Collyer Bristow Student Award & Exhibition
Collyer Bristow has been supporting contemporary artists by exhibiting works in its bespoke gallery for over 15 years. For this exhibition the firm wanted to support graduating art students. In a time when higher education is no longer a given, the financial realities of the first few years after graduation and the rising costs of studios, means that many artists simply cannot continue their practice. Arts funding is seeing year on year cuts and the drop-off rate of those at the beginning of their careers is alarmingly high. By offering a platform in a gallery with a respected reputation for showing challenging and exciting contemporary art, and for one student a ￡2,000 award, Collyer Bristow is making a true commitment to supporting the arts at a grass roots level.
As curators we had a wonderful time visiting the degree show exhibitions at Goldsmiths and Middlesex this year. The gallery at Collyer Bristow does not lend itself to film works or many installation works so we were unable to show a large proportion of the talent that we saw. We are however delighted with the artists that we have worked with through this selection, and those who have installed their own works. Below are some notes on three works as an introduction to the art practices that we saw. We hope you enjoy the exhibition.
Yunsun Jung, My City 2014 (Reception)
Consumerism, homelessness and waste are just some of the issues confronted by Yunsun Jung in this re-working of her graduation installation. Interspersed amongst these cardboard cut outs and sculpture are vestiges of human life. The ubiquitous coffee cup brushes shoulders with discarded clothing, commenting both on our consumer driven society and the human consequences of a delicate economy. As you look up and around a cat and a squirrel peer out, survivors of this cardboard apocalypse. Nature and our urban environment, waste and consumerism come head to head in this (wo)man-made mountain. Whilst witty interventions, provoke us to laugh amongst this seeming chaos, this work is far from unconsidered. Each element has been meticulously made and manipulated to serve its part in the overall effect; layers of material reveal different layers of meaning.
Referencing the sculptural audacity of Phyllida Barlow, (currently showing in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain), the political commentary of Hew Locke and including a plethora of graphics that surround us in our daily life, this artist invites us at once to enjoy and repudiate, celebrate and revile. Everyday we make choices and decisions based on the aesthetics of taste and function. Whilst some issues can and will be swept under the carpet, this work explodes with questions and provocations.