Kelley davis Artist

245 Reasons to visit DJCAD’S Degree Show…

245 Reasons to visit DJCAD’S Degree Show…


The Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design’s academic year culminates with the long anticipated Degree show that provides a platform for the new emerging artists and designers of 2014.

The diversity of the show draws attention to the 245 talented artists that have been housed in Dundee for the previous four years. As a graduating student from DJCAD it has been an honour to study alongside this years creative students.

One particular show that stands out belongs to Lily Morris. Morris explores the nuances of growing up and growing old by abstracting and embellishing her endearing family narratives. Plaster cast mannequin baby doll legs litter the space with dainty ceramic shoes placed on their feet. The mannequins are somewhat disturbing and draw out nostalgic feelings towards my own irrational fear of little girl’s dolls. There is a sculpture of the plaster mannequin doll legs that is placed in the corner dressed in red tights and little girl’s white shoes. The red tights suggest that this baby girl is becoming a woman with the strong vibrant colour of red. Every woman can relate to that idyllic prepubescent stage where one is still pure and innocent and life’s only trial is fighting over who gets the best doll. As you leave Morris’ space the sadness of an era hits you quietly while you secretly thank you no longer have to fight over the best doll. There is a sickly sweet note to Morris’ work yet it was a show I greatly admired.

Kelley davis Art

Image Courtesy Of The Artist Kelley Davis

 The familial theme runs throughout DJCAD’s Degree show. Prominent within Kelley Davis’ work is the portrayal of the early abandonment of her father and the artist focuses on self-healing through the creation of her art. The main piece within the gallery space is the installation of a white communion dress suspended from the ceiling. Fishhooks puncture the dress and are tied with red thread. The red has connotations of blood connecting to the loss of the relationship of Davis’ Father that has detracted from the innocence of a child. The lack of relationship to her Father creates this idea to the viewer that Davis’ has been wounded and seeks a way to rebuild herself. The obvious destruction of Davis’ childhood creates a sense of grief but the viewer is filled with a sense of comfort as the artist recreates a performance of her Mother’s words. Davis’ Mother reconstructs the traumatic events of their lives. The words of the artist’s Mother instils silence within the space and despite describing harrowing events one cannot help but feel the comfort of a Mother’s words and what she will do to protect her children. Having watched Kelley Davis struggle throughout this year dealing with such an important piece of her life, she has executed her ordeal with such grace. Her work is an inspiration and permits those who have experienced something similar to receive some form of acceptance.

The work at DJCAD produced a great show and I recommend members of the public to visit the emerging artists. I am biased as a graduating student but DJCAD has allowed me to meet a bunch of interesting people and some of the most talented people I have ever met.


Written By Danielle Fleming


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