a-n Degree Shows Guide 2020: Catherine Gittens

“There can be as much stillness as joy.”

A City that Welcomes Art

“I’ve got this stubborn idea that I can paint on anything.” 

Judy Chicago at Baltic, Gateshead

It’s the diary-like works that suck you in. 

Coventry Biennial 2019

A conscious decision to discard with the “baggage” of the traditional biennial format. 

What Is The Matter: Materials, Commodities, Narratives

Mindless repetition and back-breaking toil does not simply vanish when a worker clocks off at the end of their shift.     

The Cucumber Fell in the Sand

She sensed a gulf between the studio’s hotbed of inspiration and the more muted experience of the gallery visitor, shuffling between compositions, catalogue in hand.

Construction House: Radical Materials

Serenely prohibitive, the pages seem like a nod to an era before rolling content, when television test cards told viewers when to call it a night.

Support Structures

Rather than the gleaming surface of a shop floor, traces of the workshop linger through wood offcuts and folded drapes of unused fabric.

Construction House: Leisure Time

The work is approachable, enjoys getting out of its comfort zone, and likes pizza (probably).

Construction House: Order and Limitations

The show is no dusty tribute to a bygone movement, but proof that Bauhaus influence continues to be keenly felt.

Lowlight

It sprawls across the gallery floor like some kind of ominous subterranean network, bristling with data.

Beyond the Wilderness Years

A tacit reminder that English identity isn’t simply about pastoral landscapes and china teacups, but a story of exploitation and the ugly legacy of the slave trade.

Turner Prize 2017

Paunchy magnates in powdered wigs jostle against cut-outs of Thatcher and Reagan.

A Turn Out in Hull

It is precisely Himid’s commitment to challenging assumptions, and questioning embedded power structures, that makes her such a worthy candidate for the prize.

Self Service

A cluster of withered red ‘SALE’ balloons slump in a corner.

Visible Girls Revisited

The teenagers, in full petticoats and their mothers’ stilettoes, grin delightedly at the viewer.

Mummy’s Boy

Does creating meaningful work have to involve a tortured internal conflict, or simply picking out a can of Dulux?

Art Sheffield

I couldn’t help feeling that I might enjoy the work more if I had been born a computer.

The Rhubarb Triangle & Other Stories

Scenes of vibrant red stalks plucked from the soil by candlelight.


Both Sides Now

The nose finally heads off on an odyssey of adventure, abandoning its owner to wallow in secondhand aromas.

The Scammers Become the Scammed

If online swindles can offer up an escape route, then this one is a cul-de-sac.

Prussian Blue

Portraits are rarely neutral images, but rather coded representations of property, status and power.

As Slow as Possible

There's a catch — full appreciation of this festival could take several hundred years.

Automate Your Personality

You wanted to outsmart the bot, expose its machinery, ask it to marry you — anything to provoke a response.

In Praise of the Degree Show

A place for trying to explain postmodernism to your nan, testing fairweather friendships with offers of free wine, and justifying several grand's fallout to your parents.