In all the years I have travelled in and out of Waterloo Station, I had never been inside the Cello Factory in Cromwell Road, tucked away behind King College London’s student apartments. It was, as its name says, once a place for making, repairing and restringing cellos and other stringed instruments. Today it is a double-height gallery and performance space and last week the whisky was flowing for the opening of this year’s Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation’s initiative to show a selection of recent graduates from Scottish art schools.
In the centre of the room is an loom with a weaving in progress by Rhona Jack, winner of the Glenfiddich Artist in Residence Award and a graduate of Duncan Jordanson College of Art and Design alongside her drawings, linking back to the traditional industries of Dundee, while Camille Bernard, a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and winner of the 2017 Fleming-Wyford Bursary has developed her style blending European and Caribbean influences over the last year. Her vibrant work combining ‘fantasy and play, myths and memory’ sits like a shrine between two tall windows which throw sunlight over the floor.
On the wall are paintings by Hannah Monney, winner of this year’s Fleming-Wyfold Bursary, quite traditional in some ways with their blend of Scottish and French influences, while upstairs are photographs exploring queer identity by Craig Waddell, a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art who is already building a reputation for the quality of his photography, and Ben Soedira from the Glasgow School of Art whose work records the complexities and contradictions of fast changing areas of the Middle East such as Dubai.
Perhaps it is the style of the new venue for 2018, but the work on show this year appeared, on the one hand more accomplished, but on the other hand less adventurous, than previous years.