A global recession. Rising tuition fees. Graduates without prospects.
This was 2011, when student Kate Rintoul and University of the Arts London (UAL) Sabbatical Officer Robyn Minogue got together and decided to do something productive, and Made in Arts London (MiAL) was born.
MiAL offers a helping hand to a carefully selected group of arts students from University of the Arts, London; easing them into the art market by providing a platform to advertise and sell their work, and also getting their name out into circles of influence. After carefully scouring graduate shows and searching student sketchbooks, MiAL is now presenting its first curated collection: ‘Process in Exile.’
Francesca Cavallo (curator) and Rose Pickles (graduate & curatorial assistant) have managed to seamlessly weave together young talent and provide them the opportunity to meet potential buyers and contacts, whilst also replacing the schoolroom feel of an art class show with something fresh, exciting and new.
Unlike a degree show, this is work that has been selected for the purpose of being displayed in a more commercial or realistic sense; it isn’t a patchwork selection being displayed to make parents proud or please tutors. These are pieces chosen to portray an artist.
The sophisticated feeling of selection not only gives these pieces their respectability, but provides the viewer with a concentrated and personal connection to the artist in question. A personal favourite was Alexandra Wheeler’s photographic project revolving around her brother Oliver, who is autistic. Two images, of things which Oliver has presented her, are displayed alongside fragments of copies which have been carefully cut up and arranged. The accompanying handwritten story provides a poignant and personal insight into the artist herself, and gives the work a feeling of raw emotion that is rare to find in a polished gallery.
Other noticeable pieces (in a room crammed with the next generation of highly talented artists) include Conall Mcateer’s pixellated tile arrangement and scarves, Rene Ramirez’ racially charged yet almost innocently playful illustrated stereotypes, Daniel Challis’ bold statements of what isn’t art and Esther Ellard’s striking tape arrangements on graph paper and brown card.
Yet even if none of the above takes your immediate fancy, ‘Process in Exile’ is an exhibition which manages to reflect the distinct and unique talents of each artist, whilst creating the kind of polished harmony that is associated with professional exhibitions of a high calibre. ‘Process in Exile’ brings together a truly diverse selection of work from graduates and current students.
‘Process in Exile,’ is at 29-31 Oxford Street (next to Tottenham Court Road tube station) until 20th October, entry is free. Please visit www.madeinartslondon.com for more information on the exhibition, the artists involved or to buy any of the pieces.