Oct 062017

With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

A new exhibition of breath-taking contemporary Scottish photography explores our relationship with the ocean and the growing problem of marine pollution.
It highlights how this global problem impacts the environment right here in the N.E. of Scotland. Bibo Keeley’s exhibition takes inspiration from the oceans – and the worrying state they are in.

Bibo gives the background to her work:

An estimated 12.7 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Plastic does not bio-degrade, so it lingers in the ocean and it is killing animals and plants alike at an alarming rate. The natural order of things is seriously under threat.

The bad news is that our lives are closely connected with that of the ocean. For example: 50% of the oxygen we breathe and which regulates the climate is produced in the sea, mainly by plankton. However, according to The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society the plankton populations have been diminished by 40% since 1950. If the ocean dies, we all die.

Bibo said: ‘I have been visiting Aberdeen beach for about 20 years and I noticed that the amount of litter on the beach is on the increase. I started to document this with photography and I also travelled to other coastlines of Scotland to do the same. I found ocean litter on every single beach, no matter how remote – on the Isle of Lewis, on Skye, at Cape Wrath and on Orkney just to name a few.

The changes that the oceans make on our coastline are slow and almost imperceptible. In contrast, the negative impact on nature due to man’s interference is evident and happening with increasing speed. We – the population of planet earth – really need to slow down our negative impact on the environment.’

Bibo Keeley’s exhibition also includes:

– An installation of some of the beach litter which the artist collected from Aberdeen’s beaches.

– Videos (produced by artist Brian Keeley) showing Bibo Keeley’s personal connecting with the ocean; singing a love song to a dead seal , singing to a stranded oilrig,

– A video documenting Bibo Keeley’s recent participatory slow walking performance on Aberdeen Beach.

Bibo Keeley’s quote on the slow walking performance:

“When we slow down our breathing and our speed and manage to just be in the present moment, we can experience a shift in awareness – it’s a good way to connect with nature”

For Bibo’s slow walking performance, she was supported by Dr. Amy Bryzgel (art historian, author and senior lecturer in Film and Visual Culture at Aberdeen University) who participated in the walk along with the students of her Performance Art course. Dr. Bryzgel’s next lecture in Performance Art will take place in the exhibition space of Mother Ocean at Seventeen on Tuesday 3 October 2017 at 14.00.

Bibo invited the participants in her recent slow walking performance at Aberdeen Beach to have an inner dialogue with the ocean, or to think of ways in which they could reduce the use of unnecessary plastics in their lives; or to just relish the luxury of being allowed to take the time to slow down.

Imagine if every one of us felt so connected with the ocean that they made a conscious decision to help to save and restore the ocean”. – Bibo Keeley

 Dr. Bryzgel reflected on the performative walk on the gww (The George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture) website about her experiences.

“it took us 90 minutes to walk what usually would have taken about 1-2 minutes at a normal pace ..… There was something really unifying about doing the performance together. For a brief moment, we became part of a community that shared something very unique.”

The exhibition ‘MOTHER OCEAN’ runs at Aberdeen’s Gallery Seventeen (Lower Gallery) from 3-7 October 2017.

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Aug 042017

Peacock Visual Arts present Ignore the Management, an exhibition by Michele Horrigan and Sean Lynch. With thanks to John Morrison, Marketing & Communications Manager, Peacock Visual Arts.

For some years now, through both artistic and curatorial activities, Michele Horrigan and Sean Lynch have investigated the multifaceted nature of the public realm. With a focus on their native Ireland, their activities find and develop models that challenge the societal measures and institutional values that aim to manage and orient human behaviour in our increasingly technocratic world.

Sean Lynch presents two videos at the W OR M project space in Aberdeen’s historic Castlegate.

Latoon focuses on an unusual story of a whitethorn bush close to Lynch’s studio in Limerick. In 1999, folklorist Eddie Lenihan campaigned to have a multi million-euro roadway redirected in order to save the bush, which he had argued was an important meeting place for fairies – the bush’s destruction would lead to supernatural havoc on the new motorway.

Years later, Lynch interviewed Lenihan at the site about the dangers of fairy culture, the incessant march of progress and the hope that the bush will somehow survive this onslaught.

Also on exhibit is Campaign to Change the National Monuments Acts, a video that investigates the legal status of metal detectors in Ireland.

Following national controversy around the finding of the Derrynaflan Hoard, a medieval treasure trove uncovered in the 1980s, the state hastily placed a blanket ban on the public use of all devices used to search for archaeological objects – this legislation effectively destroyed any fledgling metal detectorist community.

