The Holden Gallery was bubbling and oozing with visitors on the Friday 9 th of September. Crowds were forming around the artworks; they had come for the opening of the MA show for the Manchester School of Art’s postgraduate students. The Manchester School of Art’s exhibitions amasses many visitors on the day, but this was noteworthy for the excitement created inside by the discussing guests. This was the first opening for a three-part exhibition for all the MA courses at the Manchester School of Art, the courses included in the first instalment were: Fine Art, Painting,
Embroidery, and textiles.
The next opening on the 27 th of September will have Filmmaking, Games Art, Photography, and Sound Design in the SODA Building and Contemporary Performance, Craft, and Fashion courses in the Benzie Building.
A range of mediums were presented at the exhibition from more traditional mediums of oil on canvas to installations exploring the boundaries of physicality and pain. I was captured by the
diverse styles already emerging in these young artists from figurative to futuristic abstract works were scattered, for the curious cat, among the building. The symbolic paintings, inspecting the reconstruction of memory and the identification of self, by Jackie Chantler, caught my eye as I was passing one room to another; It reminded me of the fascination in figurative portrait in the latter half of 20 th century British art and how it causes ceaseless inspiration for young artists working today.
In the next room a sculpture of an uncanny hand rising upwards, another grappling a stone can be seen next to spiralling mounds of clay, by the sculptor Polly Bates. They convey a struggle between
the assumed hierarchy of the human world and the non-human world of nature by the grasping between the hand and the rock.
The art in the MA Show was diffuse in both presentation and theme, comprising into a demonstration of creative talent for the postgraduate students. Through the zest created at the first
opening of the MA Show, I am intrigued and eager to see what this year of postgraduate students will show at the second opening of the exhibition on the 27 th of September. The bar has been risen
from the first opening, but I trust our expectations will be exceeded.
From all of us at Saul Hay, we wish all the MA students the very best in their future endeavours and a special congratulations for finishing their degrees while dealing with the turmoil caused by COVID in the recent years.
Words and photographs by Ethan Doncaster.
Ethan is a BA Fine Art student and Manchester School of Art and is helping out at the gallery for work experience as part of his studies.