Experimentation and exploration define ACSA’s 2017 graduates

The 2017 Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA) and BVA (Hon) students at the Adelaide Central School of Art (ACSA) presents an impressive Graduate Exhibition at the end of 2017, the culmination of many years of experimentation, inspiration and exploration.

The exhibition not only highlights the talented artists emerging out of ACSA but also shows the influence of the highly skilled academic staff who have helped shape the students.

“The works being produced here are as diverse as the school body, which is exciting,” says course coordinator Sasha Gribich. “It’s great to see the individual interests and different experiences coming through the works.”

Over the last few years, the honours course has become more recognised with students undertaking their BVA at other institutions and then coming across for honours. This brings diversity to the student group as well as a different educational background.

ACSA has a large focus on studio time that helps enhance students’ careers. From third year, students have their own studio with supervisors frequently visiting and engaging in conversation about the work they are developing.

Maxwell Callaghan pink elephant, 2017, oil on canvas, 100 x 130 cm

“The time in the studio is a big thing and because it’s a real priority for the school it facilitates a very professional rigorous approach to studio practice,” Gribich says.

The class of 2017 features a large number of painters of a high standard who are producing very diverse work. For example, Maxwell Callaghan was awarded a Major Travel Award for his abstract paintings that channel experiences and thoughts from his memory.

Cristina Metelli’s abstract landscapes are also a highlight. Her paintings reflect her struggle migrating to Australia and represent her connection to the Australian landscape. The gestural marks and colours are striking, drawing the viewer in, eventually having a calming affect. They capture her journey of migrating and coming to terms with her new environment.

acsa-graduates-cristina-metelli-adelaide-reviewDetail: Cristina Metelli, With The Gumtrees, 2017, acrylic and oil on canvas, 120 x 120 cm

Lucia Dohrmann also stands out amongst the strong painting group, producing work that focuses on the materiality and process of painting rather than imagery. Dohrmann creates abstract paintings and introduces traditional skills such as hand sewing and crochet to deconstruct and reconstruct the canvas. She is interested in the patterns and repetitious process in textiles and the mathematical components behind it.

Nicole Clift is another interesting artist and has a close observational painting technique. Her practice involves pinning nets to her studio wall and observing the shift in light and temperature during different times of the day. Clift is exploring what it’s like to slow down with an object, which seems reactionary in our image-saturated world.

acsa-graduates-nicole-clift-adelaide-reviewNicole Clift, White Net Against White Walls – Study, 2017, oil on marine ply, 136 x 126.5 cm

While the painting portion of the graduate exhibition is very strong so too is the sculpture, installation and video work. Of particular note is the artist Kate O’Boyle who picked up two awards, the James Martin Award for a high-achieving BVA graduate and the FELTspace SALA Festival 2017 Exhibition Award.

O’Boyle’s installation and sculptural works reflect her experiences of a Catholic upbringing and identifying the patriarchal structure within it and the way it has been perpetuated in her life. “O’Boyle is interested in those everyday structures of control that are in and around the female body starting from a very personal experience of a Catholic upbringing,” Gribich says.

Detail: Kate O’Boyle, rapture, 2017, candle wax, marble, 160 x 120 x 140 cm

Alycia Bennett also received two awards: the Lee Family Award for a high-achieving BVA (Hons) graduate and the Board of Governors and Guildhouse Award for her video and performance work which explores the gender politics of online public spaces.

While no distinctive school style emerges from the graduate exhibition what the students have in common is a strong studio led practice. If the class of 2017 is any indication of what we can expect from the future of contemporary art it’s one where diversity and difference is explored in both theme and practice.

2017 Graduate Exhibition
Adelaide Central School of Art
Until December 22

Header image: Installation detail: Jasmine Crisp, Somewhere Else, 2017, wood, nails, LED light, wire, clothing, acrylic, oil, glue, polymer clay, lacquer, canvas, dimensions variable

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