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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
The inaugural exhibition of art in the gart opened yesterday in Gartnavel royal Hospital.
Thank you to everyone who made it, to Fiona Sinclair, Clare Scott and Colin McCormack for all their hard work, and to all the artists and tutors.
The exhibition looks fantastic!
For more photos, check out our Facebook Page.
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
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.
Thanks to everybody who made it to the Outside In: Scotland opening on Thursday 03 October, in particular to Art Angel and the Dundee folk, who came in numbers! The three artists David Ford, Una Carter and Alan Lesslie came for the occasion, accompanied by friends and families.
Thanks also to Jennifer at Outside In, and to Lea Cummings, Simon McAuley and John Fitzpatrick.
Una Carter in front of her work
Alan Lesslie in front of his work
David Ford in front of his work
Curators Simon McAuley, John Fitzpatrick and Lea Cummings
The show runs until Saturday 09 November, make sure you see it!
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.
Though there is still plenty of time to submit a photo of your pet (closing date: 30th September), the Project Ability artists have started working on their pet portraits. Some are proving very popular!
We will select the best portraits and will exhibit them in our gallery in December.
See more photos here.
On Thursday 5th September, Lea, Simon and Celine had a trip to Perth to attend the opening of the first of two 'Outside In' Scotland exhibitions - the second will be in Project Ability gallery in October.
05 September - 01 November
Open Monday-Saturday 10-5pm
Perth Museum and Art Gallery
78 George Street
Perth PH1 5LB
Thank you to all who came by to the opening of our Art Matters exhibition! We had a busy evening of guests coming and going, our resident sitar player Gerry providing another serene soundtrack and some of the artists were there to strike a pose next to their work.
The exhibition continues until 28 September, Tuesday-Saturday 10-5pm, don’t miss it!
ReConnect multi-disciplinary artist Lea Cummings took some time out from his drawing to share his residency experience with us.
You were part of our first round of residencies in 2010. How do you feel this one went, in comparison to your first residency here?
It’s been good, pretty similar in some ways, and very different in others. The things I’m working on are very different from what I did in my first residency, and the place is a lot quieter (the residency takes place in our ReConnect studios, where workshops run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays). Mostly I’m just keeping myself to myself, and do what I do. I’ve actually spoken to a few people that I had never spoken to before, even though we’re part of the same kind of workshops, but I usually just focus on the work. It’s not that I don’t like to talk to people, I just try to use the time I have here to make art.
One month is a very short period of time…
Yes, it went very fast. Time usually flies by when I’m working on these pieces. The things I was working on last time didn’t quite play with time as much, because it was more planned out, and I was trying to achieve something, whereas what I’ve been working on for the last few months isn’t like that. Time just speeds up and goes incredibly fast when you’re focussed 100% on what you’re doing. My work now isn’t goal based, I’m not trying to achieve anything, it’s not that kind of focus, there’s no anxiety attached to it. I’m just trying to discard all that way of thinking ‘is it good, is it not good’… It’s just about letting something flow, and covering the space. It’s really nice to work that way, there’s no right or wrong. And usually when I finish a piece I tend to like it a lot more than if I had planned it. I feel more detached and can almost appreciate it as if someone else had done it.
It’s interesting how you talk about filling space, because with your other work –audio work, performances- it’s conceptually also about filling a space, and inhabiting it.
It’s very true. These pieces I’ve been working on since ReConnect started relate a lot more to the audio work that I do, and some of my previous visual work. Most of my audio work is more like a stream of conscious collage, it’s not about writing a song with different parts and an established structure. I try stuff out, see what works and what doesn’t, using random things, it’s more experimental. So yes, it’s very similar to these works on paper. If you let your creativity flow, and don’t box it in by thinking too much, you get very interesting results in terms of what it produces. A lot of people have commented about the work looking like Aboriginal or South American art. If you look at artwork from different cultures throughout history, you can see certain similarities in patterns, colour combinations from people that have no physical contact with each other. It seems that accessing a meditative head state brings out universal patterns.
Talking about Aboriginal work, or folklore, they don’t really have any art history attached to them: the work is completely free, meditative, connected with nature, which seems to be what your work is attempting to do.
