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Artist Megan Rea in front of her work
Megan Rea, Painting - BA (Hons) graduate, will be exhibiting at this year's New Contemporaries

The RSA: New Contemporaries Exhibition offers many new artists graduating from a Scottish institution the first major step in their careers. This year, of the 66 artists selected from 2016 degree shows around Scotland, 17 Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) students have been chosen to participate in the event.

"The development of [New Contemporaries] has enabled us to engage with new artists towards promoting a nationally significant presentation of new Scottish practice," said Colin Greenslade, Director of The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture.

Three of the alumni who have been selected to exhibit are Architecture - MArch graduates, Oliver Beetschen, Shimal Morjaria and Jonathan Piper. They were also recently named as ‘ones to watch’ by Blueprint Magazine.

"Our final Masters thesis project considered the ways in which contemporary Japanese building practices have developed in response to the countries past catastrophes," they said of their work, "Our proposal, in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo, explores the social and cultural impact of infrastructure, and seeks to offer a poignant critique on the dangers of alienation in a system of advanced capitalism."

Painting - BA (Hons) graduates, Megan Rea and Grace Woodcock, are looking forward to producing work that is on a more ambitious scale than anything they have previously produced.

"I am very excited to be involved in the New Contemporaries exhibition. It feels like such a great opportunity," said Megan, "I am in the process of creating new work for the show. I am continuing with the focus of my degree show space which was based on the deconstruction of architecture. Paintings, plinths and architectural models will be involved and I am hoping to replicate a feature of the gallery space to make it site specific. I want to be more ambitious with the size of my paintings as the gallery is on such a large scale."

"I never expected this kind of interest in my work," Grace says, "Soon after graduating I was shortlisted and selected for exhibitions at Blip, Blip, Blip in Leeds and GENERATORprojects in Dundee. Having this positive interest in my work and a space to reimagine new work in is really motivating – especially in such an amazing space as the Royal Scottish Academy."

Doug Stevens, a Fine Art - MA (Hons), was also selected. He has been working in Oslo for a peace organisation dedicated to providing educational experiences for children since he graduated earlier this year.

"I've realised how reassuring it is to know that there is a concrete exhibition in the calendar to work towards," he said, "I have developed a new sculptural work based around the notion of anxiety. I am particularly interested in how it simultaneously manifests itself on both a deeply personal, individual level and as a collective affect influenced by large scale structures and systems embedded in society."

"The exhibition is now an important fixture in the calendar with collectors, curators and visitors travelling from far and wide to this must-see event," Colin Greenslade said, "Prizes and awards at the exhibition now total more than £46,000 and these opportunities help to develop the artists’ networks."

The full list of participating ECA alumni is:

  • Oliver Beetschen
  • Michael Di Rienzo
  • Joseph Glover
  • Megan Hampton
  • Eden Hawkins
  • James Howden Boyle
  • Natalie Howlett
  • Daisy Lafarge
  • Danny Leyland
  • Shimal Morjaria
  • Jonathan Piper
  • Megan Rea
  • Frances Rokhlin
  • Doug Stevens
  • Lucy Wayman
  • Toby Wilson
  • Grace Woodcock

The ECA alumni who were selected to participate last year included Emily Binks, Iona Roberts, Olivia Turner and Emma Price, who each won one of the RSA: New Contemporaries art prizes.

The ninth annual RSA NEW CONTEMPORARIES exhibition will run from 18 Feb - 15 Mar 2017 at the Royal Scottish Academy on The Mound, Edinburgh.

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Oliver, Jonathan and Shimal next to their Degree Show work
Oliver Beetschen, Jonathan Piper and Shimal Morjaria with their reimagined Otemachi Tower