The Anatomy Rooms is Aberdeen's newest artist studio complex situated in the old anatomy rooms at the back of Marischal College here in Aberdeen. Founded by Jim Ewen, the studios have been a labour of love but also a labour of blood, sweat and tears. Funding applications, space negotiations, refurbishments, planning have all been happening for the last two years with Jim finally getting the keys just over a year ago. In that time the studios have become populated with a wide selection of independent artists, local orgs like SHMU Radio and research grads from Aberdeen University.
The studios have undergone a gestation period, giving the artist's a chance to settle in and get their spaces sorted. A few small scale events have taken place such as the SCAN Talk for the Look Again Festival and some SHMU related events but the Doors Open Day event a few months back gave me my first look at what Jim and the team have been doing all this time. I was amazed to find a rabbit like warren of artists space's, walls adorned with work and many of the artists on hand to say hi and speak about their work. I've often wondered if there was enough demand for a new Wasps style studio complex in Aberdeen and there most definitely is. The open day saw some musical acts perform in the main foyer / giant living room area where I also spun some records in the evening. I filmed the day and just need to find a minute to edit all the clips and you will see for yourselves how great the place looks.
The second open event took place last weekend with the Xmas Open House. It followed the same format but with the launch of a brand new gallery space. Of course having a studio complex it makes perfect sense to have a dedicated space for showing work. And first up is Lauren Milton. A graduate of grays and recently appointed print technician at the school, Lauren is the perfect choice to launch the new space. 'Standing off Balance' is a mix of print work, metal and vintage medical instruments. Each element seems to hold a certain aesthetic value which highlights and plays of one another creating a whole which is wonderous to see. With no social media accounts to see her work in its quite refreshing having to wait to see the end results and they are worth the wait.
The gallery itself is a small room just off the main corridor but is a perfect space for smaller shows with the possibility to spill out into the main corridor. Its the first step in making The Anatomy Rooms a bit more public facing and exposing some of the great work that's being created with shows by studio residents planned up til April next year with a view to adding shows by non studio members. I'm planning to spend a bit more time skulking the corridors and chatting to the artists with a view to blowing the lid on what is for now a bit of a secret art hub.
At the moment there isn't really a way to get in for a look at Lauren's show and unless you know her or someone else in the studios the door will probably remain closed, for now. But after a great chat with Jim and Kirsty about whats next for the space it shouldn't be too long before you see a programme of exhibitions, events and maybe a few parties if I get a say. Til then be sure to follow The Anatomy Rooms on Facebook to keep in the loop and I have to say well done to Jim, a humongous effort went into getting the space to where it is and would not have happened without his time, passion and expertise. 2016 has been an incredible year for art in Aberdeen but maybe 2017 will see a bit more coming from the numerous talents we have, hidden away in the studios all across Aberdeen!