Art, Design and Photography Graduate Exhibition 2017
Eyes Wide Open
Waterford College of Further Education recently opened its Art and Design and Photographic Studies final ‘graduate show’ at the college. Students from Art and Design, Photographic Studies and Journalism exhibited work in the combined Art and Photographic studios on the Parnell Street campus. The work, as always, was stunning.
The exhibition showcases the work created by the students and includes a wide range of subjects including, drawing, painting, combined materials, photography, sculpture and design.
Opening the exhibition, Head of Art and Design Department, Ann O’Regan said, “It has been a most successful year and our students have, as always, produced truly beautiful work. I thank the students for putting in so much effort to prepare and launch this exhibition, especially considering that it comes towards the end of the academic year”. She went on to say that the Art and Design Portfolio course in WCFE, “is the perfect course for any student interested in the arts as it fully prepares the student for College and further study. We model our course on first year in University or Art College and so, as you can see here tonight, our standards of excellence are unmatched and we are committed to ensuring the future learning and development of our students”.
Walking through the exhibition one is struck by the relationship between ‘seeing’ and ‘illusion’. In the Art and Design section, the human form is laid bare, the modulation of form, still life and life still. The interpreted reality draws in colour, lending a vibrant energy to the work. Further still, the installations allow one to touch the vision.
Ruaidhri Lynch’s ‘Shadow Boxes’ tells a story through light and shadow, storyboarding a short story he wrote in the past. His combined materials sculpture, entitled ’Wasp’, was inspired by the idea that people tend to crush or stamp on wasps. His sculpture of a wasp is made of the objects that culture tends to step on. Brilliantly, the wasp sting is made of the heel of a shoe. Ruaidhri sees the sculpture as a metaphor for the wasp and hopes that people will look at it and think, ‘Is that all the wasp was worth”?
Patrice Cooney exhibited an interactive installation piece entitled ‘Mind and Secrets’. The concept is the physical manifestation of the mind of a guilty person. Her installation was situated in a room which is full of objects that relate to mind of ‘the person’. “The room represents the want to keep secrets”, she says, “There is a chest in the room with a working padlock and inside is the truth of what happened, a specific event that the person is trying to lock away”. The room is full of keys, but only one opens the chest. All the keys that don’t work, represent the lies that were spun to keep the secret locked away. “One key does work and there’s a riddle written on the box, because although the person wants to keep the secret, they know it’s not right, so while the opportunity is in the installation to reveal the truth, the person is still making it difficult”. The installation hides the truth well and the big reveal is contained within the chest. Suffice to say, the surprise is totally unpredicted. “I find how people’s minds react to certain things very fascinating”, she says, “and to visualise that concept can be unlimited”.
The Photographic aspect of the exhibition is a totally immersive experience. There is the immediate sense of eyes upon you, eyes beholding you. A room of silent expression through pose, colour and glance. Whilst no words are spoken, a conversation takes place. Walking from image to image, one is called out to. Definitions of the self are questioned, shared and unique experiences exploding through the trapped light, the camera translating for the viewer the vocabulary of vision. Stunning work, jostling for attention and an absolute must see for anyone interested in photography at the highest level.
2017 sees the twenty-seventh year of the Art and Design Portfolio course at WCFE. Established in 1990/91, it is the longest established and most successful Art and Design course in the South East. Past pupils of the course having progressed to third level education, achieved degrees/ higher degrees, post – graduate M.A’s, and employment in all areas of the visual arts, including work as visual artists, art educators, graphic designers, fashion designers, film and video artists, model makers, set designers and in arts administration.
Photographic Studies at WCFE incorporates both L5 and L6 courses, students learn a range of skills from studio lighting, digital photography, and image manipulation using photo-shop to traditional black and white darkroom techniques. Students who have successfully completed QQI Photography and Digital Media Level 5 may continue to study at WCFE under the optional second year Photography Level 6 course. Past students of the Photography courses have found employment as commercial photographers or progressed to continue their studies at third level.