Category Archives: Glasgow

Adrian Wiszniewki RSA RGI: Prudence Perched in Paris


Compass Gallery, Glasgow
12 Mar 2020 – 4 Apr 2020


“Prudence Perched in Paris” is an exhibition at Compass Gallery displaying the work of Adrian Wiszniewki RSA RGI, on until April 4th 2020. Wiszniewski is a Scottish artist of Polish descent and graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1984. Wiszniewski’s debut solo show was at Compass Gallery where he went on to breathe new life into figurative painting and become part of a group of Scottish artists called the New Glasgow Boys. He has also received global success and his work is housed in some of the greatest public collections such as Tate Britain, London and Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Two Revolutionaries i.

Wiszniewki has a vibrant and unique charm to his work, his style is reminiscent of Matisse’s line drawings merged with the mystical fascination and decorative elements of Pre-Raphaelite paintings or a William Blake illustration. At the Compass Gallery, the exhibition’s artwork is presented alongside the gallery’s collection, which creates an inviting and homely space further enhancing the mystical and folk style imagery of the artworks.

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The exhibition as a whole gave the sensation of the mythical being propelled into modernity. One painting depicts two men laying opposite each other. The composition appears to reference Botticelli’s iconic Venus and Mars (1483) but Wiszniewki instead presents a brightly moonlit male couple wearing shirts and ties. It is a crisp, allusive, and modern depiction of a classical narrative.

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Boticelli

The exhibition extensively displays Wiszniewki’s varied disposition to colour. In the landscapes colour becomes form. For example, in Postcard from Japan, the trees are defined in bold oranges and reds that twist and recede into the canvas as warm greens and ultramarine blues project towards us from behind and satisfy the senses. Later colour is used in a completely different manner in a selection of his portraits, such as in Two Revolutionaries i where a vast spectrum of colours structure their faces. The colours are glowing as strokes of bright yellow and green emanate out the canvas. Wiszniewski creates a unique sense of depth and perspective with each of the various ways colour is utilised, pulling you in like a dream.

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In parts of the exhibition colour is absent and instead the textures and details of the material are investigated. A few portraits are composed of an opaque background colour that frames a portrait on raw canvas where the details of the face are embellished. I was drawn into these paintings, examining how the rough canvas can make such an elegant face.

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Postcard from Japan

Each figure is truly unique throughout the exhibition. There is a selection of figures in pen that are reminiscent of a Matisse. The figures are small bursts of personality and with different coloured backgrounds to highlight the subject matter. However, there are many paintings that are completely absent of colour which are just as enchanting. Of these, Oubliette attracted my attention the most. It is an abstract scene of two figures in a tight space, the walls have the texture of bark or perhaps white noise. There is a large set of legs with underwear hanging from the feet which also possess the bark-like texture. It is unclear if the legs are menacing or the next prisoner, as two figures sleep below the feet. It is enchanting and mysterious to look at, and one of my highlights.

Wiszniewki’s exhibition at Compass Gallery is a delight to experience. The work is dynamic, elegant and mystical in this cosy gallery in the centre of Glasgow.

Lara Dingemans

Shuvinai Ashoona

 


CCA, Glasgow

7th of February until 22nd of March, 2020


Shuvinai Ashoona is an Inuit artist working primarily in drawing. The exhibition at the CCA includes some of her lesser known work; mostly colourful pencil drawings along with some linear work in black and white.

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The curation follows the traditional white cube setting with the two smaller rooms containing work in a smaller scale and operating as introductory passages to the spacious back room were mainly larger pieces are displayed.

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Overall, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the space in conjunction with the work; especially the back room with the skylight window on the ceiling. The roof was reminiscent of a hut somewhere in a cold place and along with the white lighting it felt in tune with Shuvinai´s work.

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There is a narrative in the drawings individually as well as a whole throughout the exhibition. The drawings are very informative about Inuit culture. There´s plenty of recurring elements presented in scenes from daily life. A strong sense of community is depicted and a mix of traditional and contemporary elements.

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There´s sense of silliness, tenderness and domesticity and laid out all together they almost seemed to me like a visual diary with vague limits between the personal and the collective. Shuvinai uses a lot of fantastical elements in her drawings. I really enjoyed the normality of these surrealisms within scenes of ordinary life. It opens a window to the artist´s imagination and invites the viewer to approach the work in a playful manner.

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The drawings emanate a sense of creative freedom and unfiltered expression. They’re almost seamless. You can sense that Shuvinai enjoys the act of making by the result. Overall, it was a very inspiring and refreshing show.

Maria Tolia

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