Absolutely, that’s exactly it. When you allow yourself that space, it cuts out all this noise, all this consumerist capitalist sh*t, it makes you focus on something a lot deeper that other cultures were closer to. If you can let your head state do that, it seems that universal things come out from it, which is amazing. You seem to tap into something very vast and intangible. I’m very interested in Rupert Sheldrake’s idea of a massive information field all around us that you can’t see but you access it every time you think, and by meditating you can pull things out of it. It explains a lot of phenomenon, and how when you do something creative you can feel things you don’t usually feel and you can express them in that way.
This is a very different approach from our previous artists in residence, who were very connected with the modern and virtual world, with their work being very organised and planned.
I’m naturally that way inclined, and I battle against it. There can be something very positive about being a planner type of person, it’s a good way of achieving things, but for me personally it’s also very negative, so it’s nice for me to do something outside of that usual way of doing things. It’s very easy to miss the essence of something and get caught in the mechanics of it.
Is the residency a kind of escapism for you?
Kind of, yeah. It’s good because it also has a set structure: for the most part I’m here at 10am and stay until 4pm. I’m always juggling a lot of projects at any one time, trying to make sure to spend enough time on everything so that it all moves forward as a whole, so it’s nice to have a month where it’s kind of suspended: I just have this one thing to focus on.
Where will you go from here?
I’m not sure, I don’t know. I think I’ll just keep going until I’m not feeling that ‘thing’ from it anymore, until it exhausts itself. Which it will do eventually, and then I’ll go on to something else. The way I feel does make a difference to the work as well: there are a couple of pieces that I don’t like, partly because I was overthinking them, and partly because I wasn’t feeling good when I was doing them, and you can really see that when you look at them. I believe emotions affect the physical world, and it’s why art has this sort of mystical quality: it holds something from its creator. That’s why mass-produced things don’t have that resonance.
The last couple of weeks, I have been doing some audio recordings in the stairs of the building as well. I like these hidden public spaces, they are public but very quiet, because nobody really uses them. I’ve been banging on the rails and produced an amazing sound in there, so I am now recording it and I’ll use it as an audio piece in the exhibition.
Lea Cummings will exhibit his work alongside the other artists in residence in our gallery in January 2014. He is currently working on a feature film with writer Sarah Glass, more details about the release coming soon.
The exhibition will run until this Saturday, 31st August.
The show runs until Saturday 31st August.
Norman Wallace is one of the artists exhibiting currently in our ReConnect group Show. Here he talks about his painting 'Big Cat & the Lights', and where he found his inspiration.
The show runs until Saturday 31st August.
Would you like your pet’s portrait painted by a Project Ability artist? We are now accepting your pet photographs!
At Project Ability we like our pets: stories of cute and cuddly cats and naughty but nice dogs abound. To celebrate our pets we are inviting Project Ability artists to paint their portraits!
If you would like a unique portrait of your pooch send us their picture*. We are looking for action shots, pets at home, head and shoulders, cheeky grins, full length portraits... Our favourites will be selected and painted by our artists and exhibited in the gallery in December 2013.
Capture your pet on film and send their picture, along with their name and pet profile (maximum image size 1MB) to email@example.com
The closing date for submissions is the end of September and our favourites might be published on our website or social networking platforms.
* By sending us a picture, you accept for it to be published on the Project Ability website and/or Facebook.
For the first time since the start of our residency programme, we had a collaborative duo working in our studios. Genevieve and Jordan are siblings who have decided to put their family at the centre of their artistic project.
What have you been up to during the residency?
Genevieve: “We have been following on from the family’s on-going research into our history, investigating documents, our mother’s own research and different versions of our family tree from either side of the family.
Jordan was already really interested in family trees, even fictional ones, like the family history of Indiana Jones or the Lion King. My own work has always been intensively research based and likened to case study; being that we were coming from two separate practices, it seemed like the ideal subject matter to use, in terms of the way that I work and the way that Jordan was already working.
