Monday, 14 December 2009

NAD + BAX & FRIENDS SHOP




I have some books for sale at The NAD + BAX & FRIENDS SHOP based at Trongate 103.

The shop is gong to be open for one more week until Sunday 20 December, so get on down there and do some shopping!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Friday, 21 August 2009

Drawn Together Exhibition at The Pentagon Gallery

DRAWN TOGETHER

Drawn Together

Work by Glasgow School of Art 2009 Graduates
at The Pentagon Gallery, 36 Washington Street, Glasgow

22nd Aug - 24th Sept

Curated by Helen Shaddock

Opening Saturday 22nd 4pm-7pm all welcome.


The show features a variety of different kinds of work drawn together by Helen and includes:
Alex Bowie, Alison Whitehill, Amy Joslin, Anjali Lockett, Brian Dickson, Caleb Churchill, Desmond Church, Georgina Errington, Harriet Lowther, Jenny Taylor, Julia Heslop, Julia McKinlay, Kate Brown, Kate Turbett, Katherine Gallacher, Laura Moss, Lily Johnson, Louise Lockhart, Mairi Upton, Natalie Feather, Nora Reid, Olivia Bliss, Rachel Wright, Ralph MacKenzie, Sarah Campbell, Sarah Whitehouse, Sarah Wright, Sophie Manhire, Travis Souza, Weaam Sperinck.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Conspicuous Consumption text by Jac Mantle

Conspicuous Consumption text by Jac Mantle

Conspicuous Consumption
Deirdre McPhillips, Helen Shaddock, Liz West.
Director: Stephanie Spindler.
Curator: Lucy Turner

Montgomery’s Café
24 July – 30 August 2009

By Jac Mantle

The first show to bring video work to Montgomery’s Café assembles three artists loosely united by their explorations into our relationships to food: our consumption and control, regulation and saturation of it, as seen from both personal and societal perspectives.

Helen Shaddock’s video Cluster (2008, 101 mins) shows an overhead view of a clean, white dinner plate onto which numbers are being marked in black pen, overlapping to fill in all the gaps until the plate turns black. This meticulous, clinical process, in which food is reduced to its calorific value, sees consumption rendered uncomfortably conspicuous in the mind of the consumer, as visible to all as the figures in black and white. The plate is a canvas from which colours, textures and sensuality (qualities usually so tangible in Shaddock’s work) are noticeably absent, especially alongside the saturation of colour in Liz West’s work, as though the subject matter is simply a framework in which to act out abstract concepts of anaesthesia and control.

Contemplation of previous, more visually sensuous of Shaddock’s works gives rise to the same suggestion, however. In animations of hand-drawn coloured lines or videos of shifting piles of striped garments, the aesthetic form derives from an extensive manual process that Shaddock develops, of some kind of mark-making or ordering, dictated in part by a random variable. The composition of a pile of striped jumpers inevitably results from the way they are ordered and piled, but the viewer is led to consider whether there is a hierarchy between the aesthetics and the subject matter - also the process - of the work: are the aesthetics the incidental results of routine actions, or are the processes merely vehicles for creating patterns and imagery?

Similarly, there are two distinct strands to Liz West’s Blue Trolley (2007, 30 mins). One video of a series, the camera records a side-view of the shopping trolley as it is wheeled around the aisles and filled with products of the relevant colour – in this case, blue. The screen fills up with colour as the goods accumulate in real-time, until it is saturated. The absence of ambient sound as well as blacking out the backdrop removes the image slightly from its context of the supermarket, but this is not enough to reduce it to a new take on formalism – eyes half-shut in an attempt to see only a block of colour, the diagonal slant of the trolley bars seems (ascetically) to detract from its purity. Perhaps this is the point. The work is simultaneously about visual and carnal consumption, the needs of the mind and the distractions of the body. Located in a shopping trolley, the canvas inevitably references consumerism, our capitalist society and disposable culture without really having to work at it at all.

