Archive for the ‘Art Reviews’ Category

Ingenious Impressions – Hunterian

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Quite recently I visited this exhibition which is in the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow and I absolutely loved it.

The Exhibition draws on the extensive research of a five year project to catalogue the University of Glasgow’s collection of fifteenth century printed books and gives you a background to each of the books as well as explaining how they were produced, collected and then bequeathed to the University.

The exhibition space is dimly lit, which is to preserve the books, but the accompanying text panels are well lit and a clever use of mirrors allows you to see many of the ornate covers and bindings hidden beneath.

My particular favourites included the Roman Breviary, the Calendar and the Canon of Medicine. A Breviary is a liturgical book which contains prayers, hymns, psalms and readings for everyday use by both the clergy and the laity.  This one was printed in Venice in 1478 and was a special luxury copy printed on vellum and beautifully decorated.  It is believed to have been produced as a gift for Leonardo Botta, the Milanese ambassador to Venice, and the detailed images and brilliant colours are as impressive today as when they were created.  The Kalendarium (Calendar) by Erhard Ratdolt was also produced in Venice but the printer was German and he had moved to Venice attracted by the thriving intellectual scene.  He produced technically innovative publications and this calendar includes paper wheels which can still be turned today to show the motion of the moon. The Canon of Medicine was an encyclopaedia of medicine compiled around 1025 by a Persian philosopher known as Avicenna. Originally written in Arabic it was translated into many languages and it’s one of the most famous books in the history of medicine.  This copy too was printed in Venice and its decoration, known as illuminations, are by an artist known as Pico Master and are extremely lavish.  There are also many annotations (or notes) written next to the text throughout the book so it was obviously well used.

The aim of the project was to promote this collection to a wider audience and I’m convinced this has been achieved.  Many of the people I know who have visited the exhibition are not academics but are book lovers keen to look at early versions of their much beloved pursuit of reading. The information provided between each set of books is detailed and informative and I came away with a greater understanding of both the production as well as subject matter of early printed books. I also earned that very early printed books, produced in the fifteenth century, are known as incunables and was able to look at a working model of an early printing press.

As I said earlier, I loved it and I am sure you will too.

Visit before it closes on 21 June.  Admission is free so spend your saved cash on the gorgeous accompanying catalogue.

Let us know your thoughts if you’ve visited.

Pulse Project – London Road

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I took a tour organised by the Velocity Project which has been responsible for working in partnerships to provide a cultural response and long lasting legacy to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.  Part of this project includes PULSE, a series of artworks along London Road connecting Glasgow Green and the Barras Calton.  The tour took us to look at two of those permanent artworks.

The first piece we looked at was Cut From The Factory Floor by the artist Iain Kettles, who is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art.  Fabricated in Corten steel it stands as a roll of carpet slightly unfurling at the corner.  The artist used the Templeton Carpet Factory archives, which are stored by Glasgow School of Art, to look at patterns for the chenille carpets which were produced by the Templeton Factory and incorporated that pattern into his sculpture. The Templeton Factory building is just down the road from the sculpture and is an icon in Glasgow, having been modelled on the Doge’s Palace in Venice.  In its heyday from the 1850s to the 1960s it produced carpets for clients all around the world including the cruise liners built in the Glasgow shipyards and Mrs Abraham Lincoln also had a Templeton carpet in her home. It finished manufacturing in the 1980s and today the building houses offices, studios and homes, as well as a brewery and pub.

The sculpture’s pattern was created using water jets to slice through the steel to create the pattern.  The piece celebrates the rich industrial legacy of this part of the East End of Glasgow and the talented and creative workers employed in the Factory. We viewed the sculpture on a brilliantly sunny evening so the colours of the green trees and blue sky, viewed through the pattern, made it look very like a brightly patterned carpet.  It is an impressive and salutary reminder of Glasgow’s rich industrial heritage and ability to provide world class items for export around the world. It is also hard to believe, when you look from a distance, that it is made of steel and won’t unfurl and collapse to the floor. You will find the sculpture in Claythorn Park, on London Road, and it is visible from the road.  There are future plans to light it internally and I look forward to going back once that has been installed and see another version of this brightly patterned carpet.

