Project Ability are launching an exciting new visual arts opportunity for young adults aged 18-25 who are experiencing poor mental health.
Our professional arts team will support anyone interested in engaging in the visual arts through an eight week programme of structured visual arts workshops and activities and provide access to a professional studio environment. Each group will meet for two hours a week and there will be the opportunity to engage with other artists attending our Reconnect programme to share thoughts, ideas and advice on the role visual arts can play in mental health recovery and emotional health and well-being.
Four groups will take part in the weekly programme and we are now recruiting groups for the first block of workshops starting in January 2014 and for subsequent blocks.
Please contact email@example.com for further information.
The last walk for 2013 was to the Southern Necropolis in the Gorbals. The group walked through some of the New Gorbals housing and chatted about how much the area had changed over the years.
No-one in the group had been to the Southern Necropolis before so some of what we found there was quite surprising.
One of the group, Morag had this to say: 'I found the cemetery really interesting, specifically the grave that had the statue that people had left money at. I'm quite curious to find out more about what that is about and maybe go back over there once I know what it is'.
We found some information about this grave on the Southern Necropolis website but unfortunately no explanation as to why people leave money on the tomb.
When asked how she feels about the walking group in general Morag said, 'I think it's a really good group. I enjoy the fact that I'm getting out and seeing parts of the city that I've never seen before. I'm getting some good exercise and I'm meeting people that I maybe wouldn't have otherwise met because they come into Project Ability on different days of the week. So it's got an overall aspect of health, socialising and exploring the city'.
The next walking group outing will be on Wednesday 8th January 2014. If you would like to join the group, let us know.
For more photos, please check our Facebook Page.
The exhibition will open for the Pastels who will be playing a set of songs from their new album Slow Summits. There will be a Christmas Pound Appeal donation box on the night, to help us reach our £1,500 target!
Enjoy the music and the art, and don't forget to donate!
Thanks to Alison, Stephen, Mono and the Pastels for their time and generosity!
Opening: Saturday 07 December, 7pm
08 December - 06 January
MONO, 12 King's Court, Glasgow
We were overwhelmed by the wonderful feedback we've received during the opening of Pet Portraits! Thanks to everybody who came to see the show, and to our four legged friends Lola, Minnie and Parker, who graciously posed in front of some of their portraits!
The show runs until Friday 20 December, and we will have a late opening tomorrow night, Thurdsay 05 December, 6pm-8pm.
Make sure you pop by, it's a show you don't want to miss!
After last week's walk when we passed by the Templeton Business Centre, we decided to visit the Glasgow School of Art to see the Interwoven Connections exhibition which features designs that were made in the building when it was a carpet factory.
From there we went to visit the McLellan Galleries which has recently reopened and is currently showing the RGI's annual open exhibition. We spent some time there looking at the work and each of us chose a piece that we liked to show to the rest of the group.
Once again we were lucky with the weather and Glasgow was bathed in wonderful sunlight. Perfect weather for photographs.
Cameron Morgan's work has been selected for Big-i - the third successive international exhibition by artists with learning disabilities selected from an open call for entries in September 2013.
Cameron's work 'Coconut Palms' will be exhibited in Resonating Resonance in various venues throughout Japan, starting in Bankstown International Exchange, Osaka, 23 November - 10 December 2013.
Edward Henry shows there is a colour and mood for every season in his suite of little paintings inspired by the months of the year. Edward’s paintings are certainly dramatic with his yellows, reds and oranges being particularly livid. His use of drawn lines makes you picture the artist drawing in premeditated movements with the application of paint suggesting a slower and more fluid process also at play.
These small paintings invite careful looking, and the slightest and most concealed marks count the most, collectively alluding to natural, ancient and divine situations.
These paintings have been made into a 2014 calendar, available to buy now in our shop!
Project Ability artist Cameron Morgan is planning a mural encompassing a timeline of Scottish culture and architecture for the Generation festival, as our celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland.