Lynch advocates for a change in these authoritarian laws, where ideas of nationhood, individual freedom, and the need for new forms of community-led heritage are explored in a journey narrated by his long-time collaborator Gina Moxley.

For several years, Michele Horrigan has been following an exploratory trail of investigation around the mineral ore bauxite. Imported from Guinea in Africa into Ireland’s largest industrial complex in Horrigan’s hometown of Askeaton, bauxite is then refined and smelted to become aluminium, the world’s most versatile metal used in computer parts and engines, drink cans and airplanes.

Amongst her collection of archival and photographic material relating to this process, Horrigan presents two disparate gestures, an aluminium sculpture and a dance performance, each further questioning the role of the personal in relationship to the pervasiveness of global manufacturing.

Working at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Aberdeenshire, Horrigan made an aluminium replica of the apex of the Washington Memorial, remembering the shape given to the Masonic all-seeing eye of imperialism made from what was the world’s most precious metal in 1884. Then, in a field close to a refinery with chimney stacks divulging a steady stream of smoke, Horrigan is seen glibly re-enacting dance scenes from the 1983 movie Flashdance, where a heroine works in Pittsburgh’s mills while at night pursues her real dream of dancing.

Here, the title of Horrigan’s artwork, Stigma Damages seems pertinent. Used as a legal term to describe possible loss or suspected contamination due to environmental circumstance, both her actions seem to exist as a consequence or personal reaction to the rest of material on show, as a sensibility borne out of the disaffection of the individual against global flow and capital.

Sean Lynch and Michele Horrigan have exhibited throughout Europe and North America, including the Venice Biennale. Since 2006 they have organised Askeaton Contemporary Arts in southwest Ireland, initiating artist residencies, exhibitions and publications with over one hundred artists from around the world. During their time in Aberdeen, they will present several workshops as part of Free Press, a new publication project curated by Peacock Visual Arts, in partnership with Station House Media Unit and Aberdeen University Library Special Collections.

Exhibition: Ignore the Management // Michele Horrigan and Sean Lynch
Date: 9 September – 21 October 2017
Opening: Friday 8 September 2017, 6-8pm. All welcome.
Location: the W OR M, 11 Castle Street, Aberdeen

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Jun 162017

By Suzanne Kelly.

An open art exhibition in any other city in the UK is likely to be a laid-back affair in terms of censorship and over-regulation.

It is likely to attract people who are interested in art practice, ideas and would go without a hitch.

Organiser Jean Paul Baptiste simply wanted to allow artists who are outside the established Aberdeen arts hierarchy a chance to show.

Aberdeen ArtCentre & Theatre Gallery was the selected venue, and all went well – at first.

The gallery decided that exhibiting sculpture in an area where a lift used by people with mobility issues was an impossibility.

This decision came after the show started. The fact that all around the world it is possible to have both disability access and sculpture co-exist was lost on the administration.

Then members of the public (how many I would like to know for openers) made a complaint about some of the artwork. So great was the trauma for the complainers they complained to the gallery and the city council. Perhaps they’ve written to the PM – we should be told.

So, this being Aberdeen, the thing to do was to cover the work up temporarily – not to justify the artistic merits of the work which are blatantly obvious to anyone with or without an arts background.

Who were these anonymous offended people who thought their own opinion was more important than the rest of the public, the artwork and the show? Please do come forward, if you’re out there. Aberdeen Voice will allow you space to explain why you wanted to ban artwork.

The gallery said:

“This is a joint message from the Operations Manager of the Arts Centre, George, and Baptiste, the curator of the exhibition. 

“First, let us thank you for your interest. The current exhibition has been most exciting for the artists and the venue. We had an immensely successful launch night, where the art provoked discussion, reaction and a good time for those who attended.  

“We understand that you have gotten in touch regarding some matters that have been raised around the exhibition itself and are looking for comment. 

“Concerning a couple of the works being removed from the floor space, this was the result of an error in communication. The Centre hosts events in the Gallery where the exhibition is and uses it to access the lift when the exhibition is closed.

“Though sculptures were practicable for the night of the launch, they were not practicable on a daily basis, at all times, as multiple events can run through the course of one day. This could mean damage to the sculptures themselves, and could impact on health and safety. The fact that standing sculptures were going to be present was not ascertained clearly, and next time there will simply be better planning. 

“Please see this link for a virtual tour of the opening night. We hope it captures for you the essence of the evening, and the current exhibition. http://virtualtoursaberdeen.co.uk/tours/art-2017/index.html”

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Feb 202017

With thanks to John Morrison, Marketing & Communications Manager, Peacock Visual Arts.

