Students craft their own bright future

THE phrase connecting clouds to silver linings might be well applied to ‘Liminal’, the exhibition showcasing work by degree students of the Crawford College of Art and Design.

Diverse, electric and brimming with talent and creativity, the exhibition extends through the entire college building on Sharman Crawford Street. From the superb 128-page catalogue, to the installation and display of work by 48 students, this is the best degree show at the college in years.

The cloud may be austerity and high unemployment; but the silver lining is evident in the number of talented students who have opted for third-level education.

While many of the graduates in ‘Liminal’ are Irish, there is also a healthy percentage of students from other European countries, resulting in a new infusion, and exchange, of ideas and creative energy. Students have been encouraged to develop their own visual languages and give free rein to their imagination. This results in a freedom of expression, for example in Gerard Sexton’s paintings of archetypal monsters, or in William Scobie’s homage to constructivism and pop art. There is zest and humour in Mary O’Mahony’s amazing ‘Mega Bubbles’; presented both as large coloured balls suspended in the gallery space and also in a series of videos showing the travels, and travails, of those same playful creations.

Traditional media of painting and drawing are given new life in the work of Cecilia Lubberink, who combines reality, dreams and memory in powerful monochrome images, and in the small intense portraits of Estera Mianowska. Painting is also the preferred medium in Diarmaid O’Sullivan’s neat unframed panels, and in Helen O’Donovan’s superbly rendered blurred images of everyday objects such as a bathroom washbasin.

Joe Butler’s paintings of the interior of the Crawford Art Gallery are a homage by one artist to painters and sculptors of the past, but are also atmospheric. A small watercolour image of a Garda investigating a crime scene, where a body may have been buried in a field, underscores the sinister feeling in John Dwyer’s moody landscape paintings of woodlands.

A fine sensibility is revealed in the delicate watercolours of Anna Giertz, and in the drawings of Sinead O’Neill, who extends a motif of plaited hair around the wall of the gallery space; a motif echoed in the endless furry tail in the artist’s illustrated book created by Emma Glynn.

The exhibition is interspersed with installations, such as Amber Broughton’s suspended white sheets, emblazoned with a small drawings, while, inspired by the art of Marina Abramovic, Laura Perrem reveals a degree of protection of the individual’s private consciousness, in her work ‘Keeping myself to myself’.

This multi-media approach is echoed in the installation created by Gary Murphy, that includes a large stringed musical instrument crafted using a large polished slab of wood and videos of Murphy’s performance work.

The sculpture installation by Bénédicte Coleman is a tour-de-force of three-dimensional modelling, using discarded air conditioning filters to create fantastic tendrils that writhe through space.

The exhibition extends to ceramics, notably Siobhain Steele’s cylindrical slip-cast decorative/functional objects. Along with the art students’ degree show at Sharman Crawford Street, the CIT graphic design students are presenting their degree show at the Bishopstown campus, and students of architecture at the nearby Architecture Factory, in the former TYCO factory. Until Saturday, June 15.

— Peter Murray

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