We then walked back down London Road towards the Barras and the City Centre.  At Greendyke Square we found the installation by Jacqueline Donachie called Slow Down.  This piece began life as a project centred round the 100 day countdown to the start of the Commonwealth Games.  Slow Down involved 100 cyclists slowly travelling through the City with a small attachment on each bike which left a line of chalk on the ground resulting in a ribbon of colours along the Glasgow streets.
Jacqueline joined us on the tour, so we were able to ask lots of questions about the piece.  She was born in Glasgow and studied at Glasgow School of Art, completing a Masters of Fine Art at Hunter College in New York. This piece celebrates the interactive Slow Down project with permanent coloured lines of chalk surrounding the framework.  The sculptural steel framework is painted with a very bright and eye catching colour and it is so perfect we thought it had been machine painted.  However, Jacqueline told us it had all been hand painted – which was very impressive. The framework is a cross between a bike park and a railing to lean on and it is hoped people will use it as a meeting place and focal point.  If you are heading up towards the Barras you cannot miss it.

Both these installations celebrate Glasgow and I hope people will take a bit of time to have a look at them as they walk past.  If you spot them, let us know what you think.

Elvis in White

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Niall Macdonald was born in the Outer Hebrides and graduated from the Glasgow School of Art.  He now lives and works in Glasgow and his latest exhibition, Elvis Nipple Plinth, is a solo exhibition at the Kendall Koppe Gallery.
We visited on Saturday and really liked the work, which yet again I’d discovered on social media (Twitter to be precise).  It’s not a very big exhibition, the Gallery space is only small, but you spend a lot of time trying to work out the links between each of the objects.  Apart from one piece, which sits on the far wall, there are two objects on each plinth, all created in white, and one object sits on top of the plinth and one on the front of the plinth.  E-Book Skull Plinth has a very small skull sitting on the plinth and an e-book reader on one side of the column.  We couldn’t decide if the skull represented the death of the book and the rise of the digital format, or if it was the artist’s thoughts about the impact of digital books.  By placing the objects out of context the artist manages to change their meaning and Niall is particularly interested in the concept of ‘must have’ objects, in particular technology.
The Elvis Nipple Plinth, the title of the show, has a bust of Elvis on the top with a teat, or nipple, attached to the plinth.  Make of these juxtapositions what you will but you will have fun doing it and come up with some interesting ideas.  The artist himself describes his Exhibition as more Space Odyssey than Elgin Marbles and the stark whiteness of the objects, plinth and gallery appear influenced by the Kubrick film which conicidentally was shown on BBC2 this weekend.
The Kendall Koppe Gallery is at 6 Dixon Street, just off St Enoch Square, so it’s very central and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11.00am to 5.00pm.  Press the buzzer for the Gallery to gain entry and it’s on the first floor. You won’t be disappointed…

Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Here’s my write-up of an afternoon spent at the GI Festival in Glasgow – a celebration of visual and contemporary art in the City.  We started off at the Gi Hub on Miller Street to see Rosalind Nashashibi’s film of Scottish Ballet rehearsals.  It’s a lovely piece that lets you eavesdrop on the locals who are in to see rehearsals, including an older lady who comments on how young and supple the dancers are!  It also lets you hear how arduous the dancers find the rehearsals, there’s a lot of heavy breathing, and it finishes with two policemen whose blank expression makes it hard to work out exactly what they think of the dancers.

We then headed off to Trongate 103.  In the Glasgow Print Studio we saw Adrian Wiszniewski’s work which consisted of large canvases.  As part of the group known as the New Glasgow Boys he helped bring Glasgow to the attention of the national and international art world and I remember seeing his work in the Gallery of Modern Art when it first opened.  We particularly liked the very small coloured sketches made on gesso – they were delicate and beautiful.  If only we had the money to purchase ….

Also in Trongate 103 we visited Street Level Photoworks where we saw Marjolaine Ryley’s photographic project.  This is a really interesting exhibition and the photography is supplemented by beautifully written thoughts on her early life.  As a child she lived in a commune in the South of France and a squat in London and all of this is covered in this exhibition.

