A decayed old nineteenth century furniture factory with its exposed timber roof and peeling paint, located down a dark narrow alley, becomes an international contemporary art studio; new art contrasting with the old building. In the week in which a digitally-created image of the destroyed Triumphal Arch of Palmyra in Syria was on display in London, another arch appeared underneath the roof trusses of the David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF) Studio at the centre of a display of the work of sixteen recent graduates from Scottish Schools of Art. Glasgow School of Art graduate, Miriam Shefrad’s film poem “Fragments” (2015) brings the reality and the contradictions of the world of Palestine, Jordan and Syria to London while Hannah Murray from Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, explores the contrasting lives of women left at home to live “life as normal” while their husbands, sons and fathers go off to fight in war. Contrasts are a recurring theme.
Beyond the arch, “Standing Reserve” (2015) by David Evan Mackay from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (Dundee) represents a large pylon, once standing erect with its brothers proudly holding aloft the electricity cables that criss-cross the country providing the essential power to support society and the economy, but now limp, broken, isolated and vulnerable, while domestic furniture and junk, once loved and used, then thrown out into the streets of Edinburgh, has been reclaimed and reused by Emily Binks from the Edinburgh College of Art in her “Survival Series #2″ (2016).
Is a tufted rug a work of art to be displayed on the wall, or laid on the floor of a domestic interior? Euphrosyne Andrews from the Glasgow School of Art has created a rug “Tufted Reflections” (2016), that continues her exploration of work which could be read in different contexts.
Jointly supported by the Fleming Wyfold Art Foundation and the David Roberts Art Foundation, (DRAF), this exhibition brings new Scottish artists to London in conjunction with the annual Fleming Wyfold Bursary which provides financial and mentoring support to an artist as this early stage of his or her career, this year’s winner being George Ridgeway from the Glasgow School of Art.