The gallery at the School of Art Gallery, in Building 49 RMIT, was just a taster of the pieces on exhibition Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition. There were so many artists and art were mostly small pieces so it was difficult to make any critical judgements. Over in the maze of studios on Level C of Building 49 in Franklin St. the graduates had a more substantial exhibition of their work.
I was already familiar with the work of some of the artists from other exhibitions. Liz Walker was not exhibiting sculpture but alternating masonite panels with oil portraits and text. Tom Gleisner was exhibiting his pale pop art paintings. And Leon Hawker intense abstract collages of repeating photocopy elements.
Other artists were new to me. In Min-Hye Cho’s DVD installation, “My name is Min-Hye, Cho”, the pixels were gradually enlarged until they were the size of the blocks that they were being projected onto.
Along with painting, sculpture, DVDs, photographs and digital prints the exhibition also featured several vitrines of jewellery. On the whole there was lots of geometric work and yellow. There are, oxymoronically given that this was Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition, no masterpieces in this exhibition, perhaps because these are masters by course work students.
At the opening of the exhibition the real action was happening away from the art. Such an exhibition is a meat market with the newly graduated artists on sale to the commercial galleries. Meeting people and talking was the main business of this exhibition as the students celebrated completing their course. And there were plenty of the usual crowd of Melbourne’s art exhibition scene in attendance probably attracted by the free wine and munchies. The Nandos chicken wings and the cab-sav wine were the definite stars of the show. Free finger food and drink, once the standard, is becoming the exception at exhibition openings and good food is exceptional.
Will any of these newly graduated Masters of Fine Art become a major artist, a new master of contemporary art? It is unlikely and their chances more are dependant on the fashions and foibles of the art market than the artist’s training and talent.