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The Art Collection are pleased to welcome artist Ally Wallace to the University.  Ally will be working as the artist in residence in the Pathfoot Building for the next six months.  He will be undertaking research examining the modernist architecture of the Pathfoot building, which will culminate in a solo exhibition in 2017.

Ally is interested in talking to people who use the Pathfoot Building to collect memories and anecdotes, which will inform his own work.  He would be delighted to talk to anyone who uses Pathfoot and would be happy for you to talk to him if you see him working around the building.

For further information about Ally and his work please visit his website www.allywallace.co.uk .  Alternatively you can email him at  ally.wallace@ntlworld.com

‘I remember when Whistler was asked:

‘What is your opinion on subject matter in art?’

He replied: ‘Everything but the subject matter in art.’

 

Our Art Collection is privileged to possess several paintings by J. D. Fergusson. In the future we will discuss each painting separately for you, as each is monumental and magnificent and deserves a mention aside from this piece that focuses on the painter himself.  Ferguson was a Scot in a full sense, and his national identity did not alter after his move to Paris, for him the essence of his identity was to remain Scottish with the obligation of it reflecting in his art.  He was inspired by others, acknowledged French painters and the Glasgow Boys, spoke about them with amazement and respect but also with the certain dose of criticism.  Scottish people through the decades proved to be open to International influences, by combining certain values but still remaining themselves.  This is what Fergusson has achieved in our eyes, and just by looking at the progress he has made just within a decade even untrained eye can see a difference.  For example, his brush strokes.  Looking at the: The White Dress: Portrait of Jane, this is an early Fergusson from 1904, the representation of the woman is realistic and is a traditional portrait accepted by the Salon at the time, but can anyone now say that this is a Scottish painting as it is obviously Fergusson? The answer to that is simple: NO.  In the search for ones roots, the style, and line a painter has to accept who he is, and definitely J.D. Fergusson achieved this level, and as a consequence he is a recognised Scottish painter in our times.  In the book Modern Scottish Painting, he discusses deep issues that arrive together with the sense of art and identity:

‘…use your brains to get to a state where you can be free to go by your feelings, and not be afraid to like something, because it’s not like some acknowledged masterpiece, academic or other’. (p.111).

Let’s now look at the Rhythm from 1911 owned by our collection, the depiction of woman is more structured, she is nude and heavily outlined, the background is abstract and she forms part of the surroundings.  Fergusson was not able to present this painting during his life as the Salon would not approve any nudity but the thought canons.  Neither famous Les Eus, has not been presented to the public during the painter’s life for the fear of heavy criticism.

In the Modern Scottish Painting he is critical of the prudish Calvinists and their restrictive vision on art, and in this sense he is closer to main land Europe.  French Impressionism inspires and moves him more, rather than the conservatives from his homeland, therefore he bravely discusses restrictions and the way out of the minds prison.  In his opinion progress is only through liberation:

‘…progressive should only mean liberating, liberating by a persistent attempt to find the fundamentals, the essentials or truths, instead of adding clever gadgets, or by using fashionable stunts’. (p.84)

In his view being up-to-date means no more than ‘with the latest gadgets’, this was not who he wished to be, as he was not a pleaser, he was a leader and fundamentally shook the world of Scottish painting.  As an Elder to the Glasgow boys he was an inspiration and encouragement for them to fulfil their visions.  As for his own painting the rule he followed was to extract from the mass of information and choose right messages which relate to him.

Apart of being an open mind a great help to his colleagues and being a Scottish Nationalist in the best sense, he was encouraging and spoke openly about necessity and the importance of women being treated equally to men.  His lifelong partner Margaret Morris was an instant inspiration to him as a man and a painter.  Her famous school of dance the ‘MMM’ was a big part of Fergusson’s life and he could not look at her otherwise but equal.  In his paintings these feminist views are strongly reflected, in the Rhythm the strength of the women, her muscular body is sitting firmly holding a fruit.  You can see powerful shapes and still feminine curves, round breasts, straight back, not fragile and helpless, but strong and fearless, these are Ferguson’s women.

To discover the strength of the message that his work bring do not hesitate and visit our collection at the Pathfoot Building.  We would be more than happy to show you around some more information on the artefact of the collection.

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The White Dress: Portrait of Jane

 

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Rhythm

 

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Les Eus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text by Karolina.

