The Graduate


If you’ve seen the Saatchi & Saatchi campaign for the National Art Show Grad show, you’ll know that these days, grad shows are important art diary events.

With the pulse of contemporary art throbbing away in galleries near and far, large and small, commercial and artist run, graduate exhibitions offer a chance for newly-minted artists to strut their stuff on the contemporary stage.

Visiting a grad show is a chance to review influence and direction through the eyes of each institution and is bound to overwhelm, underwhelm, excite and surprise. It’s worth pondering the possible fortunes of those on stage. Rags to riches stories are few and far between, but occasionally the Australian art world it does make it happen–the rise and rise of Sophie Cape, this year’s Portia Geach winner, is one such grad-to-great story of late.

Grad shows don’t just attract the mums and dads and the debutantes’ loved ones. The big corporates are going along–Mirvac Group has just partnered with the National Art School to give recent graduates the opportunity to have their artworks included in Mirvac’s retail, office and residential businesses around Australia. 

All grad shows display work in different states of finesse that serves as a powerful drawcard. Some installations are highly polished, sophisticated and clearly destined for private collections; others, shine bright with innovation and ambition while concede to the challenge of fully resolving aesthetic with idea; and some, stiff with stage fright, reveal the impact of late nights and the pressure of looming deadlines.

Amongst this rock and rubble of the grad show there’s much to discover; a multiplicity of ideas and manifestation; the latest in media and making; and clear demonstration of the commitment and verve with which students across all disciplines and institutions address their work.

It’s a place where enthusiasm mixes with ingenuity, skill and wet paint to meld and yield surprising results.

Sample these offerings, you won’t be disappointed.


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