Cameron, who will start work in the gallery in June 2014, is currently researching imagery and taking photos with artist Jason Davies, from bold Scottish landscapes and castles to industrial revolution architecture, all the way to the ultra modern Hydro.
This promises to be a phenomenal work of art!
On the 13th November 2013, we were invited to Bergen, Norway to speak at a conference on delivering arts and culture for people with learning disabilities. Over 100 people with learning disabilities, artists and professionals working in education and social care attended the conference which was organised by the Bergen Kommune.
On the 12th November we were the guest of the Adviser of the Art, Culture and Mental Health Department of the Bergenhus og Årstad kulturkontor Cultural Office. In 2012, the city had launched an Art, Culture and Mental Health plan and during the day we visited a number of arts and social care projects across the city who were delivering the plan's strategy. We shared our practice, working across mental health and learning disabilities sectors and also met our friends at Gallery Vox. In February 2013 a number of artists from Project Ability contributed to their international touring postcard exhibition.
Thank you to everybody who made it to Simon McAuley's opening of Light Space, and to his artist talk.
Many thanks to Simon for a very interesting talk (available to view online soon) and a wonderful show!
The show runs until Saturday 23 November, 5pm.
This week, we would like to introduce you to our wonderful volunteer Kevin Morris, who has been working with our Aspire group.
‘Working at Project Ability has been both a rewarding and positive experience, being able to meet and work with a range of talented groups, artists and staff has been truly inspiring. Having had previous experience of teaching and working with groups of various abilities, Project Ability has been a perfect opportunity to build on, develop and learn new skills in a creative and comfortable environment that everyone is part of and contributes to. I feel privileged and very grateful to be a part of this and look forward to spending more time with everyone involved.
Since graduating from The Glasgow School of Art in 2010 I have been predominantly working in ceramics, pursuing my own practice as well as working with others. I try to approach my work in an experimental way reacting to material and process as well as the landscape I find myself in. I am open to embracing new techniques in my work and value opportunities to pass on these skills as well as learn and work with other people.’
Thank you Kevin!
Project Ability attended the Generation launch on Thursday 7 November at Tramway with Cameron Morgan.
Cameron has been attending Project Ability since 1991 and he will create an expansive mural in the gallery as our celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland. Cameron is planning a mural encompassing a timeline Scottish culture and architecture from the early 20th century to present day; from the humbler days of the trams, through to the ever-sprawling riverside regeneration including the ultramodern Hydro.
100 artists will exhibit their work in various venues across the country everywhere from Orkney to Dumfries as part of a major celebration of contemporary art in Scotland and this number is continuing to grow.
Generation will run from March to November 2014 alongside Glasgow’s 2014 cultural programme celebrating Scotland as host of the Commonwealth Games. Generation will be delivered through a partnership between the National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland.
31st of October was the ideal day for a group of ReConnect artists to visit Edinburgh to see 'Witches and Wicked Bodies' at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
This exhibition of artworks, spanning more than 500 years, by artists from Albrecht Dürer to Cindy Sherman by way of Goya, Blake and many others gave a fascinating insight into the depiction of witches and the beliefs and superstitions surrounding ideas of them.
New 'Meet the Volunteers'! This week, let us introduce you to the delightful Kirstie Forbes, who has been helping out in our Saturday Visual Arts Classes.
‘Saturday is always the highlight of my week. To spend an afternoon a week in such a positive environment which has such a strong creative energy is so refreshing and uplifting. Hearing everyone's weekly stories and how they choose to express this through different mediums is really exciting to me and we all have so much fun in the process.
I have just graduated from GSA's Fine Art Photography department in which I was predominantly a film maker, My work centres around positivity and how we view things, my way of thinking seems very at home at Project Ability, which simply put, is Great!’
Thank you Kirstie!
Our last artist in residence this year is recent graduate Linda Mahoney. Here she tells us about her work and her experience at project Ability
You have been here for nearly a month, can you tell us more about what you have been up to?