Those of you who know Jon Schueler’s work certainly will have already taken time off for the talk on the 29th of June: ‘Speaking of the Sky: Jon Schueler in Stirling. A View of the Scottish Landscape through Art, Poetry and Film.’ Those who don’t know him and are interested in exploring the Art World a little bit more or those wishing to go beyond their comfort zone, should attend the talk even more.  We hope to make our exhibition interactive and accessible for people of different interests. You do not have to be a specialist in the field, all you have to be is to be curious.

I would like to share with you few of my thoughts on Jon’s works.  Initially I mistook him for Rothko, there are some similarities, but how wrong I was as there large differences between the artists. Magda Salvesen, his wife, has shared some thoughts and stories on this aspect.  Rothko was interested mainly with colour, he did not consider landscapes and nature in his work. Schueler on the contrary was focused on the subject of nature, sky, space:

‘My avant garde was to paint not nature but about nature. To recognise that nature informed me that my fantasy and imagery and paint itself could only be as true and informing as my own intense response and subjectivity’.

Magda admitted that the only inspiration he drew from Rothko was the way of treating edges of the paintings and colour blending.  At first, long before I had pleasure to meet Magda, I was surprised with the fact that the painting goes beyond the edges of the canvas, now I realise that this was an intended effect.  When looking at Jon’s paintings for a long time, especially in the Pathfoot Building, one can experience movement, wholly dependent on the natural light in the room.  When the light changes, the paintings change.  When the weather changes, the paintings change even more. If there is a grey, gloomy and rainy day outside all the paintings suddenly seem more solemn and nostalgic, any signs of warmth immediately become extinguished by the cool light that creeps into the Hall.  If, on the other hand, a blissful summer day awakens the Main Hall, all the paintings change into brighter reflections of themselves.  It is a fascinating process and those who experience it are lucky, as exhibitions in the day light are vastly rare.  Especially bearing in mind that Jon Schueler himself was against harsh spot-lights.

Schuele had an tremendously sensitive eye to colour, blending hues and playing with tones.  It’s like music, a symphony of eloquent and delicate shades, with sudden explosions of passion and inspiration.  You can almost hear the storm, or feel the gentle breeze from the sea.  Some are more feminine, hues of pink melting into blues, others can be strong dominated by greys and black.  Schueler’s work focus on the expressions of the nature, he tried not to allow the emotional ‘outside’ in:

‘Now I want to put the total energy and the total time and the total feeling into my work. If each day brings a rage , it will be the rage of creation and not the rage imposed by the outside’.

 

Wonderful and magical, tonal, emotional, and passionate, all those words describe Jon Schueler’s paintings, however those words don’t mean much without witnessing and learning a bit more about them and about him.

*Quotes taken from: The sound of Sleat: A Painter’s Life by Jon Schueler with introduction by Russell Banes.

 

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Last week we were pleased to welcome a group of immensely interesting guests, one of whom was Magda Salvesen herself. She is vibrant, intelligent and kind all that we hoped for. The family and friends that she brought over were as fantastic, lovely and witty, bursting with knowledge. Magda is the person who made it possible for Jon Schueler’s works to be exhibited at the Pathfoot building. She has shared with us some deeper knowledge on the paintings and few interesting stories of the life with the artist, but this has to wait till the next post on Jon himself. The exhibition seemed to move our visitors, they enjoyed the University grounds, the Garden of Imagination, sculptures spread across the campus and most of all the architecture. Art Curators Jane Cameron and Sarah Bromage gave a tour around the Pathfoot building; one of the most beautiful there is; the tour was informative and exciting our guests explored the sunlight courtyards and examined the sculptures. We can only hope that Magda, her friends and family were as moved with the visit as we were, we did our best to provide as much care as possible hope that the hard work that Jane and Sarah put into the exhibition was noticed.

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On the 14th of May we hosted a Jazz and Swing Dance event in the Pathfoot building. We were pleased to see so many music enthusiasts taking part. What is more, the dancing skills of our guests amazed us. Sunshine peaked through the windows of the Main Hall. In the end all that joy was topped up with a tea party, all that seemed magical as surrounded by paintings by Jon Schueler.

We would love to thank to the Glasgow Lindyhoppers for teaching us to Swing!

Take a look at the photographic evidence:

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By K.

It is fascinating to look at art. It is moving to be capable to experience, appreciate and adore Art as medium. But if you look at it frequently do you stop to see or understand? With an in-depth view and access to the knowledge of the politics of the art world certain frustrations and misunderstanding of the purpose of Art may occur.

