Art student explores balance between chaos and control

A Clackmannanshire art student who has explored the balance between chaos and control through her final year project, has seen her work go on display at Gray’s School of Art Degree Show in Aberdeen.

Toni Harrower Degree Show 2016Toni Harrower (24), from Menstrie, was delighted to see a number of her paintings get snapped up at the opening night of the Gray’s Degree Show, which is the culmination of four years’ of study.

The former Alva Academy pupil said: “My style has changed quite a lot since I came to Gray’s. I’m really interested in the physicality of oil paint and what it can do. I wanted to push the boundaries of paint and my work is all about the restraints and structures that people put in place, often on top of chaotic things to try to keep that semblance of control. It is about the balance between chaos and control.”

Toni used oil paint, laser cutting and spray guns to create her work, which also explores her interest in dementia through the repetition of patterns.

Her paintings are very systematic, and she uses a colour coded alphabet to create the titles for each painting which form the starting point for her creations.

She said: “Working in a repetitious manner, I create individual patterns and repeated geometric shapes that form a grid-like structure. The grid provides a level of control over the paint, which is otherwise unrestricted.

“The build-up of layers expresses the passing of time. As the paint gains depth and weight, gravity and a lack of control come into play, causing the paint to fall away with cells merging into one another.

“In many ways the paintings relate to uncontrollable events that happen in life, and several pieces imply the notion of the mind - and life – falling apart.”

With Aberdeen’s art scene growing, Toni plans to remain in the north-east and begin to carve out her career as a painter.

She said: “Four of us from this year’s painting course have an upcoming exhibition in Aberdeen and the plan for the future is to try and secure some studios and just keep on making art. Aberdeen’s really starting to get a creative atmosphere about it, so it is quite an exciting place to be at the moment.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Gray’s, it’s been great.”

The Gray's School of Art Degree Show 2016, sponsored by BP, will run until Saturday, June 25. Entry is free and opening times are Monday to Friday, 7am to 10pm; Saturday, 9am to 6pm; and Sunday, 9am to 3pm.

Release by

Kirsty Groseneill

Communications Office | Placement student