An exhibition of new work by Natasha Ferguson, Joe Harvey, Matt Bainbridge and Richard Krantz opens Friday 10 September 2014.
Look up the word Mouthfeel instead of guessing its meaning and you will realise it is a noun used to explain the tangible concept of taste, as it is experienced in the mouth. Used as a simile for the title of Embassy’s 2014 graduate exhibition, the word introduces experiential qualities of potential artworks by artists carefully chosen by the gallery. In turn these artworks are then carefully curated for the viewer’s equally careful chewing-up of what’s on display. The word is also a playful introduction to new and fresh work by artists who are yet to discover any definitive recipe for what they do (assuming they want to make this discovery in the first place).
After selecting from Scottish degree shows earlier this year Embassy have provided an artists’ fee and production budget to commission new work for the show by graduates from Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art. “We were interested in artists who we thought had the potential to come together to produce a well curated exhibition,” explains Embassy Committee member Kirsty Hendry, “As graduates we also wanted to provide them with an opportunity to engage professionally with an artist-led gallery, and get paid for the work they produce.”
Degree shows are fuelled by the time-heavy investment of producing work. Some students undergo a self-editing approach to what they choose to exhibit. Its this work that is often more rewarding for the viewer, where a student demonstrates well-executed production balanced with a rigorous evaluation of what is shown. As a graduate exhibition Mouthfeel extracts this and takes it a step further. The artists were notified two months after their degree show and were given a relatively quick deadline to make new work. It is a complete reset of their degree show experience with no accepted proposals to work with, just the means to create something under a new set of demands.
“It was tricky approaching the opportunity without a studio,” explains Glasgow School of Art graduate Matt Bainbridge who has created a new series of large paintings for the exhibition, “Even the lack of room to stretch canvases was challenging.”
Bainbridge, along with Richard Krantz, exhibited a showcase version of his degree show work in the McLellan Galleries in Glasgow after the event of the Mackintosh fire: “I have brought along elements of the original installation I planned to exhibit in the Mackintosh building,” he continues, “I’m not sure what I will do with it yet, but I feel this exhibition is a bit of second chance to realise the work properly.”
The show is also an opportunity for the artists to experience how an artist-led gallery ticks – arguably something that every art graduate should be accustomed to: “I feel it’s an honour to be selected for a show like this more than some other graduate opportunities,” explains Edinburgh College of Art graduate Joe Harvey, who has created a new digital animation for the show, “To work alongside the committee here at Embassy feels more relevant for where we are now as artists.”
Unfortunately Natasha Ferguson, another Edinburgh College of Art graduate who is to exhibit in Mouthfeel, was not present when we visited Embassy to interview the artists – so we couldn’t catch up with her directly. For more information on each artists’ practice, see links to their websites below:
Mouthfeel runs from 13-28 September 2014 and Embassy is open Thursday to Sunday 12-6pm. More information here – https://www.facebook.com/events/315989111906224