Degree show season is always an interesting time of year. From the student’s point of view, there is the last minute frenzy of panic and stress, followed by the slight anti-climactic feeling once the show has opened. For the visitor, it is a challenge of spotting future stars and talent without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of work or sometime the earnestness and seriousness of these young artists.
I was lucky enough to attend the RCA Degree show Private View on Thursday with my old friend James, one of Land Rover’s Designers, whom I studied with nearly 30 years ago! I used to be captivated by the automotive design show, but as my car design degree slips into the mists of time, I find it of less and less interest. Instead I gravitated to the textiles…
One of the main things I suppose is to stand out from the crowd. One would always hope that the work is attention grabbing in itself, but sometimes it’s important to give your work a wee bit of a helping hand. This is something Charlotte Des’Ascoyne fully understood, with her hand woven textiles, looking at the gender identity and materiality. Having two gold-leafed models, lounging scantily clad in her fabrics, on a chaise coiffing champagne is certainly attention grabbing!
I’m not going to write too much about the show, rather I am going to let the images speak for themselves. I overheard a lecturer at the show (from another college) confessing that some of the finished works felt a bit underdeveloped, and this chimes with Flextiles response to the Chelsea Textile Design Show. It is almost as if the the thought-processes, intellectual acrobatics and ‘artwank’ (the practice of writing pretentious, ambiguous and impenetrable descriptions of ones work and artistic practice) overtook the development of the actual pieces!
So having said all that, there is some wonderful work on display here, and you can catch the show till Sunday 2nd July. Information about the graduating artists and more work can be seen on the @rcatextiles instagram account.
All text and images © Jonathan Dredge.