copyright Callum Russe

This year’s Masters Degree show at Edinburgh College of Art presented international and homegrown art full of character. From stimulating conceptual work to inventive graphic design, this exhibition gave a platform to artists before their careers flourish beyond ECA.

MA Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) student Callum Russel used paint and texture to explore typography and our relation to text and writing in society. Simple rearrangements of the letters in celebrities’ names like Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian reveal how quickly the viewer recognises the curves and shapes found in the names constantly put in front of us. The form and physicality of objects related to writing was further explored through textured paintings recreating lined A4 paper.

copyright Andrew Robinson

In contrast to Russel’s quiet work, Andrew Robinson’s paintings were loud and hyper-coloured, seeming almost to resemble sugary sweets, cartoons, and landscapes all at the same time. Robinson has already exhibited in Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice gallery earlier this year. You can see more of his work on his Instagram @bad_spaces.

Katarina Bramer was one of the few CAP artists to take her inspiration from nature. She created an immersive tangled sculpture/installation made from the washed-up plastic she collected from the beach. This exploration of our landscape was continued in the work of MA Art, Space & Nature students like Yiran Li. Her work explored the peculiarity of objects and materials and her installation here involved a carefully decorated streak of seaweed. Aquatic life was also a subject in the work Yuechi Cao, whose microscopic photos of moss offered a closer view of the textures found in nature.

The MA Illustration students also had a strong presence in this year’s show, with the exhibition’s striking yellow poster created by illustrator/graphic designer Pilar Garcia De Leaniz. Her whimsical and delicate drawings were examples of the charming work on display. Hannah Fleetwood was inspired by our connection to food in her intricate and colourful paper-cut work. Further inspiration was taken from life on Cramond island, which was reimagined by Yifan Huang and illustrated as an island populated by sheep-human hybrids and other questionable animal combinations.

The Masters programme at ECA appears to be an international affair with many students travelling from across the world to study there. Yet the inspiration proves to be homegrown. Students were inspired to create art within a context that many have grown up surrounded by – the city, the wildlife and the myths of Scotland.


copyright Pilar Garcia De Leaniz

Although the MA Contemporary Art Practice, MA Art, Space and Nature and MA Illustration show has now closed, the Edinburgh College of Art Masters Degree Show 2017 continues with the Design Informatics Masters programme at the Design Informatics Pavilion, George Street (opening hours 11am-6pm), MSc in Architectural and Urban Design at Minto House, Volume 1, 20 Chambers Street and Master of Architecture at Minto House, Matthew Architecture Gallery, 20 Chambers Street (both until 27 August [opening hours 11am-5pm, with late opening till 8pm on 23 and 24 August])

A concert featuring brand new experimental live electronic music and installations from Sound Design and Digital Composition Masters students will be held 6-9pm on 25 August at St Cecilia’s Hall, Niddry Street, Cowgate; free tickets from Eventbrite here.

For more information about Edinburgh College of Art’s postgraduate courses and research groups, click here.