Then I heard of the Art Therapy project created by Lewis Watson who gets into the character of Dr. Watson. We called him before our appointment at 16.15 on the 26th of April, he was already in the role. We arrived the studio/office, white painted brick walls, a chair for Doctor and a couch for me and my partner, we were the first couple session to attend the therapy. Dr. Watson is perfectly nice and professional, smartly dressed in brown tweed suit, a turtleneck with an aged briefcase. There were some yellow tulips in a brown ceramic vase. Each of us were offered a glass of water. Firstly, we were asked to sign a disclaimer and to fill a form that would provide Dr. Watson with some information on our art background and preferences.

It all felt real but also surreal, as I had to remind myself that this is an art project. We discussed some ideas, Dr. Watson asked some questions based on the answers provided in the questionnaire and allowed us to speak, it was so relieving.  As an example, one of our answers was that we never attend new exhibition openings. We started discussing this, we admitted that the reason of our estrangement from socialising with keen on art. The fact of alcohol being available, lack of critical and creative conversation and people not being interested with the works on walls was a part of the discussion. I was surprised how well Dr. Watsons perceived certain mechanisms and how intelligently he has summarised our visit. He was interested, willing to interpret our feelings and took multiple pages of notes.

Finally, we had to take certain shots for documentation of his work, this was a time when we realised we were accessories, elements of the art work in progress, it felt great. I personally have discovered why I am weary of contemporary art, he has directed us in the right direction.

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Here is Lewis Watson’s brief on the work:

Art Therapy. 2015 to Present

Art Therapy is an ongoing participatory performance work inviting people to talk about their troubles and frustrations with art.  Assuming the role of ‘Doctor Watson’, I as artist play therapist for participants to talk over their art related troubles in a open discursive environment.  Art Therapy sessions mostly function on a one to one basis and last for approximately 30 minutes.  In this time participants must first fill out a disclaimer and quick form before the session is handed over to them to talk about any particular aspect of art they wish.  Doctor Watson primarily listens to participants, takes notes and occasionally offers a reflection or summary of what has been said; only offering advice if sought. The session concludes with a series of documentary photographs being taken after Doctor Watson retraces the journey of the session through his notes.

 

Art Therapy can travel and currently requires only a reasonably private space, 2 chairs (or 1 chair and a couch).  Access to drinking water is preferable though not essential.

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If you require Art Therapy please contact Lewis Watson at lajw89@yahoo.co.uk

 

On Thursday we visited Glasgow International Art Festival.  It was a fascinating journey which began at the Common Guild Gallery.  This bright space in Park Circus is a worthwhile place to visit. The exhibition touches upon the sensitive subject of sexuality, therefore it might not be for everyone.  We still have not pinned our thoughts on it, as definitely from a curatorial perspective it was a trea.  The exhibited works of Akram Zaatari which included two video pieces, drawings and silver prints are of a high quality, especially the drawings; explicit in context; provided a true craftsmanship aspect to the exhibition. As a side note, we were intrigued with the ‘Room for Reading’.   On the first Thursday of every month the Common Guild opens its doors to the public and provides free access to their art library, what an excellent idea to get people more involved with an artistic environment.

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We walked down the monumental steps of Park Circus, passed the park and knocked on private doors of 1 Royal Terrace, home for the -scape exhibition. It was unexpected, we walked into somebody’s home where the living room space  was turned into the gallery. The owner of the gallery/flat was also one of the artists, a charismatic Ruth Switalski.  Her work was sensual, delicate and nearly unnoticeable. It was dark inside, the smell of cigarettes still lingering among the walls, which gave it another dimension of something accessible, easy to reach for and mysterious, it definitely  shook our world for a moment.

The last place to visit in this part of the city was the Mitchell Library. Tamara Henderson has created a magical world in the monumental Main Hall space of the Library. The marble walls, glass ceiling and gilded ornaments of the building changed when Tamara placed her sculptures or rather her protagonists: scarecrow, pagan gods and fairies. Surrealism and unconscious inspire her, we were moving among creatures made of found artefacts transformed into something new and moving our imagination into a different level. Full of colour, textures and light, every aspect was intriguing. There was a ‘mad car’ made by the artist combined with a video piece, it felt as if it was in motion. The floor was covered with lines of colourful papers that cut the space and transformed it into a dream world.

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Once we left the Library we moved across the city to see what the Modern Institute had to offer. Monika Sosnowska’s sculpture that took over the space of the Aird’s Lane venue. Recently the Institute added an extra space to the afore mentioned venue where they are showing a number of the artists they represent; we must admit this part was a treat. Works by Martin Boyce, Jeremy Deller, Jim Lambie, Scott Myles and Simon Starling didn’t dominate the unit but worked within its confines.  Starling’s dagerreotype on silver-plated copper beautifully composed with the brick wall of the room and correlated with the concrete table by Boyce.