First of all, before starting, I did quite a lot of work researching into the ideas that I had initially proposed (Linda proposed to explore existential philosophical ideas about the construction of ‘self’, and the prescriptive contemporary meanings of ‘self’ and from this research to explore ways in which people can deconstruct prejudiced attitudes.) Of course, when you look into existentialism, it is absolutely enormous, so I focused on Jean-Paul Sartre: he was looking at the self as an authentic being, and that we should endeavour to be authentic in ourselves and to others. It’s quite a humanist take on things, which I like. From that point, I started looking at the wider context of the self, in terms of the social and psychological things going on in the world. Those issues have always been part of my practice, looking at prejudice and how we are socially constructed. I started to look at some imagery, and tried not to get too caught up in my research but to actually start making work. Prejudiced attitudes to me are socially constructed mainly through the transmission of ideas from society, parents, culture and the mass media.
Research can take over sometimes, especially with such a vast subject.
Yes, research has always been one of my strengths, but I sometimes get caught up in it for too long, so it takes up too much time. So this time I knew I had the ideas, the imagery, so with some research done, I just got on with it and made work. I looked at the connections between the self and the outer world, which I see as quite broken: how we are breaking the planet with global warming for instance. I looked at this as a reflection of how we as a species and culture are also a bit broken. I looked at imagery of breaking, fragmenting, and cracking, that was my starting point.
From that, looking at your drawings and prints, some abstract shapes are emerging.
Yes, I wanted to loosen up with these drawings. I started looking at the San Andreas Fault line, this big crack in the earth. Although it’s a natural phenomenon, I really liked the imagery, it really inspired me, so I transferred this fragmentary shape into my drawings and prints. I really wanted to use drawing as part of my working process in order to see where it could take me.
It seems that you started with the self, but you then went a lot more outward looking, though still self-reflective.
Yes, still looking at the idea of self, while reflecting on the wider picture. For instance, I have been looking at breaking, cracking and fragmenting as a metaphor for the self and the world being broken. Looking at images of the broken planet as a metaphor for how the human condition is a bit broken. There is a broken building outside, being smashed down, and I find it fascinating, as it really connects with my theme. Seeing this building come down, you see deconstructed lives, rooms, and time. I couldn’t help myself and had to play with that imagery.
Have you been working with dry-point?
I began with some dry-point and then went on to use waterless lithography. It’s touch and go, and can be very frustrating, but I love it. I did an etching class at the Print Studios in parallel with the residency, and made some work there. It went hand in hand with the residency.
You graduated in June. How was it to go on to being in residence here?
It was really good, because when you come out, you ‘enter the abyss’. You’re in the real world… So to be invited to do this residency was fantastic, it gave me a goal. I was thrilled to do it.
Have you had much interactions with the artists here?
Yes, I got to know folk. I invited people to look at the work, and had very positive feedback. It’s been great, meeting people and getting an input from them. It’s also been great to see the work they are doing like the pet portraits.
What are your plans for the exhibition?
I shall be exhibiting some prints and some sculpture.
What are your plans after the residency?
I will continue to develop my working practice while developing my skills in printmaking, sculpture and other media. I’ll also be applying for residencies and opportunities for exhibiting my work and working with other people and groups. I am also interested in doing some workshops and teaching, and possibly some voluntary work. I am really into what I am doing at the moment, and where it’s going. I started off in quite a different place from where I have ended up. Focussing on ideas of the self and prejudiced attitudes, as well as existentialism was a great starting point for my work, quite different from the wider metaphor and this worldly theme, but for me it’s all connected, and I can really see it come together. I will definitely carry on with the themes of this work.
Linda's work will be exhibited in the project Ability gallery in January 2014, alongside the other artists in residence.
Project Ability artist Lea Cummings tells us more about the Outside In: Scotland project and his participation in it.
Outside In: Scotland runs until Saturday 09 November (open til 8pm on Thursday 07 November).
Our collaboration with Culture Label has evolved: we are now part of the Scottish Collection, which showcases works from 20 Scottish organisations.
