Walking Group - Week 2: Platform

Last Wednesday, January the 24th, the walking group headed out to Platform to visit a very interesting exhibition by Helen de Main and the women of the Platform knitting group.

Inspired by the Conscious Raising groups of the 1960's the show uses photos and text based on themes explored through conversation with the group. Childhood, motherhood and expected female roles were a main topic of discussion and the women shared old photographs of themselves in childhood or with their families.

The exhibition is split into two sections; You Know, Things Like That takes the photographs and blows them up covering them in pastel print of knitting patterns reflecting the group's purpose to meet and knit.

Inbetween the photos are exherts of text from conversations that took place, they reflect the topics explored and are all in pale tone to match the photos.

What's Expected follows one woman's childhood and uses photos printed into glass that project onto the wall behind. The woman in question happens to be Project Ability artist, Foxy, and it was a pleasure to see her work from outside of our studios.

Helen de Main works at Project Ability one day a week on developing enterprise projects such as the recent, very successful pop-up shops.
-Morag MacGilchrist

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Cameron Morgan and Charlie Hammond’s residency draws to a close.

For the past few months, Cameron Morgan and Glasgow-based artist Charlie Hammond have been meeting every week for their collaborative residency. The pair got to know each other's work and to create a series of prints inspired by Charlie's matchbox collection.

"I liked working with Charlie very, very much – he has a good sense of humour, is a lot of fun, and has a really good nature. I really enjoyed myself’ said Morgan.

The residency, which ended last week, resulted in an impressive body of work.

"Working together with Cameron has been a joy", Hammond said. "Like many good collaborations we started with no clear direction but found our way through action, the work itself the result of these ongoing and very natural conversations.

Cameron’s energy is infectious (though a few more tea breaks wouldn’t hurt!) and his ability to translate the essence of an object into a direct and playful drawing or ceramic allowed us to progress quickly, screen-printing layer upon layer and developing the works far beyond our initial thoughts.

Not only have we ended up with a great body of work but also a great friendship."

Cameron and Charlie's work will be on display in our gallery in a short exhibition in early April. 

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Drew Walker: Always Expect the Unexpected

"My name is Drew Walker and here is a summary of my experience in Project Ability in January 2018.

My week-long short residency at Project Ability revealed to me a place where there was great respect and a dignified approach towards people working as artists with backgrounds of mental illness, learning difficulties or physical disabilities. However, these do not hinder or impact upon the creatively enriching experience, which exists within the shared working space of Project Ability, where the immense variety of talent and creative process surrounding me was amazing to witness.

I contributed to my short residency as an artist who experiences mental illness and a PhD researcher who is looking into art-process, mental illness and recovery. So, I divided my time to do the following:
1. To observe the working processes of the artists working in the Reconnect, Aspire and Create spaces and their engagement and interactions with staff and volunteers.
2. To understand what provision and structure was deployed in the delivery of activities.
3. To bring my own art practice into the Reconnect space, using a collaborative method of creativity.

I began my experience by observing, photographing and talking to staff, volunteers and artists. I had decided to create one of my ‘dead-wooded’ creatures, a staple symbol of my art practice and an integral part my process. The ‘dead-wooded’ stag represents my own recovery process from mental illness. As my art practice parallels and enriches my research, I wanted to share both aspects during my week. My goal was to create a portrait of Project Ability using the language of those in the Reconnect, Create and Aspire spaces.

Conversations occurred naturally whilst I was working and I decided to use some of those words and phrases, placing them on the sculpture of the stag. I wanted to reflect the artists’ thoughts as people, at the core of it all. The stag was painted white and the lettering in a variety of colours.

A few days into my residency, my dad who is my artistic collaborator and who accompanied me at Project Ability, spoke to me about the idea of accompanying the wooded stag with found material from Glasgow. Seizing upon this notion, we found two disused damaged yellow traffic cones in the nearby vicinity of the Glasgow Green. We painted them and transformed them into sculptural pieces to enhance and draw attention to the stag.

Making my art was only one part of the story during my residency, but it did provide the nexus for many insightful conversations and interactions with those who were curious about the stag. I immediately found a connection with the other artists and the staff in the space, feeling very welcome. I was greatly impressed by the sheer variety, resources and freedom found within Project Ability through the engaging activities of Aspire, Reconnect and Create. I understood that the space is a lifeline for some and a platform for every participant, by being together whilst creating art. I found the approach of valuing artists’ work, providing opportunities for exhibiting and potentially selling pieces to be crucial to the humane attitude in Project Ability. Here, the people are acknowledged as artists. They are not labels or categories of people with various diagnoses. The respect I noticed in the atmosphere showed that clearly.

I sincerely hope that in the future more places like Project Ability emerge, providing spaces for the therapeutic process of making art, whilst not being isolated or in a clinical setting. It’s a safe, friendly environment that puts the individual first. There should be a ‘Project Ability’ in every city and town. I know that had there been similar provision for me during my early stages of recovery. I would have greatly appreciated and benefited being in such a place.

