Thursday, 20 October 2016

'The Sum Of The Parts' by Julia Gardiner at RGU!

'The Sum Of The Parts' is currently on show at RGU's River Side East Building or now dubbed The Sir Ian Wood Building. Curated by RGU's Art & Heritage Collections department, the show brings together a substantial body of work by Grays alumni Julia Gardiner. Julia has been creating her unique paper works for almost 30 years and has mastered the art of making her own paper which she layer's up to create incredibly beautiful work which is very pleasing to the eye. Straddling the line between fine art, 3D design and sculpture, each piece is meticulously organised and harmonious with a natural colour palette which add an organic feel to the show. Read the full blurb about Julia below.

"Julia Gardiner originally trained as a printmaker at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen and The Royal College of Art, London, however, even in these early years she leant towards the layered, the constructed and the three dimensional. Her Degree Show in 1986 was an installation featuring large, free standing sheets of hand-made paper panels whilst many of her etchings depicted images of structures, containers and boxes. Over the past thirty years these core interests have merged in the form of boxed constructions where hand-made paper or pre-manufactured card or cardboard are ordered and organised in simple geometric compositions and relationships.

Although Gardiner’s constructions reflect a minimalist sensibility the making process is far removed from the machine aesthetic of Minimalism as the paper forms are all hand-drawn, hand-cut, hand-coloured, hand glued. Mathematical precision, calculation and sequential ordering all figure within the process but the hand-made, whilst aspiring towards perfection is nuanced with irregularities and variations caused by the repetition of drawing and cutting out almost identical shapes again and again. This leads to the emergence of organic elements and a more natural aesthetic alongside geometric pattern and this combination of curves and straight lines creates gently undulating surfaces that rise and fall like bumps, humps, hollows and ridges. Whilst landscape terms do sometimes appear as titles these references are by association rather than specific source material. The forms themselves evolve wholly through the process of cutting and stacking, leading to a surface that may appear solid from a distance but of course is made up of edges and gaps."

'The Sum Of The Parts' runs until the 4th of November and is open to the public in the main corridor of The Sir Ian Wood Building at RGU Garthdee so be sure to check it out and check out some more of RGU's Art collection which is dotted around buildings all over the campus from Grays to The Faculty of Health & Social Care. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

'Threads' by Kelly-Anne Cairns at The Rendezvous Gallery!

On the same evening as the 'Creature Comforts' opening I found myself biking down to the Rendezvous Gallery beside my old school playing fields. Its a gallery I've often walked past and they usually have some stunning work on display but I'd never managed to venture in. That is until a new friend whom I met at the All The Young Nudes life drawing class mentioned she was having an exhibition and invited me down. And having seen Kelly's life drawing skills I was expecting some to see some beautiful work but her paintings go way beyond a few complimentary words.

'Threads' brings together a selection of paintings and life drawing studies which share a moment in time, what that moment is I'm not sure. It could be the calm before the storm perhaps. Each figure has a subtle edge which is intriguing and somewhat captivating. I found out that a lot of the paintings are actually of a mutual friend who poses for Kelly on a regular basis. I make a huge effort to try and engage with the local art community and I've made so many great friends who inspire me along the way but I'm always blown away when I meet someone like Kelly who's been working away for so many years with such incredible talent. Its these kind of connections, a simple hello at a life drawing class to visiting a new gallery, connecting some dots that makes me feel like its worth writing about the creative scene in Aberdeen. 

Sadly 'Threads' closed on the 8th of October but you can see some new work by Kelly as she works on her doors for the Painted Doors project and you can see more of her paintings and life drawing work via her facebook page so give her a follow!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

'Creature Comforts' by Pester & Rossi at The Suttie Art Space!

'Creature Comforts' is the first show in Aberdeen from renowned Glasgow based art duo Pester & Rossi and features a full cast of giant characters from hands and sunglasses to blob like costumes which the duo utilised as part of a performance at the exhibitions opening. Their work is a combination of elements with fun being pretty high on the agenda. Speaking to the artists at the opening didn't fully prepare me for what was to come, an all out assault on the senses from the visual and sculptural elements of the work, the dramatic flare of the cast as they slided and danced their way across the space, the strange and wonderful soundtrack and the strangely soothing singing of the artists themselves. Lasting almost ten minutes, the performance flowed and ebbed across the gallery space and hopefully left everyone feeling a bit happier than when they walked in.
The duo's bio perfectly sums up the show. "Grounded in sculptural performance and utilising a variety of media and activity, we create live works that challenge conventional perceptions of the everyday. We make wearable sculpture, DIY costume and props working with an anarchistic and feminist approach. We use visual puns, irony and play to create interventions setting ourselves boundaries and limitations with regards to the body, sexuality and rituals." Its the first exhibition in a while that's felt like a real hands on experience, that last time probably being the Lily & Mim pop up department store curated by John Walter for Smart Art Agency. It was great to see so many new faces at the show engaging with the work from the giant yellow hands (which are currently being repaired as they've been played with so much) to the video works which show the artists navigating their way around the hospital in various costumes and guises. Fun, colourful and well executed.
The team at The Suttie Art Space continue to explore the contemporary Scottish art scene by bringing new and established talent to their incredible gallery space. In the last few months they've had skateboarders smash into things, been part of the Look Again festival, held numerous exhibitions of traditional paintings and all the while quietly curate a massive range of art works throughout the corridors of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. I'm scared to think what they could do beyond the constraints of the hospital setting! Its a great space to have on the cultural map offering some fresh perspectives on the Scottish art world along with Newave Gallery, Peaccoks and Smart Art Agency to name a few.
I think there's a lot on offer for anyone who's willing to engage and seek out the creative adventure. I think sometimes people suffer a little from having to put a little energy or effort into making it to shows like 'Creature Comforts' but the benefits far outweigh that initial effort so I highly recommend you stop by The Suttie Art Space, have a chat with the staff and if you're visiting someone in the hospital maybe get a wheel chair and take them down to try on some new blob shoes, it might just give them a boost! Check out more projects and work from Pester & Rossi via their website here.