There were already bits and pieces of research, quite thorough in some places and very sparse in others, and we used different means of communication with the family in order to fill in the gaps. We used the phone but we preferred using Skype, Jordan in particular prefers it as it is more immediate. We didn’t just record the conversations; we recorded the situation and the device of the computer itself which created a distance and made it feel more removed. There is something quite interesting with this approach and we haven’t stopped recording when the conversation ends, or during miscommunications, or connection problems.
Genealogy and the mapping of family histories is one of the world’s most popular hobbies nowadays…
It is and sometimes without people even realising that they’re doing it. When you join Facebook for example, you want to add your relatives and research individuals that are connected to you in some way. This project is not just a collaboration between two artists, but more a collaboration between two individuals that also happen to be related. Jordan defines himself as a writer, so we’ve had a very interdisciplinary way of working; using different fields and methods as a construct to develop the overall project.
How do you turn this into an art project?
We were following rules in term of structure or information but the conversations we were having are not purely factual, it was about getting a feeling for the character and the individual and getting reacquainted. Dates haven’t played a huge factor in our project either and one of our rules in organising the skype chats was that Jordan wanted to speak to people that we actually know already.
So you didn’t talk with anybody that you hadn’t met before, or hadn’t met for a very long time?
We spoke to somebody that I hadn’t seen for a very long time but Jordan did see her recently when he went to Canada. He also got to meet a couple of other people during his trip but I knew nothing about them. I guess we only talked about people we knew because we don’t have any way of connecting with people we don’t know. We’ve been in touch with people directly or via someone else, but some people are completely off the radar, we wouldn’t even know where to begin to get in touch with them!
Is this going to be something you’re going to continue after the residency?
I think so. We’re going to speak to our Uncle Mike next week and our sister who lives in New Zealand. We’re dependent on people’s schedules and the logistics of that are sometimes problematic. What is important is that the family tree has almost acted like a vehicle for us to have a critical dialogue with one another. The product is not necessarily the most interesting element of what’s been going on; it’s the conversations that occurred because of it that are forming the work itself.
How are you going to collate this information?
We have recorded every single conversation that has occurred every day of the residency. There is currently about six hours of footage, audio or video, for every day that we’ve been here! It’s interesting because the first hurdle we had to overcome was our big sister/little brother relationship and how do we restructure this dynamic. Also we hadn’t been in each other’s company for 3 years, as Jordan’s been studying here and I was in Carlisle so we needed to get to know each other again.
We’ve never had a sister/brother artistic duo as artists in residence before, could you tell us a bit more about how this collaborative working came about?
I have been very interested in my brother’s approach from a very young age. He would watch a film in its entirety with the subtitles on, would pause at every new subtitle and copy down the letters. This was before he had learned to read and write at school. He is basically self-taught literate, through film. I was incredibly fascinated by that, even before I went to art school. So now has been the perfect opportunity and place to collaborate together.
How did the space influence you?
Jordan usually works in quite a small scale, so the space has allowed us to enjoy the scale in a big way! A lot of my work previously has involved video, as has Jordan’s but with the inclusion of text as well, both practices have been quite isolated. To bring our practices into a shared space has made the conversation bigger, which means the work ended up getting bigger.
The project itself is huge in terms of concept too.
It’s never-ending, infinite. At the moment we have discovered family in Argentina, South Africa, Scotland, Germany, New Zealand, Canada and America. It is worldwide and it is infinite in terms of information. On top of that, we began with records that we thought were quite thorough and accurate but we found out that one family member who was disowned might have willingly tampered with them and changed information on purpose. So it is almost a fiction and it would be as important if it was a fictional family tree. It is almost irrelevant whether it is a truth or not as the process is what is at the centre of our project.
A lot of our conversations revolve around films; it is an interest that we share and something that Jordan uses to relate with things in life as a way of processing. It has played a really big part in conversations about being in this space, working with this material. Even in terms of understanding the concept of twins or the idea of the deceased.
How involved have your parents been in the project?
We haven’t had a conversation with them and that has been quite purposeful. We haven’t skyped them on purpose. Our knowledge is based on what they have told us, we were only as informed as other people have allowed us to be. Our mother passed on a lot of her research to her brother’s wife via email, and then lost access to her email account and didn’t keep a copy of it. So our Aunt has a lot of information that obviously our Mum knows about, but doesn’t have in concrete. They did provide things like photographs or birth certificates but we haven’t really spoken to them as part of the recorded project.
