Inside Camberwell's 2014 BA Degree Exhibition
Camberwell Student Florence Goodhand-Tait Scribbles Down Her Perspectives And Shares A Few Photos -
What I enjoy most about Camberwell is that their courses are not what they say on the tin! Entering a room labelled BA Drawing? Yes that must be why the first thing you see as you come through the door is a sculpture; followed by a video; paintings; a wall of stripes; installations; a plant; and a bright yellow room of colourful bobbles. I guess the point is drawing can take many forms these days. Maybe we can draw with paint and paint with pencils…
Art school degree shows are always overwhelming as there are so many students trying to show their work. Therefore at the Camberwell show I decided to pay most attention to the illustration section as that is my field of interest. And again I found in the illustration rooms work using several media. Ceramics seem to be a big favourite with this year’s illustrators, (see photo bellow)
as was installation (A popular piece being Jessy Money’s small room of stuffed plants that visitors had to crawl into – see photo below). Of course there were many comics (a favourite – Justine Hourdeau) and very professional looking books (Another favourite – Rosie Conheady’s the Reading man) which I couldn’t give as much attention to as I would have liked.
Haylea Rush made an Egyptian mummy in a coffin out of material in which you could pull out his organs and put them in jars (see top image). This was very well researched and well executed. And as I looked at the exhibition I saw that it drew the attention of children who enjoyed pulling the organs out of the jar and putting them in the right place. I’m wondering if Haylea Rush drew her inspiration from Lizzie Towndrow, an alumni illustration student, who in the 2011 Camberwell undergraduate show did a very similar piece of a giant stuffed bear whose organs also could be taken out and put back with Velcro.
Like Haylea Rush's piece, I found a lot of the work in the illustration show was game like and interactive. Laura Preiti Alvarez pulled this off well with a wooden piece where levers could be turned to make parts of it move. She also displayed works in other media successfully such as ceramics, printmaking pieces and drawing pieces.
Another medium that seems up and coming in the illustration world is the making of puppets, executed beautifully by Natalie Rowe. This piece was also interactive as we could move the puppets around and play with them.
I loved looking at the work of Xiangli Zeng, whose sketchbooks were full of collaged tickets and biro observational drawings which were just exciting to look at as they told the story of how ideas came to them. The work was enjoyable because it’s clear they love what they’re doing without being arrogant.
“Illustration always looks like the children’s room,” said a visitor walking through the exhibition with his friend. In a way I suppose this is true but not necessarily a bad thing; I think the illustration section of the Camberwell exhibition was engaging because the students are not afraid to play and have fun with art in order to learn. This is why illustration becomes so experimental and why every room represented a completely different way a student could take the course.
Featured Top image:
Chloe Greenfield My Greasy Shrine installation at the Camberwell Graduate Show 2014 and Haylea Rush Neo Egyptian mummy 2014