Over 200 new artists showcase their latest work in nearly every medium possible in four graduate and post-graduate art shows in London. University of the Arts – London (UAL)’s Chelsea and Wimbledon shows end 27th June 2015; RA Schools show ends 28th June 2015. 

Chelsea College of Arts – BA Fine Art 2015

There’s a fervent energy overall in the BA graduate show at Chelsea College of Arts, where, I’m glad to say, pretty much anything goes as fine art these days. Of course, you’ll find some art practices here that may be considered to run along more “traditional” lines – painting, sculpture, drawing and the like – but even these are happily pushed forward to 2015 in the most surprising ways: a beautifully sculpted horse serves as a stable, err, I mean table, for a video projector; to the paintings by Robyn Graham on whisper-thin supports which speak a quiet vulnerability over the strength of the frame below. Aside from the 3-D and 2-D that one might still expect at a leading London art college, there’s a sampling of every other kind of contemporary art here, too, with videos, performance, installation, sound, text… all ambitiously stretching the boundaries of what is fine art. The one that punched me in the gut, though, was Judith Waters’ ‘800 Shoes’ telling the story of people attempting to reach a better life, and instead lost their lives by drowning in the Mediterranean, leaving only floating shoes as evidence they were ever there.

More images from the show:

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Royal Academy Post-graduate Fine Art

Rebecca Ackroyd. Royal Academy Schools Summer Show 2015, at Royal Academy (Burlington Gardens), London. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont.
Rebecca Ackroyd. Royal Academy Schools Summer Show 2015, at Royal Academy (Burlington Gardens), London. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont.

At Royal Academy Schools, their post-graduate exhibition remains focussed on skills and making – with very little of the merely conceptual art that is often found in many other London art student schools. Another discerning factor for Royal Academy in the profusion of graduate expos, is the gallery space itself. Here you will enjoy 17 solo shows under one glassed-in roof, according most of the artists a lofty arcade encased floor to ceiling with natural light under which every work could positively glow. All the work stands out and would happily exhibit in established galleries: print-making, 3-D objects, painting, a few videos (Sophie Alsbo and Maria de Lima); interactive work by Max Prus where viewers can use a robotic page-turner to look at his sketchbook or an audio piece by Josie Cockram that got uncomfortably loud every time a viewer enters the room. Performance art need not apply.

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Wimbledon College of Arts – MFA

Installation view. MFA Fine Art Show 2015 at Wimbledon College of Arts, London. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont.
Installation view. MFA Fine Art Show 2015 at Wimbledon College of Arts, London. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont.

For the first time, UAL/Wimbledon School of Arts combines the MFA and the BA Fine Art student shows on concurrent days. (The other Wimbledon post-graduate shows – MA Digital Theatre, Drawing and Theatre Design – take place 03-10 September 2015). MFA graduates at Wimbledon explore installation, painting, and film – especially poignant was Elizabeth Jardine’s video, ‘Going Back’, which traced the memory of her grandfather’s journey from Liverpool to London, undertaken when he was 16 years old. Other artists contribute digital media and sculptural works, and all is thoughtfully curated to offer cohesive flow throughout the whole exhibition. Oh and look for the iPads on the wall near the entrance of each main room – you’ll find the MFA Wimbledon website, a handy way to look up more details about each artist and guide yourself through the show.

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Wimbledon College of Arts – BA Fine Art (Painting, Sculpture, and Print and Time-Based Media [PTBM]

The BA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Arts includes three pathways, or departments: Painting, Sculpture, and Print and Time-Based Media (think photography, print-making, film, performance). In the Sculpture studio, artists typically utilise a combination of disciplines – using such mediums as paint, film, and textiles to realise their ideas.

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That’s not to say that the Painting and PTBM programmes at Wimbledon only stick with their designated medium; these artists work with found objects, draped fabrics, plastics and all number of materials, along with the usual oils and acrylics. And in general, it’s clear each artist gives due attention to high standards in their personal practice, while at the same time, giving a mature sensitivity to the curation of the overall exhibition, leading the visitor readily from one work to the next with cohesion and positive flow.

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Don’t miss out – make time to see these student shows! They must end 27th of June (RA show ends 28th June).

More links and information about upcoming graduate shows in London

Royal Academy Schools show – 12 to 28 June 2015

  • Enjoy a preview of the RA Schools show
  • Visit the RA Schools show located at 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3ET. Free admission, step-free access. Visiting hours:
    Saturday – Thursday
    10am – 6pm
    10am – 10pm

UAL Chelsea College of Arts – 19 to 27 June 2015

  • Read more about Chelsea College of Arts – Undergraduate Summer Shows
  • Visit Chelsea College of Arts at 16 John Islip Street, Pimlico, London SW1P 4JU. Free admission, step-free access. Visiting hours:
    Saturday 20th June       11am – 5pm
    Sunday  21st June         11am – 5pm
    Monday 22nd June        10am – 8pm
    Tuesday  23rd June       10am – 8pm
    Wednesday 24th June   10am – 8pm
    Thursday 25th June      10am – 8pm
    Friday 26th June           10am – 8pm
    Saturday 27th June       11am – 5pm

UAL Wimbledon College of Arts – 19 to 27 June 2015

  • Check out the summer shows at Wimbledon – BA (Painting, Sculpture, Print and Time-Based Media) and MFA
  • Visit Wimbledon College of Arts at Merton Hall Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 3QA. Free admission, step-free access. Visiting Hours:
    Friday 19th June          11am – 5pm
    Saturday 20th June     11am – 5pm
    Sunday 21st June         CLOSED
    Monday 22nd June       10am – 8pm
    Tuesday 23rd June       10am – 8pm
    Wednesday 24th June  10am – 8pm
    Thursday 25th June     10am – 8pm
    Friday 26th June          10am – 8pm
    Saturday 27th June     11am – 5pm