Where will you go from here?
Because so much has been archived, we’re going to have to look through it with a bit of distance. We need a bit of an overview and look at it as a whole to understand what’s going on! It will be interesting to see the structure of this as an object, a bi-product of a process.
From Jordan Gourlay Kay
What have you enjoyed about the residency?
It’s family business. I liked writing and the game when we named the films.*
Oblivion, Wreck it Ralf, James Bond, Indiana Jones. Oblivion has Tom Cruise - Mission Impossible, War of the Worlds. I like Meet the Parents – Robert de Niro was in Shark Tale. and Star Trek. Madagascar. The Neverending Story.
What have we done in the studio?
We came on the underground and we walk. We get something to drink. We do work. It’s different. Drawing, activities, family tree stuff. Labels pencil masking tape ruler string paperclips photographs. Skype was good – the people. Made videos working with Ginny.**
Singin in the Rain – moses supposes his toeses are roses
Talk about other things. Music. Films. Greek gods myths and legends. Twins and people pass away.
*game similar to ‘articulate’ where you have to describe a film without saying the title and the other person has to guess what it’s called/the actor in it/the characters’ name.
** Ginny is the family nickname for Genevieve
Jordan and Genevieve will see their work exhibited in the Project Ability Gallery alongside the other artists in residence in January 2014.
It's time for Artwork of the Week and we are very pleased to bring you 'Felix by the Ocean' by Zoe Wagner!
This is a perfect example of how a painting can promote a visionary experience where Felix the cat sits against a hypnotic projection of the sea.
Zoe's painting is on show in the gallery as part of Young Talent and we are open Saturday and Sunday this weekend for the Merchant City Festival - don't miss it!
Gerry Smith became involved with Project Ability through the You, me and ASD exhibition, and since then has been a regular fixture of the Trongate 103 First Thursday events. Every month, Gerry generously gives his time –and talent!- by playing the sitar in our gallery. The beautiful sounds are a perfect accompaniment to the art and enrich the gallery experience. We took the opportunity to ask him a few questions during last week’s event.
How long have you been playing the sitar?
I have been playing for about four years now, on and off. Since I took up piano, I haven’t been playing sitar as much. I bought this sitar on Gumtree, and within a few weeks I saw a poster at Strathclyde Uni, where I was studying, advertising a sitar class. A week after seeing the poster, I was taking my first lesson. It was taught by Haroon Simon, a student, from Pakistan, who is now a good friend. Haroon's father was also a sitar player.
What drew you to this instrument?
I heard it in the 80’s in Camden Market, a stall was selling a couple of sitars, not in very good condition, and this guy was playing it. I desperately wanted to buy one… I was playing the twelve string guitar at the time and always loved that tone effect. There’s something very human about it, there is a rhythm, but it’s not like the four-four you have in Western music. To me that sounds like slaves pulling the oars of a boat… In Indian music you can hear everything in between.
When you are playing, is it something composed or do you just improvise?
I learnt some very basic parts of the Indian rag. It comes from the voice: the voice has quarter tones and notes in between the full tones that other instruments can’t reproduce, and this is how the sitar came about.
Have you always been into music?
Always. I’m much more confident with music than I am with other means of communication. I’m not great with reading or words, but I feel comfortable with music.
What other instruments do you play?
I’ve just passed my Grade 3 piano, I might do a Grade 4 this year. I also play guitar, ukulele, and I’m trying to learn the squeeze box. But I wouldn’t bring another instrument here, they could feel quite intrusive in a gallery, not like the sitar. This place is amazing for playing the sitar. This music has a lot to do with imagination. When you hear Debussy’s piano music, you have the same feeling that you get with Eastern music, because he changed his style after hearing Javanese gamelan music at the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris. His style was a lot freer after hearing Eastern music.
And on that note, Gerry goes back to the gallery and fills the room with beautiful melodies once more.
