The annual Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) graduate shows kicked off on Monday night with representations from all departments – sculpture and spatial practice, drawing and print media, painting, photography and Honours – all displaying strong bodies of work with individual ideas and visions. “What impresses me most about this year’s show is the depth of enquiry and investigation,” says David Sequeira, director of the Margaret Lawrence Gallery. “This generation of artists is wrestling with ideas around materiality, identity, interiority and globalisation in a very sophisticated and intelligent manner.”
Lisa Radford, acting head of painting at VCA, said that “this year’s bunch are a pretty interesting group and straddle some kind of space between being completely focussed on working as individual artists, all with diverse and divergent practices and methodologies, with a desire to want to work together.” She cites how a group from this cohort set up a rogue art fair in 2016 called WINTER, a spoof on the hotel-based art fair SPRING 1883, and says they’re continuing to work together on projects outside of VCA.
Radford says, “I asked a student after the class, why do you think there is so much painting this year?” I speculate about it being conservative whilst intuitively knowing that it isn’t. He answered my question by saying ‘we are trying to learn history.’ I guess it was interesting because he didn’t say ‘learn about history,’ his attempt at learning history through making felt somewhat on point.”
We sent photographer Jesse Marlow along to VCA’s opening night to capture the highlights of this year’s exhibition.
View our list of upcoming graduate shows around the country here.