Ultimately, it seems to come down to whether the individual viewer is able to perceive the products as a singular mass, a block of colour, or not. And if not, is it because it is asking too much of the audience’s imagination to see an image that isn’t really there, or is our inability to see the objects as forms combining to make a whole due to the fact that we see not objects but only products for our consumption, and strain to locate our aesthetic sensibility, blunted by the cruder and more overt visual stimulants with which we are confronted daily? John Lennon’s sage appeal comes floating back like a wagging finger, “Imagine no possessions; I wonder if you can.”

Deirdre McPhillips’s video examines food in a capacity closer to home (literally) – its psychophysical properties of comforting and making and evoking memories. Flour families/dough play (2008, 10 mins) uses a key ingredient in baking and memory-making to explore food’s associations with childhood; both the reality of our own personal childhoods and the powerful, pervasive myth of the “idyllic” one that appears in children’s storybooks and games of dominoes and is what our society promotes as the norm. In the first of four scenarios, a father doll and mother doll stand in front of a plastic doll’s house. Flour falls on them in bursts until they are covered, then lumps of the heap collapse, like an avalanche. Later, a pair of disembodied hands assists the same dolls in beating each other up by proxy, to the hollow sound of chinking plastic. After a period, the punches turn to hugs and the hands bury them in flour again.

These puzzling events are enacted, we assume, as they might be seen through the eyes of a child. They are as simplified and simplistic as the robust, washable, pink injection-moulded plastic doll’s house will allow and as flexible to interpretation as the requisite mother, father and two-point-four children of the nuclear family who live there, but a child will “play at house” and act out alternative possibilities. In another scenario, the organic, breathing reality of the dough contrasts with the plastic of the house. The dough can grow and shrink to fit, and does; the hands shape and stretch and re-shape it, but it is outside her control and peels off the house. It is real, whereas the house is fake. There is little she can do with the house; it is solid and non-malleable in her hands, whilst the dough is more present, more manageable and shows the house to be simply a toy.

Cluster (series 1)









Installation of Conspicous Consumption




Sunday, 5 July 2009

Pentagon Galleries Graduate Exhibition

I have been asked to curate an exhibition of work by recent graduates of Glasgow School of Art. The exhibition will take place at the Pentagon Gallery, Washington Street (just off Argyle Street near Anderston Station). It will be open to the public from 17 August – 24 September 2009, and there will be a preview night (date to be confirmed), which you are more than welcome to attend.

This opportunity came about because last year I was selected to exhibit some work in the annual graduate exhibition. Having installed my own work, I later assisted in the hanging of other exhibitions. I also participated in another exhibition initiated by Mark, the curator. Mark was aware that I have experience of organising art related events, and am keen to establish myself as a professional artist and art organiser, and so invited me to curate the forthcoming graduate exhibition.

This is the first exhibition that I have single-handedly curated, and I have enjoyed the process so far and am looking forward to seeing the end result. In order to make an informed decision about which artists to select, I visited the Degree Show four times (and came across Lorraine and Elaine also!). In the past, the chosen artists have all been from a Fine Art background, but I have changed this by including illustrators and practitioners from a Design background.

My intention is that the exhibition will blur the boundaries of Art and Design and forge links between the two fields. There is an emphasis on the process of drawing, a fundamental activity for both artists and designers.

Some artists are going to be showing new work and others showing work exhibited at degree show. Given the large number of artists involved and the uncertainty of what they will exhibit, there will be a lot of juggling works around in the space during the day of installation. This is daunting, but very exciting.

Hinterland









Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A WEE TASTY - Experiment

I had some work included in A WEE TASTY Experiment last Thursday at Stereo.

Check it out - http://nownowprojects.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/a-wee-tasty-09/

and keep your eyes peeled for other events coming soon...

Monday, 23 February 2009

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Sunday, 8 February 2009

New Contemporaries, The RSA, Edinburgh, 14th - 25th Feb 2009

To see the work for yourself head to the New Contemporaries Exhibition at the RSA, The Mound, Edinburgh

The exhibition is open 14th February - 25th February 2009

RSA in Edinbugh

So, on a snowy morning I arrived at the RSA to drop off my work.

A couple of days later I went back to find out where my space in the gallery is and to install the work.

Space before...


elements