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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Monday, 24 May 2010

Degree Show Time is here again....

Published in The Herald Arts Supplement, 22/5/10

From the top, Interactive media student Joanna Montgomery's Pillow Talk, Meta is a film by time based art and digital design student Matt Cameron, Textile designer Laura Cumming challenging trad menswear designs and at the bottom, Gently Into the Light by Rachel Rebus,

Despite best efforts, I didn't make it over to Dundee last Thursday or Friday night... any feedback gratefully received. Always good buzz in the air


Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
University of Dundee, 13 Perth Road, Dundee
01382 385330
01382 385330
Mon-Fri, 10am-8pm, Sat-Sun, 10am-4pm
From today until May 30

As the May blossom is blown from the trees and onto the ground like demented confetti and the nights draw out towards midsummer, it can only mean one thing; degree show time is here again…
In Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Elgin, four cities and a town that all play host to degree courses in art, final year students are burning the midnight oil and generally working themselves into a frenzy as the biggest opportunity of their nascent artistic career hoves into view.
Degree Shows are traditionally the first port of call for collectors, gallery owners and interested bystanders keen to root out the next big thing in the art world or simply walk around and absorb the creative buzz in the air.
The degree show season is traditionally opened in Scotland by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (DJCAD ) in Dundee, which has a strong track record in producing top flight contemporary artists, such as this year’s Turner Prize nominee, Susan Philipsz.
The college is a key player in the artistic landscape of Scotland and is currently spearheading the £47 million project to bring an offshoot of London’s V&A Museum to Dundee’s waterfront. This proposed gallery will house contemporary collections from the world-famous Victoria & Albert Museum alongside other major exhibitions, as well as showcasing design practice and research.
Last year, around 11,000 visitors beat a path to the door of the futuristic looking Vision Building on the city’s waterfront, where students were lucky enough to be able to display their wares in the blank canvas of an empty building. This year, the show returns to the rabbit warren of studios in its Perth Road base, for what could be the last time before the refurbishment of these buildings.
This year, more than 250 students across 11 different disciplines are showcasing their work with preview events having been held for the last two nights. (Note to subs Thur 20 and Fri 21 May)
The show usually takes over the college, with every spare inch of space across its two buildings and 14 floors surrendered to displaying work and this year is no exception.
After two nights of previews, already names are starting to surface from the crowd as being worthy of a second look.
Fine art student Rachael Rebus’ vast architectural paintings inspired by the vaults, arches and domes of Gothic architecture look set to be a talking point. Rebus, who studied at Leith School of Art before attending DJCAD, uses a low key palette of subdued colours and has been led by the plasticity of the thick oil paint in the paintings which focus in on beams of light entering dark interiors.
Time based art and digital film student Matt Cameron has made a slick and atmospheric film with stunning visual effects which he describes as being 'gritty science fiction tragedy'.
Cameron’s main work, Meta, was filmed in locations around Dundee including the City Chambers and is a collaborative project with Edinburgh based writer Tom K. McCarthy.
As always, there is strong work from design-based disciplines, such as Textile Design student Laura Cumming who is breaking boundaries within traditional menswear while in Jewellery and Metal Design, Kirsty Stevens has turned the devastating diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis into a creative springboard. The running theme of her work is Natural V Toxic, as MS is an organic condition which she has been forced to suppress using highly toxic medication.
In the field of Interactive Media Design, Joanna Montgomery has created Pillow Talk, a project which uses technology to bring long distance lovers closer together using a chest sensor which wirelessly communicates with a lover’s pillow. When one party goes to bed, their lover’s pillow begins to glow softly to indicate their presence. Placing a head on the pillow allows one to hear the other’s real-time heartbeat.
Altogether now. Awww. Maybe next year, a student will invent a device which allows arts writers to view hundreds of students’ work across Scotland virtually in the flesh. There’s a challenge.

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