prus, Sean Steadman and Joel Wyllie. Naturally, each of them has their own studio, making the exhibition in itself quite a large one; the viewer is invited to walk through a maze of ateliers, white and spacious, some of them more hidden away than others, asking its guests to work a bit harder until they find them. Thankfully, the list of work on show, provided at the entrance, also includes a map, should a visitor get lost in this labyrinth of bright colours, bold shapes, and brave ideas.
As for the works on show, they could not differ more: Jenkins’ monochrome prints are quickly changed for Steadman’s bright, colourful oil paintings. Then, there are O’Conner’s hip sculptures made from materials as diverse and unexpected as are ketchup, brown sauce, sugar, polystyrene, PVA glue, and flour. Her studio in particular looks like a colourful garden of familiar objects dancing on the verge of unfamiliarity. However, this too quickly changes into dark rooms with video projections, and light, noisy studios that play with sounds and the visitor’s mind. Reconstructed dolls and glazed ceramics, fragile fibreglass and solid steel: it is hard to imagine a material that is not used, a theme that does not make an appearance.
This is the beauty of the RA School Show: it showcases its students’ individuality and own sense of the world. It says a lot about the programme itself, as it is evident that these are aspiring artists, who were not contrived within a fixed curriculum, but were let to find their unique voices within it.
Photos: Erol Birsen
The Royal Academy Schools Show 2015 is on at the RA Schools Studios from 12th June until 28th June 2015, for further information visit here.