Our second artist in residence this year was Lorraine Hamilton, a recent graduate from Glasgow School of Art. Over her month long residency, she experimented with materials and texture, and roused the other artists' curiosity.
A month is quite a short period of time, so how did you prepare for the residency?
I thought I was really well prepared. I had a plan in mind of what I was interested in doing, I wanted to get involved with the classes and get to know everybody… I thought the work would come later and would be a reflection on the experience. Then I got here and it all went out the window. It was a very different environment from what I expected, people work very independently. It’s a bit like being given a gift of a very nice studio: I’ve been given time and space and I could do anything I wanted. It’s been ideal, I finally had time to work on all these ideas that I’ve had for the last few months.
Can you tell us about these ideas, and what you worked on?
The first week I went through all the research I had bookmarked but didn’t have time to properly think about. For instance, materials I like to work with, tactility and to offer an experience to people based on that. For example hair, or sugar – I was trying to grow sugar crystals. Then I started doing a lot of drawing, which I haven’t done in a while, and they were all related to an experience of communication. Through my work with Sense Scotland, working with deaf and blind children or people who have different communication obstacles to overcome, I’ve had to find new ways of communicating. Quite often they are unsuccessful. I’m quite interested in that idea of trying and failing.
We see you are using some ‘Oasis’ and hair, both are materials that can make people a bit uncomfortable…
I love it! Same with the hair: people are really phobic about it. I’m only using cheap hair extensions and people hate touching it. I like the idea of luring people in, they come and want to touch things and then really regret it. Overwhelmingly, people are showing disgust, maybe because hair is such an intimate thing. When it comes from a stranger, it’s revolting. As for the ‘Oasis’, at first I only considered it as something to hold the hair, but I love the feeling of carving it. I find it very pleasant, though people have been coming over and really disliked the feel of it.
Your work looks like a sort of landscape, especially your drawings…
That was my initial idea. I’ve been drawing landscapes made of hair ,which I thought was very beautiful, then I set out to make a sculpture of it. None of it is anywhere near finished, I think it will change quite a lot in the next months but I’ll definitely carry the work on. It feels very indulgent to be able to experiment.
Did you get much interest from the other artists in the workshops?
Yes, it’s been really nice actually. It’s quite casual. People have been showing me their work, chatted about mine… I really enjoyed it. It’s such a nice studio environment. It felt like a real gift.
Can you tell us more about your background?
I graduated in 2011, and I’ve always been interested in sensory and tactile work, though I never really considered working for a charity or with other people before. Then I got in touch with Sense Scotland, initially for research. I enjoyed working with people so much that it changed the way I thought about my own work and my idea of communication itself. I create work that encompasses more than the standard visual and audio aspects, I have worked with materials that provide a scent, or a taste, like caramel or sugar and that bring a broader sensory experience to the viewer.
Thank you Lorraine, we are very much looking forward to seeing your finished work in January 2014 during the residency exhibition.
This Thursday is First Thursday, and the gallery will be open late for the occasion.
Our vibrant exhibition Young Talent is on, and the very talented Gerry will be back once more to play his sitar! Great art, music and some refreshments, perfect recipe for a great evening!
Thursday 04 July, 6pm-8pm, Trongate 103.
Young Talent is one of our favourite shows, and this year was no different! The gallery is full of colourful works, paintings, drawings, felt and papier-mache bugs, ceramics and other lightboxes, that immediately put a smile on your face!
Once again, our young artists have done a fantastic work, and they all came in big numbers to the opening event on Saturday 15 June.
We have already had wonderful feedback regarding the show, afterall, it's not every day you see a giant spider web and giant felt bugs in an art gallery!
Make sure you pop by and see the great work produced in our Saturday Visual Arts Classes, the show runs until 28 July.
Click here for a slideshow of the opening event.
Our 2012 / 2013 Exhibitions report, including information on our gallery programme and our off-site and international projects can now be read online by clicking here.
Our 2012 / 2013 Create programme report, including information on our Saturday Visual Arts classes, Introduction to Film classes and Art Matters can now be read online by clicking here.
Our 2010 / 2013 Volunteer programme report can now be read online by clicking here.
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