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The Briggate exhibited work by Jock Mooney, an explosion of colour, texture and form. Sculptures are surreal and grotesque looking like chocolate or rather… Carpets more kitsch than your granny’s and pompons everywhere, accompanied by Spice Girls obviously.

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We hope you managed to go and see Glasgow International this year please share your thoughts with us.

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The University is hosting a jazz and dance event, held in conjunction with the Speaking of the Sky: Jon Schueler exhibition, on 14 May, 1-4pm. Join us in celebrating the centenary of this American abstract expressionist who was involved in the American jazz scene in the 1950s.

Glasgow based Pianist/composer Peter Johnstone, fast becoming recognised as one of the leading lights in British Jazz, will also perform with his trio featuring bassist Brodie Jarvie and drummer John Lowrie. Peter won the prestigious BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year competition in 2012.

The Glasgow Lindyhop group will also perform and will lead a taster session to show people how to swing dance.

This event is part of the 2016 Festival of Museums; a weekend of events for all the family in Scottish museums.

The event includes guided tours of the exhibition, afternoon tea, a jazz band and swing dance performance.

This event is open to students, staff and members of the public. Tickets include afternoon tea and cost £10 for adults, £6 for children. Places must be booked in advance via the University’s online shop.

For further information please see: art.collection@stir.ac.uk

Venue: Art Collection, Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling

http://www.stir.ac.uk/events/calendarofevents/2016/may/jazzandswingdancewithafternoontea/name-122087-en.html

Monday 21st March, 5pm

Venue: Pathfoot Lecture Theatre, Pathfoot Building

Award winning photographer Brian Sweeney has been taking photographs professionally for the last 15 years.  In this time he has shot for many of the world’s leading lifestyle magazines, agencies and record companies.  He has lived in London, Reykjavik and Glasgow and has exhibited widely in the UK and Europe.

In this Spring’s Art Lecture he will be in conversation with broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove discussing The Great Stadiums of the North.  The photographs for the project were taken by Brian on journeys to the most remote football grounds in Scotland, with locations including Turriff, John O’ Groats and Forres.

The inspiration for this and his 2002 ‘Great Stadiums of Iceland’ series was Brian says:

 ‘As a way of fuelling boredom whilst on tour with shite bands I started shooting shit football stadiums everywhere I went’.

The ‘Great Stadiums of Iceland’ series was chosen by Adidas to front their streetlevel marketing campaign, resulting in an acclaimed exhibition in the Fordham Gallery, London.

Brian spends many of his Saturdays travelling round Scotland supporting his own club Albion Rovers and has photographed many community clubs in all parts of the country. The exhibition The Great Stadiums of the North will be on display in the Pathfoot Building from March 21st 2016.   

The Art Lecture is held in conjunction with the University of Stirling Annual Photography Competition.  Directly following the lecture there will be the launch of Brian’s exhibition and the opening and prize giving for the photography competition.

This event is free of charge and is open to staff, students and members of the public, however, places should be booked in advance via our online shop.

The Art Collection has recently been gifted artwork from artist Charmian Pollok.  Angel Wings is on display in the Art Collection as part of The Pebbles Were Each One Alive exhibition.  A recent tour of the exhibition has inspired the piece of writing below from Creative Writing student Michael Andrews.

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Catching Angels

Papa wouldn’t let me set the trap. I never got to see what we caught. I could hear it snap shut in the night. I couldn’t let on that I was awake to papa though- he’d always give me what for if I disturbed him in the night. I tried to sneak out one time, to see what we’d caught. He caught me trying to lift the bar off of the door. He beat the hell out of me that night. I was just so curious is all. I got to see some of the smaller things we caught sometimes. Squirrels, stray cats and such, all flattened out because the trap was not meant for things that small. One night I asked, “Why won’t you let me come help papa?”.

“Too dangerous. You’re not old enough to understand the complications.”

“The complications?”

“Catching angels is complicated, you wouldn’t be able to figure it.”

“How do you trap angels then? Go on and tell me how, I’ll understand.”

“You quit your askin’, you won’t understand the complications.” We both heard the trap snap shut then. I looked to the unlocked door, then to papa. “Don’t you dare”, he warned. I bolted. Through the door I went. Through the scrub, ducking trees. I was guessing where papa had left it. It wasn’t by the creek, or the marsh. I tore out through the tree line, toward the lonely rock. There is was, caught in the trap. I hadn’t seen an angel before. They weren’t like I’d been told. This one didn’t have wings. It was like a person, a boy like me. He looked terrified.

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