"In an exclusive partnership with Creative Scotland, CultureLabel launches The Scottish Collection featuring a highly curated selection of original and limited edition contemporary artwork from 20 of Scotland's leading art galleries - all soon to be available to purchase using Own Art Online."
We have selected 10 artworks by Project Ability artists, including Lesley Nimmo, Cameron Morgan, Simon McAuley, and will upload new works regularly.
Click here to view our shop.
We discovered this, freshly painted in the workshops by Jim Douglas and had to share it as our Artwork of the Week!
Jim’s paintings are radically different and often feature people or animals in large abstractions. Made of swathes of vibrant colours, dense configurations of human and animal forms mingle in a flat relief and his signature vignettes of flowers, dots and stars which border his paintings create a delicate sense of light and balance.
It's Halloween, and this spooky image was created by the scarily talented Ruth Mutch! Have a look at some of her other art on her blog, Penguin Parade.
We wish you a frightfully spectacular Halloween!
Another Wednesday walk and another lucky break in the weather, so once again umbrellas were not required!
Last week's walkers visited what turned out to be a series of oasis of calm, starting off with the old cemetery to the rear of the Ramshorn Theatre at the top of Candleriggs. Next stop was Rottenrow Gardens to see the George Wylie sculpture commemorating the historic maternity hospital that stood there until it was demolished in 2002.
From there we crossed through some of the University of Strathclyde campus gardens and stopped to take some photographs of the Gerard Laing abstract steel sculpture which mimics the Callanish stones on the Isle of Lewis. Another George Wylie sculpture was passed along the way before we emerged and crossed over the High Street to the Cathedral.
After a short exploration of the grand interior we walked back down the High Street to Trongate 103 to upload our photos and make some plans for our next venture.
See more photos on our Facebook page.
For the ninth year a Project Ability artist has provided a remarkable handmade trophy for the Glasgow Inter School Poetry Slam. Take a look:
This year’s stunning award has been designed and made by Create artist Michael Earll from painted, laser cut perspex. Whoever receives such a prize is no doubt going to be very pleased with their truly unique trophy!
art in the gart is a collective of arts organisations committed to delivering quality arts activity in partnership with patients, staff and the general public at Gartnavel Royal Hospital.
In this inaugural exhibition, art in the gart is presenting work by Marina (Gartnavel Royal Hospital), Tate House Ward and Timbury House Ward (Gartnavel Royal Hospital), the Stewart Centre and Waterside Centre.
Curated by Project Ability, the gallery showcases artwork which has a relationship to mental health and health care environments, with exhibitions recurring throughout the year.
Opening: Tuesday 22 october, 1pm - 2pm
Gartnavel Royal Hospital
1055 Great Western Road
Glasgow G12 0XH
This week we are very pleased to bring you 'So,.......Fo?' by Welsh based video and performance artist, Gaynor Rees as our Artwork of the Week.
This work investigates disparity and some of the issues faced by people with both seen and unseen differences as well as exploring the history of the relationship between humans and owls.
The owl is one of the oldest species of vertebrate animal in existence, with found fossils dating back 60 million years, showing this elusive bird to have changed very little throughout history. Throughout mankind, the owl has featured significantly in mythology and folklore from harbingers of sickness and death, earthly incarnations of ancient gods, to protective spirits, to the well-known ‘wise old owl'. Gaynor's 'So,.......Fo?' captures some of the reverence and qualm felt about this magnificent creature.
Don't miss this and the other great works in our Celf o Gympas showcase in the foyer space of Trongate 103, Full Circle, continues until 3 November.
From the 3rd to the 6th October Project Ability joined twenty European studios, galleries and museums for the third 2x2 International Outsider Art Fair at Kunsthaus Kannen, Munster, Germany.
The 3rd annual 2x2 Art Fair was a forum for discussion and exchange, it provided the opportunity for sharing experience and giving insights into one another’s practice. There were studios and galleries from France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and Hungary with Project Ability representing the UK.
