The RA Schools Premiums Interim Projects exhibition took place for the first time in the historic Sackler Wing of Galleries at the Royal Academy. The annual show provides a unique opportunity to view exciting new work by 17 emerging and international artists at the interim point of their postgraduate study at the UK’s longest established art school, the RA Schools. Many of the works on display were produced using Epson technology and media, which are all accessible onsite to the students within the Schools’ Epson-sponsored Digital Media Suite.
Providing the Schools with state-of-the-art large format digital printing, AV projection technologies and specialist media, gives students the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of work incorporating a wide range of practices, from hand-made objects and wallpaper installations to paintings and trompe l’oeil, as well as film, woodcuts, photography, film and sound.
The only free three-year postgraduate course in the UK, the RA Schools programme is tailor-made to the individual student, affording each artist the space and flexibility to develop work across a broad array of media. Epson has been an integral part of the Schools fabric for several years, offering support and guidance to the students and staff, and the freedom to experiment and engage with technologies to produce a diverse range of work.
There was much evidence this year of the creative collaboration between students and Epson technologies, with all of the students having utilised the Epson Digital Media Suite at some point during their study.
This was particularly evident in the works of five of the artists on show:
- Jack Burton works with high-gloss colour photographic prints of complex still life, often constructed from sculptural collages of found objects, customized spaces and earlier produced photographic images, printed using an Epson large-format printer.
- India Mackie produces large scale video installations using Epson HD projectors to create physical 4D experiences in high resolution.
- Martin Gross creates prints that span centuries of print processes on their journey of production. He begins by making drawings that are scanned, these become rasterised translations that then become wood-cut stencils via laser cutting equipment and digital print. These manifest as large format digital wallpaper installations that can be customised to fill and match bespoke environments and additionally they can become smaller framed-sized editions that utilise both state-of-the-art Epson inkjet printing and traditional 18th century wood engraving.
- Dimitri Gallitzine produces work across a broad range of media. For Premiums, he created and projected a ‘mockumentary’ film, using an Epson HD projector, in which he documented a journey where he attempted to become a professional Elvis impersonator.
- Sebastian Jefford is a sculptor of idiosyncratic objects made from a combination of diverse materials that include nails, wood, Plasticine, drawing and printing. The material skins which surround them are printed with screen printed Plasticine from film positives produced on a large format Epson printer. Jefford triumphs by an almost miss-use of the technologies intended functions.
Mark Hampson, Head of Fine Art Processes at the RA Schools, who along with his specialist team is responsible for facilitating the students creative ambitions in the RA workshops, says of this group of students: "Our students never cease to surprise me in their creativity and the manifestations of their uses and abuses of the technology and equipment we are able to offer them at the RA Schools. They constantly surprise with their use of the available resources and the ambition with which they can apply these in their Art. This year’s Premiums is an amazing example of the strength of our collaborative project with Epson. Without Epson's support and the sponsorship of equipment and its technical knowledge, many of these artworks would not have been conceivable.
Epson offers us the means and conceptual virtuosity to think laterally about technology and the implications and effects of our digital age. They do this with wonderful generosity and complete trust, often knowing that the resulting artistic consequences may be bizarre, unexpected, un-commercial but always exciting. I cannot think of a more positive way for industry and art education to collaborate and support each other."
Further information on the RA Schools and upcoming events: www.royalacademy.org.uk/page/the-ra-schools
[Image by Andy Keate.]