Gray’s Graduate returns to showcase new exhibition

Julia Cordiner graduated from Gray's School of Art in 1986.
Julia Cordiner graduated from Gray's School of Art in 1986.

Julia Gardiner who originally trained as a printmaker at Gray’s School of Art is returning to RGU 30 years after graduating to open her new exhibition.

Julia originally attended Gray’s School of Art in the 80s before heading to the The Royal College of Art, London.

Returning to Aberdeen in 1992 Julia has continued her practice, exhibiting regularly and has won a number of prizes including the Shell Premier Award at Aberdeen Artists Annual Exhibition.

Her Gray’s School of Art Degree Show in 1986 was an installation featuring large, free standing sheets of hand-made paper panels whilst many of her etchings depicted images of structures, containers and boxes. Over the past thirty years these core interests have merged in the form of boxed constructions where hand-made paper or pre-manufactured card or cardboard are ordered and organised in simple geometric compositions and relationships.

Although Julia’s constructions reflect a minimalist sensibility the making process is far removed from the machine aesthetic of Minimalism as the paper forms are all hand-drawn, hand-cut, hand-coloured, hand glued. Mathematical precision, calculation and sequential ordering all figure within the process but the hand-made, whilst aspiring towards perfection is nuanced with irregularities and variations caused by the repetition of drawing and cutting out almost identical shapes again and again.

This leads to the emergence of organic elements and a more natural aesthetic alongside geometric pattern and this combination of curves and straight lines creates gently undulating surfaces that rise and fall like bumps, humps, hollows and ridges. Whilst landscape terms do sometimes appear as titles these references are by association rather than specific source material. The forms themselves evolve wholly through the process of cutting and stacking, leading to a surface that may appear solid from a distance but of course is made up of edges and gaps.

Julia said: “A large part of my time is taken up with the mundane but necessary production of hundreds of sheets of handmade paper from old newspapers. “These sheets are my raw material along with a very particular type of cardboard that I collect most Wednesday mornings from outside Hamish Munro’s - which also happens to be one of my favourite shoe shops.”

George Cheyne, of RGU’s Art and Heritage Collections team, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Julia to exhibit in our new exhibition area on the university campus.

“The exhibition launches a series of university events with the theme of the ‘Hand of the Maker.’

“Julia’s work is a perfect starting point as she meticulously manipulates and transforms recycled papers, as if by metamorphosis, into three dimensional forms and structures similar to those found in nature. “

The exhibition launches today (Friday October 7) and will be held at RGU in the Sir Ian Wood Building until November 4.