Fledglings 2012. An exhibition of works by recent Crawford College of art and design Graduates, The Lavit Gallery, Cork

Fledglings is an annual exhibition of recent graduates of the Crawford College of art and design chosen by the Lavit. This show displays work from Anne Ahern, Christian Buchner, Tracy Fitzgerald, Gwenda Forde, Teresa Hearne Carol McGabhann, James Nagle, Katie O’ Donoghue, Shay Quinn, Sarah Ryan, Dola Twomey and Norma Walsh each exhibiting one piece, while 5 artists were picked out for special mention; submitting three pieces each – Cassandra Eustace, Emer Kelly, Jessica Knibb, Colin O’ Connor and Erika Szel.

Following on from their recent graduate show Exxit which took place in June many of the artists have produced new work while other re presented pieces from their degree. This years Fledglings exhibited a mix of sculptural and traditional work.

Anne Ahern refined her large-scale cupcake installation Food for thought into a smaller but equally intriguing position, perhaps playing on a portrait style hanging of some of it’s neighboring two-dimensional pieces. Seeing the piece in this formation changed its impact, from it’s original state where it covered an entire wall, it now creates a more intimate and accessible experience. Ahern is commenting on the unknown additives and materials that are in our food and everything we consume.

Cassandra Eustace’s new work plays on her usual concepts of perception across two-dimensional and the three-dimensional forms and the location of drawing within these dimensions. Eustace used simple materials and shapes to great effect by manipulating their simplicity through the use of light or subtle positioning of the piece. One piece, The Secrets of My Social Reality, a drawing and print on acetate, is placed across the corner. Eustace shines a spotlight on this to cast a shadow drawing of the piece on the corner behind, which also creates a kind of 3 dimensional box. Her use of these combinations of light, materiality and line is innovative, and gives the viewer an insight into the directions current fine art graduates may be going. Emer Kelly is another artist whose work also engages with layers and drawing of local landmarks, these drawing are strongly architectural.

Dola Twomey’s Cumala are brittle miniature porcelain moulds of the spine and the back, hung on a metal pole on fishhooks, resembling meat hanging in a butcher shop. This is emphasized by the use of tags, like price tags or name tags, they become a kind of mass produced product, perhaps playing on the idea of human beings being a mass produced product, however there are always variants. It seems to play on strong contrasts of fragility and strength, pain and serenity.

The sculptural pieces within this show were particularly strong, which was also notable in the degree show. Colin O’ Connor comfortably treads this sculptural, painterly line. His use of paper is structured and graphic. He seems to combine these found colours in a painterly fashion. His coffee table Memory Box is unusually functional for a fine art student, however his strength of finish and craftsmanship is in tune with his wall-mounted pieces and as a collection they interact seamlessly.

Some of the two dimensional work that stood out this year is Faoileain. The serene scene painted by Norma Walshe. Her use of inks and watercolours evokes an ethereal narrative. The birds seem to be floating through a dusky memory.

Erika Szel’s photographs also harness a minimalism found in a lot of the work in this show. Szels work expresses a sense of spirituality and contemplation. This can also be seen in Gwenda Fordes gently crafted bowls. Jessica Knibb’s drawings are clearly inspired by the Japanese prints of Sakura. They are beautiful but perhaps are lacking an extension away from this influence as her earlier drawings had.

Gwenda Forde, Cuan V, porcelain and white stoneware

Tracy Fitzgerald’s painting Office Building stood out with it’s use of colour and texture. Her urban painting is energetic in its image but also in its application of paint, it seems quick and instant, like a snapshot of a corner of a bustling and vibrant urban area. Sarah Ryan’s photographs have this same instant energy and vibrancy but of a rural setting.

Tracy Fitzgerald, 'Office Building' , Oil on Board

Tracy Fitzgerald, Office Building, Oil on Board

Fledglings 2012 is a coherent show, which can be difficult when exhibiting such a large range of artworks. The works interact well together and there is a comfortable dialogue between pieces. Much of the work in the show is understated and non confrontational. There is a strong introverted and philosophical personality to the show, perhaps representing the difficult time these students are graduating into, being forced to assess their surroundings and contemplate their future’s as artists.

Fledglings runs August 28th – September 8th  

@ The Lavit Gallery, Father Mathew Street, Cork

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