Image from the BBC website

Sacrilege at GiFestival

We then headed off to Glasgow Green which looked fantastic on this sunny day in Glasgow.   There were groups of young people playing cricket and football and a large crowd for Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege.  This is an interactive artwork which is an inflatable made to resemble Stonehenge.  Deller is a previous Turner Prize winner who has exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow and this work will head off to London for the 2012 Games later in the year.  It was packed full of school children (and many adults too!) bouncing around and having a lot of fun.  We decided just to take photographs … it all looked too energetic for us and just a little bit too crowded!!  This public artwork definitely puts a smile on your face.

We walked from Glasgow Green down to The Briggait where we saw One Person’s Materialism is Another Person’s Romanticism.  This is a fantastic space and the 1873 Hall renovation is impressive.  We sat on a very low red plastic sofa to view the video piece Venice by Anthea Hamilton.  You must see the Yogic John Travolta – inspired!  Do not sit on the red sofa if you are over 30 though … I had immense trouble getting off the thing … I had to slide onto the floor and then use my knees to stand up.  Not very graceful.  I also liked Anthea Hamilton’s costume, which greets you as you enter, called Pasta and Noodles – very 1980s!

From The Briggait we walked along to the Gallery of Modern Art to see Karla Black’s sculpture made entirely of sawdust.  It’s a fantastic piece, very impressive, with cellophane sculptures hanging across.  It fills the entire hall of Gallery 1 and looks good enough to eat – we thought it looked like a large Tiramasau.

Finally we headed down to Dixon Street.  First we called in at the Mary Mary Gallery to see Lorna Macintyre’s Midnight Scenes and Other Works which have a very distinct diamond motif throughout and are very thoughtful pieces.  We finished at the Kendall Koppe Gallery and Emory Douglas’s work with the Black Panthers.  Douglas is an American artist and activist who provided many of the images which those of us who lived in the 60s and 70s will remember.  The messges are very strong but I really liked the mix of the political with the art and this exhibition in particular has stayed with me.

If you are new to contemporary art I would recommend Emory Douglas at the Kendall Koppe Gallery, Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege in Glasgow Green and Adrian Wiszniewski at the Glasgow Print Studio to start you off.  They are all great in their own way and offer a window into the contemporary art world.

For more information on the GI Festival go to www.glasgowinternational.org

Enjoy!

French Drawings – Poussin to Seurat – Edinburgh

Monday, April 18th, 2011

We at Intermezzo have decided to introduce an occasional blog which will cover exhibitions and assorted arts matters presented with integrity and independence, was well as clarity, insight and good English.  We will send our own incognito and opinionated man, who will report without too much pretension, and who will be pleased to receive your comments.

My first foray into the Exhibition world for the readers of the Intermezzo blog ….

French Drawings – Poussin to Seraut

National Gallery Complex Edinburgh (admission free- showing until 1 May 2011)

In three rooms on the Upper Level South of the Gallery, this consists of a selection of the hundreds of French drawings the gallery has assembled to complement its French paintings.  As well as the headliners, artists include Boucher, Ingres and Corot.   Despite the large number of visitors and the occasional tutorial in front of the works, this is a fine intimate show. 

If you haven’t seen it before, Etiennne Jeraut’s Family in an Interior is well worth the effort of negotiating the still ongoing tram works on Princes Street.

Sometimes drawings relate to paintings in the collection.  For example, Pissarro is represented with a charcoal work entitled “Figures at the Banks of the Marne near Chennevieres”   If you then stand back from this you can see into another room, where directly opposite you, is his large painting “The Marne at Chennevieres”.   A finished drawing and a preparatory sketch.

Seraut’s work is wholly self evident – always something to do with bathing!  Poussin’s life cycle “A Dance to the Music of Time” is a pen, ink and wash on paper – so good you can buy the postcard…

There is a mixture of finished drawings and sketches, so you might not be moved by much but my goodness you will, dear reader, marvel at the artistic skill on display and revel in the wonderful draughtsmanship.  Enjoy.

For more information on this Exhibition click here

Pissarro’s Chimney – April 2011