If I was thinking of getting religion, I’d go straight to Mat Hay for advice.
And hopefully he’d put me right off. The Napier University graduate’s new series of large format photographs, entitled The Messenger, are a cautionary tale of modern martyrdom, crazed prophets and messages of doom. Expertly crafted crowd scenes, a modern day hermit pondering in a railway arch and a mass suicide set in a dappled Scottish woodland, are just a selection of his cannily staged examinations of proselytisation, group think and indoctrination.
If you missed the degree shows there’s still a chance to catch up in this two venue venture between Glasgow’s Street Level and Peacock in Aberdeen. The annual showcase doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive but gives young artists fresh from the pressures of graduation time to breathe in a proper gallery environment. There is much to recommend in the work on show in Glasgow, not least that, like Hay, the digital imaging and photography graduates have a clear and coherent project.
Catherine Cameron turns a series of stained sheets, and obscure objects wrapped in crumpled paper, into a melancholy meditation on silence and shame. Fiona Skinner from Duncan of Jordanstone charts the journey from Kinghorn to Dundee via what Fifers call a roundabout and Dundonians, apparently, a circle. Ross Finnie’s series of dream-like details drawn from everyday scenes, is entitled Every Thing is Shit. Luckily, as I’m sure he knows only too well, his photographs aren’t.