Central Saint Martin’s Degree shows 2013: M.A. Art & Science

Friends_Family_show_one_01_DM-1_(2)Central Saint Martin’s college of art, part of the University of the Arts, London, is opening its doors to the public for the degree shows. This year the shows are divided into two parts: ‘Show One’, incorporating the work of graduates from the B.A. and M.A. Fine Art and Research courses, is showing from 25th May to 29th May. This will be followed by ‘Show Two’, 19 – 23 June, with the work of graduates of design and applied arts courses. As one of the first intake group for the new M.A. Art & Science course, part of the postgraduate faculty in fine art, I have been feeling the pressure of preparing for this unprecedentedly early degree show date – we have all been feeling the strain, working at a rate bordering on insanity since January. Besides preparing work for the show, we have been completing our academic dissertations, putting together supporting work, and planning a symposium at the university for the 29th May.

M.A. Art & Science at Central Saint Martin’s is the first course of its kind in this country, and gives institutional validation to a growing movement in the direction of fine art practice. It validates the  inter-disciplinary artist who works with concepts that come from the sciences, and celebrates the curious polymath. Some of us have been doing this for a long time, and we feel it is high time that our approach enjoyed wider recognition. We seek to break down the erroneous perceptions that exist in public and institutional consciousness about the division between art and science.

harmo_in_Lethaby_gallery-2 copy

My degree show exhibition – a harmonograph made of steel and brass, and framed etchings.

For me, studying on this course at Central Saint Martin’s has been an amazing opportunity for professional development. We have had exceptional tutors, all practicing artists: Nathan Cohen, the director and founder of the course, the charismatic Eleanor Crook, and Heather Barnett, founder of the Slime Mould Collective. The university also has wonderful workshop facilities – too numerous to list in full, but covering everything from state-of-the-art digital processing to traditional making processes. I have spent most of my time in the metal workshops at the King’s Cross campus and in the Byam Shaw Printmaking Centre at Archway. In these workshops I have received expert tuition and help realizing the work above from the technicians.  ‘Technician’ is too simple a term for the masters who have given us students so much – I have been privileged to learn metalwork from craftsman and sculptor David Stewart, who also worked overtime to help me realize the sculpture above, and from engineer Ricky Lee Brawn who advised me on my design – and delighted us all by hand-lathing the brass finial on the sculpture – a rare skill. At the printmaking centre I learned etching from print-maker Paul Dewis, who also shows us how to mount and frame our prints. All of these technicians  work consistently above and beyond the call of duty to help us, and for my part, I can say that I have received some of the best practical tuition of my life from these extraordinary gentlemen.

In the next few posts I shall elaborate more on my sculpture and the etchings, the concepts, and the processes of making them.