Graduate in Residence exhibition goes on display at Gray’s


An eclectic mix of creative influences, from English troubadour Frank Turner to American author Paul Auster, have made their mark on one Graduate in Residence at Gray’s School of Art, whose work goes on display to the public this week.

A selection of work created by this year’s Painting Graduate in Residence Chris Wells (25) will go on show at the Art School from Friday, January 24 until Friday, January 31.

The exhibition, entitled ‘Everything Looks Perfect from Far Away’, consists of five large scale drawings and a number of smaller pieces created by Chris during his residency at Robert Gordon University (RGU).

Among Chris’ creative inspirations, he cites a range of influences, from artists Damien Hirst and Max Beckmann to those working in other art forms such as afore mentioned singer/songwriter Frank Turner and a variety of literary heavyweights.

“This is my first solo show, so I’m very excited to see it come together,” Chris said. “Seeing it out of the studio and hung in one space makes such a difference.”

Talking about his work, he explained: “They are big drawings which I just cram full of stuff – it is the product of an obsessive nature combined with a short attention span.

“They are made up of all these little objects and people and pieces of text which come either straight from my imagination, from photos or just things that are around me. I also use a lot of text, different quotes or song lyrics that I come across – it’s all spontaneous, there’s not much preplanning involved in what I do.

“I like adding layers to my work, so there are instances of pictures within pictures within pictures, which often reference earlier pieces of work.”

Chris graduated from Gray’s in 2011 with First Class Honours before travelling to Florence where he studied on a John Kinross Scholarship awarded by the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA).

He said: “I had a vision of it being this beautiful city from the seventeenth century for some reason, but when I got there it was a city like any other with buses and Macdonald’s and litter. It was there that the title of this exhibition, which is a line from a song, first started to resonate with me.”

The Graduate in Residence scheme at Gray’s provides support to a recent graduate in the early stages of their career by providing them with a studio space and access to other resources such as workshops and IT facilities while assisting with a range of undergraduate activities.

Chris has recently secured another Artist in Residence position through the Royal Scottish Academy residences programme at Aberdeen’s Peacock Visual Arts, commencing in February 2014.

Painting subject leader, Keith Grant, said: “We are all extremely excited by Chris’s show as it is very different from our two previous Graduate in Residence exhibitions. At first glance these are deceptively simple works and your first reaction is to wonder at the skill of their execution.

“Look closer however and the viewer will see that they are in fact very knowing works. The one thing that you can be sure of is that they will handsomely reward careful scrutiny.”

Everything Looks Perfect from Far Away is on display at Gray’s School of Art, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen from Friday, January 24, until Friday, January 31.

See Chris talking about his work on the Gray’s School of Art blog

Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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