Category Archives: Glasgow

Oscar Marzaroli

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Oscar Marzaroli

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow

7th December 2019 – 15th of March 2020


Oscar Marzaroli, born in 1933 in Castiglione, La Spezia, Italy was one of Scotlands most notable documentary photographers. Currently on show at Street Level Photoworks, is a collection of his most recognisable images from Scotland in the 1950’s to the 1980s.

Stepping into Streetlevel you are immediately transported back in time, to post WW2 Glasgow. The streets teeming with life from the Rag n’ Bone men starting their day to children playing with anything they can find on the street, the remnants of the war can still be felt in these images from the crumbling buildings that frame the images subject matter. The Old vs New is a recurring theme within the exhibition, something that interested Marzaroli greatly almost to the point of obsession within his work. This conflicting theme is clearly shown in images from the Gorbals and surrounding area’s as seen in, “The Old and the New, Gorbals, 1968” a single sandstone tenement stands front and centre amongst the ever multiplying high rise flats. The stark contrast between the two grabs the eye, the small dark tenement being both figuratively and literally overshadowed by the shiny new housing that popped up behind it.

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“The Castlemilk Lads, 1963”, is probably one of Marzaroli’s best-known images, and is heavily featured within the exhibition. The gruff and stoic looks of the young boys epitomise growing up in 1960’s Glasgow. Although the boys that feature in the images were not in a gang as they were often thought to be, but rather a bunch of school mates who had just finished a country run. Making the narrative of the image completely different to initial perspective. The boys went their separate ways not long after the image was taken, but are now eternally bonded by Marzaroli’s testament to Glasgow Youth.

Along with the beautifully developed framed images, the exhibition is dotted with large scale versions Marzaroli’s contact sheets. When looking at the contact sheets, you get a real sense of Marzaroli’s style of working. With images like “Boys in Heels” and “The Castlemilk Boys” there’s only one image, a quick snap and then onto the next subject matter, a similar style to that of American photographer Vivian Maier. By seeing contact images next to final images, you can see Marzaroli’s the thought process in a physical manifestation, rather than just a final outcome.

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This is a beautiful exhibition showing the best of Glasgow’s bygone day’s, open now till March 15th at Street Level Photoworks.

Kathryn Milne

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics and other works


GOMA

15 November 2019-31 May 2020


This exhibition at GOMA’s Gallery 3 dedicated to Hal Fischer, an American artist whose most prolific works were produced in San Francisco in the late 1970s, focuses on his photographic endeavours from the aforementioned era. According to GOMA, this is the first time UK institution has acquired these photographs, which are by many considered the most significant works of his career.

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Fischer’s conceptual approach to photography is apparent in all of the exhibits. As the visitor steps into the gallery space, they immediately recognise the style and atmosphere of the artist’s work. All of the photographs are figurative, portraying gay men (it is important to note that Fischer only chose to represent men, there is no representation of women from the LGBTQ community) in a candid, however not overtly scandalous or over-sexualised way. There is a sense of honesty and rawness in his work, without the immediacy or sexually explicit nature of photographs by the likes of Nan Goldin, which springs to mind as a somewhat of easy comparison. Each photograph is accompanied by a short description or text in support of the overall concept.

To illustrate, one of the series shows different “(stereo)types” of gay men, focusing specifically on the choice of clothing or accessory (see Figure 1). Fischer wittily labels each item his subjects are wearing, in the style of lighthearted fashion magazines and titles each look in a crude, overly stereotypical way. This sort of labelling is, in my interpretation, a subversion of gay stereotyping, done to highlight its absurdity in a humorous way. Arguably, this approach is at risk of not being deemed politically correct in this day and age, however, viewers must refer back to the context of the times and the artist’s background.

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Curation is appropriate and comprehensive. Labels and descriptions are brief and to the point, making it easy for the visitor to stay present and invested. Fischer’s photography is done in black&white and exhibited in a classical white cube environment which, paired with good lighting, gives viewers an ability to fully focus on the subjects.

All in all, this exhibition is done in an educational and minimalistic way and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Multiple themes explored by Fischer in this exhibition will likely provoke thought while being entertaining and technically stunning at the same time.

Tijana Savicevic

Fiona Tan: Disorient


GOMA
14th June 2019 – 26th January 2020


On arrival to the Gallery of Modern Art I was greeted with a mysterious voice echoing through the main gallery. The gallery, dark and luring with two large screens facing each other. In the centre on the floor between the screens there are bean bags for the public to lay down and spectate. I felt a sense of grandeur with these opposing screens that produced two films; one with strange antiques, incense and spices and the other screen showing life in the Middle East and Asia, busy, bustling with scenes of terror and cultural and political conflict.

