City & Guilds degree show 2017

Having grumbled about the Chelsea degree show this year, I feel I should give credit where it is due and commend the City & Guilds degree show for its professionalism.

All the exhibitors had artist statements (most of which were not too burdened with gobbledegook “artspeak”!) explaining their intentions and way of working. Some also had copies of research behind their ideas and approach.

Although it doesn’t have a textiles degree, we usually visit the show because ESP is interested in the stone carving. Among the examples of foliage, drapery, and lettering (some of which was quite innovative this year), I particularly liked Liz Middleton‘s limestone pillows.

Liz Middleton limestone pillows

And although there isn’t a textiles specialism, there were some textiles on display.

Hannah Hill‘s funny, energetic, feminist embroideries make the point that embroidery has never traditionally been considered an art form – it’s just “women’s work”.

Hannah Hill embroidery
Image: Hannah Hill

In the same room, Kirsty Armstrong showed large sheets of oxidised (rusty) steel, which she had used to make a latex “print”.

Kirsty Armstrong steel and latex

Natalia Gonzalez Martin’s meaty amorphous sculptures were made from chicken wire, plaster and wax, partly covered with gauze. Displayed on plinths, they raised the question of who in society has the power to decide what cultural objects should be displayed in museums and galleries.

Natalia Gonzalez Martin sculptures

I wasn’t sure how her work would fit in a domestic setting, but I did buy one of her monoprints!

Natalia Gonzalez Martin monoprint

The City & Guilds degree show runs until 2 July.

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