Thank you to everybody in Project Ability for making my short residency so rich and inspiring. I would love to come back."

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Shop Item of the Week - ‘can’t take my eyes off you’ greeting card!

Shop Item of the Week time! This week we bring you this super sweet greeting card designed with Michael McMullen's 'Indian Puppet Dolls' from the exhibition 'can't take my eyes off you'. This quirky card is a great way to say hello and let someone know you're thinking of them. And it could be perfect for Valentine's Day! This little piece of merchandise has been made especially for our dolls exhibition, and there are only 20 left. You can purchase one from our online shop or in our gallery shop at Trongate 103. Come by and check out the show, you can see Michael McMullen's Indian Puppet Dolls and so many more!

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Doll’ by Sandra Ormiston

Artwork of the Week features our Doll of the Day - 'Doll' by Sandra Ormiston. We love this doll and her 80's glamour! If you haven't been to visit our latest show, 'can't take my eyes off you', there's still plenty of time. We've got 60 artists on show, a mix of artists working in support studios and emerging and established artists working independantly. You can read more about the show here. If you'd like to see more of Sandra Ormiston's artworks, please follow this link. 'Can't take my eyes off you' is up in the Project Ability gallery at Trongate 103 until February 24th!

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Project Ability part of nationwide art project celebrating the centenary of the women’s vote

We are delighted to announce our support for PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave the first British women the right to vote. 

PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm, as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.

PROCESSIONS will invite women and girls across the UK to come together on the streets of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London on Sunday 10 June 2018 to mark this historic moment in a living, moving portrait of women in the 21st century.

Project Ability is one of 100 organisations working with women artists up and down the country in the lead-up to the event, as part of an extensive public programme of creative workshops to create 100 centenary banners which will form part of this vast artwork.

The banner-making workshops will focus on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign and will be spaces to consider the power of the vote today and our shared future. The banners made will represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds.

A group of women from our ReConnect and Aspire programmes will work with tutor Sandi Kiehlmann over the coming months. 

Helen Marriage, CEO Artichoke said:
“The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including XXX, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork. What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday 10th of June will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”

PROCESSIONS is commissioned by 14-18 NOW and produced by Artichoke. With support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

(Image taken from http://www.processions.co.uk)

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Ladysbridge Stories - January workshops

Thanks to the enthusiastic response of participants and their willingness to share their stories, we had yet another great session in Aberdeen. There were some new faces amongst the group which was great! 

In the morning session we discussed the idea of creating a map that references the history of the site, the wards and individual memories attached to them. We already had prepared an outline of the map which we put up on the wall to discuss how we can populate it. One thing we were quite keen on working together was the map key. Using certain locations like the farm, gardens, patients training area, we asked the participants to help us create a visual representations for these locations. Charles made a fantastic collage for the patients training area. Others have made great drawings of animals that were found within the grounds.

After lunch we worked a little bit more on the map’s key drawing, and dwelled more into people’s memories, making lists of things people would like to add onto the map. In the afternoon we also had a visit from Alastair Minty who had worked in ladysbridge hospital in the late 80's. Most of the participants knew Alastair very well and were very keen to talk to him. Davie has prepared questions for him and we did a great round table interview / discussion with Alastair. This has been a fantastic opportunity for the ex patients to share their side of the story and ask questions. Also a great opportunity to find out more about the work Alastair has been doing over the years and how his time at ladysbridge hospital affected his career.

The next workshops will be on Thursday 15th February in C-Change Aberdeen. 

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Shop Item of the Week - Rock n’ Roll cushion by Tommy Kemp

Shop Item of the Week features this Rock n' Roll style cushion designed by Tommy Kemp. Made from crushed velvet fabric, this cushion measures 42cm x 30cm and can be purchased from our online shop or gallery shop for £25! It's a one-off so no chance of spotting the same design on anyone else's sofa. We've got a variety of cushions in our Trongate 103 gallery shop at the moment, all made from drawings and paintings by Project Ability artists. Support us and the artists that work here by popping into the gallery & shop or having a look at our online shop!

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Artwork of the Week - Matryoshka Doll by Margaret McInnes

We're very excited to announce our Artwork of the Week, ahead of the opening of 'can't take my eyes off you' this coming Saturday! Margaret McInnes has painted this lovely Matroyshka doll for the show. Using a colour palette all her own, McInnes has exquisitely drafted this composition and included every last detail of these charming dolls. We've got a plethora of Russian Dolls adorning the Project Ability gallery, along with a huge variety of all sorts of other dolls. It really is a must see show, with over 55 artists involved. Margaret McInnes' painting is the perfect way to get this show started! This coming Saturday, from 1-3pm we welcome artists and the public along to our Trongate 103 gallery. 