Peacock Visual Arts are delighted to present Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) by Ilana Halperin.

Following the first showing of this work at Fujiya Gallery Hanayamomo in Kyushu, Japan, Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) will extend to include a new series of prints commissioned by Peacock.

This project marks the first time Halperin has exhibited in Japan and Aberdeen and continues a historical narrative between Kyushu and Aberdeen which began with the 19th Century ‘Scottish Samurai’ merchant Thomas Blake Glover.

For 20 years, Ilana Halperin dreamt about Beppu. In 1995, back in the urban geology of New York City, she found a book on the street about volcanoes.

A chapter on Beppu featured – with photographs of children cooking eggs on the streets, steam coming through every crack in the sidewalk, and a pool as red as blood. In New York, steam vents erupted at every corner, but these were industrial rather than natural.

She imagined a correlation between her home city and Beppu, a place with steaming vents and boiling springs, where daily life was lived and informed by a direct relationship with geothermal phenomena.

In 2014, Halperin went to Beppu for the first time on a research residency with BEPPU PROJECT. Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) grew out of this time. Beppu is the second most geothermally active site on earth, after Yellowstone, USA. It is a primary location for the potential of geothermal power in Japan. Over the course of a year, new geothermal sculptures slowly formed in the Kannawa hot springs of Beppu.

In September 2016, Halperin returned to Beppu to take the new sculptures out of the water and install a solo exhibition at Fujiya Gallery Hanayamomo, a beautiful listed Meiji Era building. The exhibition coincided with the blossoming of the venue’s 200-year-old Mokusei tree, reflecting philosophical approaches within Halperin’s practice – thinking in time scales longer than the human lifespan.

The exhibition at Peacock Visual Arts will feature new Japanese sculptures, alongside a geothermal sculpture formed in Iceland and new works on paper commissioned by Peacock.

To employ experimental processes, field work, and traditional print-based methods, Halperin is developing a new series of work with Peacock’s Master Printmaker, Michael Waight, utilising Yame Washi paper – the oldest Japanese handmade paper in Kyushu which can last 1,000 years – in combination with hot spring minerals she collected in Beppu.

To pair with the ‘field pigments’ from Japan, Halperin visited Dr Allan Lilly, Principal Soil Scientist at The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen in January 2017, who introduced her to the National Soils Archive founded in 1934.

A selection of Scottish soil was generously donated to the project, including soil sourced from Slighhouses Farm where James Hutton, the ‘Father of Modern Geology’, farmed and began to formulate radical ideas about the age of the earth and deep geologic time. The nature of materials within these new works reflects the unique processes which formed the geothermal sculptures in Beppu, continuing the narrative of exchange between places intrinsic to this project.

Halperin and Mabon are working with the Glasgow based design studio Graphical House on a limited edition Artist Book that will mark the completion of the project, acting as a printed matter response to this ambitious and culturally diverse project. For more details on the publication visit the project website geologic-intimacy-yu-no-hana.tumblr.com.

Artist’s website: www.geologicnotes.wordpress.com

Ilana Halperin // Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana)
A new geothermal art/science project curated by Naoko Mabon (Aberdeen, Scotland and Beppu, Kyushu, Japan).

Opening: Thursday 30th March, 6-8pm. All welcome!
Exhibition runs:
31st March – 29th April 2017
Peacock Visual Arts

Curator’s tour: 22nd April 2017, 3pm

Artist’s Talk: Saturday 1st April 2017, 3.00-4.30pm
Ilana Halperin will be in conversation with Professor Tim Ingold from the Anthropology Department of the University of Aberdeen and Peacock Visual Arts’ Director Nuno Sacramento about her exhibition. This is a free event but space is limited so please book by clicking the blue button on the link below and filling out the booking form:

Ilana Halperin // Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana)

Image: Courtesy of the artist, Patricia Fleming Projects and WAGON

Photography: Sachiyo Ando

Aug 262016

Marie Velardi-Future Perfect 21st Century-2006-2015-Kochi BiennaleWith thanks to John Morrison.

Peacock Visual Arts proudly presents Lost Islands & Other Works, an exhibition of drawing, sculpture, and installation by Marie Velardi. For her first solo show in the UK, this exhibition brings together recent and significant works to consider the nature of impermanence and movement of time from various perspectives.

Within her practice, Marie employs fact and fiction to both imagine and question the future.