On the 4th, a series of papers covered a range of topics including Art and Outsider Art, Dr Thomas Roske, Japanese Art Brut creators, Sarah Lombardi, Symbols and Script in Outsider Art, Dr Gisela Steinlechner, Works from the Kunstaus Kannen, Dr Erich Franz.
The Art Fair was well supported by the local community and collectors across Germany, and gave visitors an insight into the wide spectrum of contemporary European art that originates in the social context of art studios and galleries which give creative space to people with learning disabilities and mental ill health.
Ceramic artist Nicola Henderson was our artist in residence for the month of September. She took a moment to tell us more about her work.
The residency is only a month long, which is quite a short period, how did you approach it?
One month in ceramic terms is very short, because of all the firing and drying times, so I made sure I was reasonably well prepared before I came in: I mixed the glazes I wanted to test and made small pinch pots for use as test tiles. I felt I was fairly well prepared, but of course as I started I realised there were other things I could have prepared, which would have meant I would have accomplished more. Having said that, I’m pretty happy with the amount I’ve been able to do. Extending it would be fantastic, but it’s a good exercise to have a month, it helps the artist focus on what they need to do and get on with it.
Can you talk us through what you have been working on?
I tested the glazes I'd made up, about 14 in total – some I'd used before, others were new, but even the ones I've used before needed to be tested as different kilns can give different results. The idea was to develop the 'metamorphic' open bowls I'd started to make in College, through glaze experimentation as well as the size and form. I started by making maquettes of differing shapes, which I also used to test the glazes, but ended up making some experimental, laminated forms increasing the height rather than the width - which was restricted somewhat by the size of the kiln.
You have been working with lava glazes, can you tell us more?
Lava glazes give a really textured, cratered finish through the addition of silicone carbide into the glaze. The results are dependant upon how thick or thin I've applied the glaze, as well as the type of clay they've been applied to (I've used four different types of clay). Because of the testing I usually have a good idea of the results I'm going to get from a firing, but the reality is it can still be a bit of a surprise! Though I can re-fire work if necessary - I have one bowl where some of the volcanic glazes didn't work as they should, so I’ve applied more glaze, and it'll be re-fired for hopefully a better result.
Can you tell us about your influences?
I love rock formations. I notice them wherever I go. Rock is classified broadly into three types: sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous. I particularly like the irregular, undulating layers or 'banding' found in a type of metamorphic rock called 'migmatitic gneiss', which is the inspiration for the open bowls. The tall vessels are more inspired by igneous rock, as seen under the microscope, where the mineral crystals that make up the rock look mosaicked or laminated. I’m also very influenced by Ewen Henderson, a well-known ceramic artist from the 70’s and 80's. He was also inspired by geological forms, as well as primitive tribal artefacts. Through these influences I'm attempting to create earthy, organic vessels that look as if they've been plucked from a cliff face, or found during an archaelogical dig.
Where will you go from here?
I’m particularly interested in seeing how the tall vessels turn out, because I’ve not attempted this type of making process before, and I really enjoyed it. The clay was not far off being soft leather-hard, and I haven't scored and slipped the pieces to join them, which normally you would, so there is a danger they may not survive a full firing without cracking or splitting… Next month I have a week with a Japanese ceramic artist, Shozo Michikawa. He uses a mixture of throwing, twisting and hand-building, which results in the most unusual, multi-facetted, sculptural vessels. I'm hoping I can take some influences from that week and incorporate it into the explorations I've made during the residency here, in order to develop my work.
You came here with the intention to learn more about glazing and firing, have you achieved that?
Yes I have. Had I been really fabulously prepared, I could have done a lot more with the glaze testing, however I'm very happy with what I’ve achieved within the month. The work I have been doing here carries on from something I started during my 2nd year at Newcastle college, and which I then set aside for a while to follow different strands of interest. It was really nice to have this month to come back to it and develop it further.
What other type of work do you do?