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I was taken back with the amount of people watching the diverse culture of Asia and the Middle East with some disturbing scenes; in todays culture of mass media we tend to shy away from the images of terror and watch the more subtle passive happenings of life. Both films are documentaries of the Middle East and Asia but both juxtapose each other dramatically. The screen which displays the antiques, weird trinkets and spices is like a fairy tale and an unseen world while the opposite screen seems to pluck on my heart strings. How can the Middle East and Asia look so promising yet be subject to extreme destruction and poverty. While watching the installation we get two views of the story being narrated; one calm, inviting and pleasant the other congested and intimidating at points.

The layout of the screens I think is to show the diverse nature of each documentary and to highlight that contrast. Yet, I feel like we miss out on so much by only seeing one screen at a time. From a documentary perspective we would get so much more if the screens were displayed beside each other but from an artistic perspective it works incredibly well.

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There is narration over the documentary of a males voice, quiet and muffled which reads an edited script from The Travels of Marco Polo. Marco Polo travelled through the Middle East and Asia for 24 years and his writings have continued to influence us for almost 800 years. Tan created this insightful installation almost ten years ago and is still a present participle in todays society and cultural transformation. When Tan’s work was originally created we never had as much access to the media as we now do. Disorient is still a contemporary masterpiece with the ever-changing culture we live in today and will continue to do so.

George Price

Sheila Boyle: Delineate


The Vacant Space
1184 Argyle St, Glasgow


Sheila Boyle is something of a rarity within the contemporary production of art with a practice straddling across mediums and dimensions but retaining a clear thematic interest and consistent execution. Her work centres around the urban sprawl; it’s fragmentation and abstraction in our memory of it and the feelings it can evoke in all of us no matter where we might be from.

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Float

Her process is one of automated production, removing her works from any literal reading of a known place. This creates something absorbing and intense in her practice and I can see reason why people may end up projecting their own known environments of home onto her works. She has found the common language of our cities; the bright, almost garish colours, the loud noise and hustle and bustle that sit beside the battle between contrasting elements all striving to exist in one place. Whatever truth lies within them is buried in a blurred memory of space and presence leaving them open for the viewer to find their own known urban framework inside them.

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Tangerine Dream

Definably a printmaker with the majority of works shown in her Delineate exhibition starting life as monoprints before being worked into with acrylic. They are expressive but also considered, colourful without screaming at you and the longer you look at them the more interesting they seem to become. She also had a beautiful steel sculpture on display, it’s harsh welded joins take the lines from her printed works and move them into a different more prominent form reminiscent of those sculptural maps you may find in city centres around the world. Yet it is Sheila’s city and we can only follow and try and find our own way through it.

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Cut The Mustard

My favourite body of her work is her silkscreen prints. These are a clear move away from her other pieces yet retain the same architectural themes somehow acting as a softer nod to the abstract urban environment that defines her practice. They take the line out of the composition, instead relying on a layering of colour and a clever blend of opacity to show a depth of texture often lost in screen printing.

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Dark Dawn Rising

Delineate is on until the 20th of October and is located at the Vacant Space gallery on Argyll Street in the west end of Glasgow. Sheila was a joy to meet and gave me lots of interesting conversation about her practice and her experience as a working artist in Glasgow, if you are unable to catch her at this show then keep an eye out for her next one no doubt coming soon.

Jamie Dyer

Grace Schwindt: Five Surfaces All White


CCA, Glasgow
7th September – 13th October


Walking into this exhibition at the CCA I found myself in a four-walled room that held a five-walled screen and a seating area for the audience. Feeling like I had just been admitted to a very uncomfortable padded cell – a very isolating environment. I watched as the five walled screens came to life with the haunting and eerie chants of Schwindt’s voice. mantra inducing. It was as if she was trying to ignore me and communicate with two other isolated figures a man with a trumpet and a young girl beside a horse. The seated man masked Schwindt’s humming with his humming and periodical tones on his trumpet.

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The singing is a form of healing and the horse symbolizes an animal of power and strength but this animal of power and strength is also isolated in it’s own world eating the grass. Through her voice which seemed that she is singing to the environment, she is placed in surrounded by beautiful mountains but also the five white walls. It is as if she can’t escape the man-made world. Similar to the Three Ages of Women by Gustav Klimt there is almost a recognition by the women after her interaction with the man that she is now passing on her knowledge, skills and courage to the child who then mounts the symbol of strength, the horse.

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This exhibit transports you into another world, the world of the artist, the world of mystery almost shamanistic in her approach. As you walk in you step into what seems like another plain of existence and all-encompassing eclectic interpretation of the struggles of life. It is almost like a re-telling of the stories of times gone by that is now lost with the advances of technology and the isolation that comes with it, a loss of community spirit.