Works closely examine movements of the earth, such as the continuous shift between land and sea, or inhabited islands disappearing into the ocean due to rising water levels. Marie’s use of fiction to present a timeline of the 21st century as described in sci-fi literature and film, offsets our reality to incite a powerful yet playful protest about the uncertainty of our future, and the condition of the earth today.

During the exhibition, selected artists, initiatives and academics will be invited to actively respond to the exhibition to explore ideas around unpredictable worlds, landscape, and sustainability.

Marie Velardi was born in Geneva, Switzerland. She lives and works in Geneva and Paris. Her work has been exhibited in France, Germany, Belgium and Italy. In 2014-2015 she represented Switzerland at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. She has won various awards; among them the ‘2015 Scholarship of the City of Geneva’ for her on-going research project called Terre-Mer.

Marie Velardi // Lost Islands & Other Works

Runs: 27 August 2016 – 8 October 2016
Venue: Peacock Visual Arts

Jul 082016

VisitAberdeenshire, the organisation responsible for attracting both leisure and business visitors to the area, has been instrumental in securing a new conference for the north east of Scotland. With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

LiftEx2016-large2LiftEx2016, the UK’s only exhibition and conference dedicated to overhead lifting and safe work at height will be held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on 23 and 24 November 2016 following subvention funding from VisitAberdeenshire.

The subvention support has been match funded by VisitScotland.

The VisitAberdeenshire subvention fund aims to increase the numbers of high profile events held in the city by providing a degree of financial support to increase the city’s competitiveness within the conference and exhibitions market.

It enables the city to draw together the best possible bid for attracting high yield conferences which have synergy with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s areas of expertise; further enhancing the city’s reputation as a world class conference destination. VisitAberdeenshire is also the official provider of accommodation for LiftEx2016 and is offering preferential hotel rates for delegates.

Peter Medley, business development director of VisitAberdeenshire says,

“Despite the current situation in the oil and gas industry, Aberdeen remains one of the most influential, innovative and proactive global energy cities and securing this event shows the confidence which the supply chain has in the industry’s future. Over 100 trade exhibitors are expected to take part in LiftEx2016 with around 1500 industry professionals visiting the event taking part in conference sessions and discovering innovative new products.

“Our team has worked closely with Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre to secure this valuable event for our area.”

“I’m delighted that we are taking LiftEx2016 to Europe’s ‘Energy Capital’ for the first time in its history,” said Geoff Holden, chief executive of Lifting Equipment Engineers’ Association (LEEA) which organises the event.

“The energy, offshore and maritime sectors are all heavily reliant on overhead lifting, and LiftEx2016 offers the professional community an outstanding opportunity to catch up with recent developments in training, accreditation, legislation, products and services.”

LiftEx Industry Conference will bring together an impressive line-up of respected speakers on topics related to safe, legal and efficient overhead lifting. The popular innovation fast pitch event also returns, giving visitors a quick-fire introduction to the latest technologies and applications in this industry sector.

In addition to end users and suppliers of lifting equipment, LiftEx is highly relevant to professionals working in fields such as health and safety, training, plant engineering and maintenance.

Peter Medley continues,

“Our area is a vibrant business tourism destination, with a host of new developments in progress. Aberdeen International Airport’s £20 million expansion is well underway, and new flight routes – including those to the USA via Icelandair –are opening up the area to a wider global audience.

“The £333 million relocation and upgrading of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, coupled with the renovations of Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall – worth £30 million and £7 million respectively, will also provide a welcome boost to the area’s conferencing and events offering.

“Room rates in Aberdeen are now lower than they have been for a number of years, and with the newly expanded range of hotels on offer the area is a very attractive conference and exhibition proposition. We continue to work with partners across the region to bring further high profile events to the north east.”

Delegates can register for LiftEx2016, a free event at www.liftex.org.

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Jun 032016

By Suzanne Kelly. Photos courtesy of Pirate Photography Aberdeen.

Egle2This year’s Gray’s School of Art Graduate Fashion Show lived up to expectations and in some areas exceeded them. The wide variety of designs on show, the craftsmanship, the wide range of inspirations all made this another memorable fashion event for the school.

Salmena Carvalho , Fashion & Textile Lecturer / Fashion Show Curator said:

“Our graduate fashion show is a great opportunity for our students to showcase their final year collections to an external audience. This year we presented a variety of work ranging from womenswear, menswear, knit, print and mixed media. It is always an exciting time for us as we are able to collaborate with other creatives for this annual event. “

It is difficult to pick out favourite pieces or designers from such a large field, but here in their own words are some of the designers, with a few comments from me.