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Media Co-op releases a documentary about the Project Ability writing group

Last year, the Project Ability writing group worked with artist Joanna Peace and poet Anthony Autumn to produce a podcast, which was then broadcast during the Radiophrenia festival. During the making of the podcast, Media Co-op filmed the process and made a four minute documentary about it. In it, people who’ve never made sound art before, never been on the radio before, and never made films before, reveal their own creativeprocess – with courage, frankness and humour.

Jane, a Project Ability participant said “I hate it when things are patronising; but the thing about Project Ability is, you are not there as a person who has mental health problems, with a
label over you. You are there as an artist. For me what this whole thing has been about is my work is recognised as valid. It’s not an experience I’ve often had."

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Walking Group - Week 1: GoMA

Our walking group kicked off 2018 with a visit to Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art to see the current exhibitions there. There was a rich variety of works to see in every part of the building with a wide range of themes, styles and mediums on display.

Two solo and two group exhibitions are in the four main galleries along with permanent displays that document the history of the building from the residence of a wealthy merchant to the municipal gallery it is today in the balcony spaces. It was a lot to take in.

One of the exhibitions, Taste, which can be found in gallery 2, is composed of works from the Glasgow Museum's collection and includes pieces by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fischli/Weiss, Andy Goldsworthy, David Hockney, Eduardo Paolozzi, David Shrigley, Stanley Spencer and Andy Warhol. This will be an ongoing exhibition that will will periodically change with rotations taking placing over the coming years. A highlight for our group was the short film The Way Things Go by Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. You can watch a short excerpt here.

Other exhibitions on the day were: solo exhibitions by Aaron Angell and Stephen Sutcliffe and Polygraphs: Truth, evidence and the authentic voice, a group exhibition that explores our connections to the arms trade, slave trade and feminism and includes works by Barbara Kruger, kennardphillips, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hito Steyerland, Alasdair Gray and ex-Project Ability tutor Beth Forde.

More information on all these exhibitions and more can be found here.

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We need you!

Action Space artist Nnena Kalu will be in residence at Project Ability in April and will make a large installation in our gallery for Glasgow International.

We are looking for large quantities of the following materials:

-old VHS videos
-offcuts of carpet or fabric
-plastic wrap, bubble wrap
-coloured tape

If you have any of these lying about that you are not using, we will happily take it off your hands! Just get in touch info@project-ability.co.uk or drop them at:
Project ability, 3rd floor, Trongate 103, Glasgow G1 5HD. 

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Shop Item of the Week - 2018 Superheroes Calendars!

Shop Item of the Week; our last few Superheroes calendars! If you haven't picked up one up yet there is still time. We only have ten of these left, and then they are gone forever. The superhero artworks inside all come from our Superhero exhibition from 2016. You can check out some images from the exhibition here. Below are a few images from the calendar itself. You can come by our gallery shop for a look or buy one now from our online shop! Ten pounds!


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Artwork of the week - ‘Sunbathing in Largs’ by Doreen Kay

Artwork of the week is 'Sunbathing in Largs' by Doreen Kay. This painting is another one that is currently on show in Mono as part of the Project Ability @ Mono exhibition. This painting was created in our Aspire workshops in 2017, and we all fell in love with it. Doreen Kay has a varied practice of painting, drawing and textile work. Often she paints herself on holiday, as is the case with this painting. The figures in the work are dramatically posed, making a striking composition. We love this painting and although it is still January, it brings hope of warmer weather and sunshine!

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Shop Item of the Week - ‘Scottish Harbour Scene’ by David Bradley

Shop Item of the Week brings in 2018 with this lovely Scottish landscape by David Bradley. This vibrant painting measures 24 x 37.5 and is for sale both in our gallery shop and our online shop for £40.Our gallery shop is closed until January 20th, but our online shop is always open!

Bradley has been working at Project Ability for several years and has developed a great style for painting the human figure alongside the Scottish landscape. The simplicity of forms and vibrant fresh colours are signatures of Bradley's style. Although he removes all complexities from his compositions he captures the movements of people very delicately and usually adds a bit of playful distortion to his perspective. Together these stylistic traits have made his landscape paintings quite popular in our shop. This is a one of a kind so if you're interested you can find it in our online  shop or contact us if you want to see it in person first.

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Artwork of the week - Swimming Pool by Scott Smith

Our first Artwork of the Week in 2018 is this stunning drawing by Smith Scott. This simple portrayal of a large swimming pool is currently on exhibtion in Mono at King's Court in Glasgow. Just around the corner from us! We are currently showing work by nine artists working with us. Mono has been a great supported of Project Ability and the artists who work with us, and we are always excited to show work with them. If you haven't seen the show yet there's still time. The work will be on exhibit until January 14th. You can read a bit more about the show here.  And if you'd like to see more of Scott Smith's artwork you can check out his artist's page here.

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