The entire last year of College was spent making large, hand-coiled pots, using the surface decoration to express whatever happens to capture my interest during my day to day living. Inspiration can come from anywhere. The three pots I made for my Final Show in June were inspired by such disparate themes as; road potholes, professor Neil Shubin's book 'My Inner Fish', and a medieval church in the village of Muchelney, Somerset! The outcome of this type of ceramic making stands at the other end of the scale to the organic style I've been developing here. They are large, 'in your face' things, colourful and eye-catching, not earthy and organic at all!
What are your plans for the exhibition in January?
We’ll see what I end up with at the end of the month. I hope to have one or two pieces good enough for exhibition. I really enjoyed the laminating process: the pieces are very light and consequently quite fragile – I'd like to be able to exhibit these. I want them to have more of a lichen type of finish than the volcanic look of the bowls. I'm still using the volcanic glazes on them, but I'm using less and wiping it back. I know how I want the final pieces to look, but I'm not sure they'll turn out that way! I get very anxious about what's happening in the kiln during the final firing, when the reality is I can't do anything about it! So reigning in my expectations for the final results when I open the kiln door is part of my process to limit that anxiety: I tell myself if it comes out wrong, it's ok, I’ve learnt from it, and if it comes out great, then it’s a nice surprise!
What was it like to work in the Project Ability studios?
It's a great workspace and I've really enjoyed my time here. I love the large open-plan design and there's plenty of natural light. I’ve also really enjoyed seeing the Aspire and ReConnect groups, and have been really impressed by some of the work. It’s fantastic. And there’s a very good feel here, everybody seems to get on. I was also very impressed by the focus people have. There is friendly banter, but everybody works hard and just gets on with it. It's been a very positive experience for me.
Thank you, Nicola.
Thank you for having me!
Nicola Henderson will show her work in January alongside the other artists in residence.
All images are work in progress.
For their second walk, the group headed down to the riverside and followed the Clyde walkway as far as the Tradeston Bridge then back along the south of the river and across the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge.
Lots of photographs and lots of chat along the way and one of the walkers wrote this moving and thought provoking piece about his experience.
"I walked through the streets, not trodden by my feet for so long. Probably, definitely a terribly long time.
Past places that have been, but over time have now a different theme. My childhood overtaken by the modern made me feel blue that I had missed the gradual change in my city centre. But for all the modern, I hankered for the things that are now long gone – I don’t know when.
So with camera in hand I went on safari through the changed landscape, trying to put it into a new mindscape. I think that we always look but don’t see. Using a camera changed that in me as I happily stopped, not just to look, but to really see, happy to relax and not rush fleetingly through.
Looking through my lens I focussed not just on what was around me, but also in some ways, within me."
For more photos, please click here.
Gary Sorbie’s haunting untitled piece is our Artwork of the Week.
Beautiful and sombre, the colour and tones used in this piece create a truly foreboding cityscape, perhaps highlighting the urban decay of the modern city. Saturated in atmosphere, this work is successful in creating a distinct sense of an unreal, metropolitan wasteland. Bravo!
This week’s Artwork of the Week is a self-portrait, painted by Jonathan Beatts.
Far from traditional, this portrait is portrayed on a plethora of electric colour and contrasts in order to capture the self of the artist; the vibrancy and energy of the piece clearly comes through – almost leaping from the canvas – to provide a truly memorable artwork, filled with vitality and character. You can see this piece and a number of other superb works by our talented young artists in the Art Matters exhibition, currently being held in our gallery. This exhibition will end on the 28th of September, so see it while you can!
This week, one of our young filmmakers Rory Macdonald is telling us more about last week's workshop.
"We drew pictures inspired by our favourite movies, and made our own movie posters. I chose ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’. I drew the Grinch and his dog.
My pal Owen designed a poster for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, that’s his favourite film.
I enjoy making new friends and working with everyone on the Friday evenings. I think the film festival is going to be awesome!"
As for our 'Guess the Movie Star', can you guess who this is? (drawing by TJ Matterson)
- New items in our shop!
- New programme: ReConnect 18-25
- Walking group - Week 7
- Young Talent on Screen - New advert for the Film Festival
- Great night with the Pastels at Mono!
- Film & Animation
- Recruitment & Volunteering
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