These three lost souls struggling to find common ground have eliminated the more common way of dealing with mental health i.e. visiting the psychiatrist and have aligned their value and belief systems with SPK. Socialist Patience Collective(SPK) partly contribute to Schwindt’s performance. They are an anti-psychiatric collective from Heidelberg, Germany. The SPK are also interested and explore themes of the social causes of mental illness. If you are in the mood to face the stark realities of the rat race you won’t go far wrong visiting the CCA before 13th October.

George Price

Paisley Art Institution


131st Annual Exhibition
Unit 43A & 54, The Piazza, Central Way, Paisley
7 September – 20 October 2019


PAI: A yearly occurrence of something exceptional. When entering the non-traditional quite unassuming previous supermarket space, you are swiftly immersed into a varying world of art. The once former home of Paisley School of Design (now the Piazza shopping Centre), where PAI was founded. Welcoming back the institution to its original foundations feels like the perfect alternative to the current refurbishing of the Museum and Gallery. The many people who pass through the shopping centre probably don’t expect much more from there weekly shopping ventures but as you take a peek into the exhibition venue you can’t help but be curious. This is an amazing way to grab people’s attention who usually don’t go to exhibitions, to see the incredible array of artist works on display in the centre of paisley. The continual choice to have open entrants is a great opportunity which allows younger or new artists to exhibit alongside already established, well-renowned artists and PAI members.

The section of the Gallery with 3 walls of portraiture is truly breathtaking; the distinct, varying processes and interpretations of a portrait, side by side, which both complements and contradicts the other. It is a really professionally curated show. In a room full of 476 pieces of art it’s difficult not to be overwhelmed. Amongst the many, what stands out to me is the dreamy and dramatic city/landscapes. This is when I become fully immersed and forget my surroundings.

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Bryan Evans: Floods At Kinning Park, Watercolour 68 x 45cm: £2,600

On the lines of dreamy art, the work of Bryan Evans, definitely does not fall short of this. This particular piece is near Kinning Park underground station in the Southside of Glasgow. There is a real sense of familiarity to a person like myself, who grew up in Scotland, with the ‘rain-soaked’ streets and tenements of Glasgow at night. It reminds me of walking home after a hard day of work, its chucking it down, but you see the glow of warmth and home in the distance. Although some may dread the sight of rain, there is also something rather endearing about it. Evans captures this perfectly with the stunning combination of colours and textures created by the rain – this is emphasised with his use of watercolour. So, if you happen to find yourself in Paisley, in the rain, this is a perfect place to take shelter and absorb some of Scotland’s best portraiture, sculpture, still life, landscape, visual art and also VR!

Carina Ross

Collective Endeavours

 


Glasgow Art Club
September 20th, 2019


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A new configuration of Collective Endeavors performed at the iconic Glasgow Art Club on 20th September to coincide with Glasgow Open Doors. Their line up consisted of new dancer Molly Danter and new violinist Elana Inei working alongside one of the founders Jer Reid. Reid and Solene Weinachter set up Collective Endevours eight years ago. Nerea Gurrugtxaga and Molly Danter took us on a wordless journey where all sorts of themes and human emotions were enacted to a sold-out captivated audience.

What a great venue for this throbbing, experimental and haunting experience. Nerea and Molly entered from different sides of the audience dancing solo, interacting together and making moves that held grace in their poise and impossible body flexibility. Both these performers look young but their experience in dance is far more mature than their years.

Behind their youthful faces lies a plethora of knowledge, experience and control showing wisdom beyond their years. Gurrugtxaga from Basque country in Northern Spain was an artist in residence in Kinning Park Complex three years ago. Her isolation ( movement of one part of the body independently from the rest) is incredible to witness. Molly Danter (ShoreditchYouth Dance Company and London Contemporary Dance School) was phenomenal in her physicality and ability to envision the most complex forms with her body and make it look painless and ethereal.

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Full body extension dancing when linked with the barefoot guitarist Reid was a surprise. We saw the two join together in an intense embrace and the juxtaposition of the movement and melody became one. They entwined in a cross-disciplinary marriage that was fleeting yet mesmerizing. The dancers reconnected with each other as we entered the next chapter of the performance. The disjointedness was elegant and surreal. Also meditative like tai chi grounding us in the human experience, making us slow down and savour the moment; giving in to the performance. A playful atmosphere changes dramatically as the violinist creates a thumping crescendo which in turn heightens the pace of the bass notes of Reid’s guitar. The dancers run, chase and jump on each other and through the crowd. Elea Inei abstractly plays alongside Reid’s experimental guitar. The pulsing rhythms of the extraordinary music pulls the viewer into a sense of comfortability only to be thrown into chaos mirroring life’s rich tapestry. If you would like to see Collective Endeavours next performance check out their website: Cemusicdance.co.uk.

Clare Crines

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