Nicole Ferry – Corruption.

Nicole Ferry“My collection explores the current negative affairs in society and visual attributes which connect with this theme. From politics to riots, my collection aims to convey the extent of negativity in our everyday lives.

“Gray’s graduate fashion show was a complete success. Finishing my university journey on a high.

“Myself and fellow students are incredibly proud of the collections we produced and the blood, sweat and tears was definitely worth it when viewing your garments on the catwalk. “

Nicole brought us a futuristic vision in a collection which echoed social unrest and pending problems throughout – whether directly by slogans written on clothing or via clothes geared to obstruct your face, which I found food for thought in a world where surveillance and social activism are increasing.

Natalie Anderson said:

Natalie Anderson“The graduate fashion show is a great way to unveil our creations. There is a massive amount of planning and organising that our tutor Salmena undertakes in order to make it a success for us students.

“It was great to see it all set up and everything taking place.

“Everything is done with precision from the picking of the models to deciding the music for each individual catwalk collection.

“The running of the show went smoothly and was a great achievement for all involved. “

Natalie made several stunning pieces; a luxurious black coat with very interesting textures in the nape of the fabric was far more stunning than any real fur piece could ever be.

It was both echoing dramatic costumes of the past (I thought of a full-length portrait by Holbein of Christina of Denmark) and pointing to the future with its clean lines, flow and interesting textures.

April Hay commented on her work:

april hay“My collection is the result of a relationship I built between textile design and mineralogy.

“I believe very strongly that design and science go hand in hand and hope my work sets an example of how a cross disciplinary project could work between them.

“Working with The National Museum of Scotland enabled me to materialise a body of visual and mental research into mineral specimens whilst the facilities at Gray’s School of Art were used to create the garments and textile pieces.

“Photography, photoshop manipulation and digital print are the techniques used in my collection. “

Lisa Campbell helped organise the show; I’d seen the progress of her stunning work when I was taking an introductory course at Gray’s. The striking use of origami principles mixed with Op Art has created stunning, unique fashions.

Lisa CampbellShe says:

“The Fashion Show weekend was an exhilarating experience and I can’t quite believe that it’s all over.

“There was a huge buzz of excitement during both shows, seeing everyones collections finally come together and all the hard work finally paying off.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback following the fashion show.

“As a member of the fashion show committee it is particularly rewarding to see all the elements that I have helped organise come together to showcase the work of the class.”

Egle Mazeikaite had a very elegant and extremely feminine collection; Egle explained:

“The starting point for this collection was femininity and ways of expressing it through contemporary fashion. The focus is on the concept of envelopes being an enclosing structure which contains something personal – in this case the idea of femininity.

“Using the conceptual aspects of an envelope (such as triangular overlapping shapes and the shiny strip representing the glue strip which secures an envelope and conceals its contents) the pieces in my final year collection enclose a personal message, trying to find the balance between the feminine and masculine, containing the delicacy of colour in an enclosing structure and expressing the nature of a modern woman.

“My work is feminine and carries a personal message, encouraging the wearer to be empathetic and vulnerable in order to be in touch with her femininity.”

While I wish there were space for every artist and designer’s work here; finally we have Mhairi Buchanan who explained her work:

mhairi buchanan“Decomposition and Decay, my Fashion and Textile collection has been inspired by the decay of florals. Beauty is highly desirable in this day and age.

“I feel that we are too quick to discard items because they could be a little past their sell by date. My collection is digital images of dying flowers, that have been manipulated into arrangements to revive them, and make them beautiful again.

“With this in mind, I have created textiles that are embroidered with layers of digitally printed flowers. The skirts and tops have been designed with the idea that they can be worn at any occasion. Although they may look like ball gown attire, they are versatile and could be used as separates for any event.”

It’s quite a challenge for next year’s graduating class to equal this work; and we’ll see what they do, and where these talented designers will go – great things are expected of them all.

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May 132016

Neale Bothwell is one of several artists who exhibit at Under The Hammer on North Silver Street. The candlelit venue has hosted many group shows; Neale and I have been in group shows together there before, organised by local artist and WASPS studio member Keith Byers. This is Neale’s most recent exhibition at UTH. Suzanne Kelly interviews the artist.

Neale Bothwell oneSK – ‘There are 6 new pieces and one print which was exhibited in 2007. The work is abstract expressionism with bold colours dominating.’

NB – “I painted the new ones between last November and February this year. I found myself in a more workmanlike mode. A bit of discipline and structure to my approach. Normally I’ve tended to paint when it has felt… right like the right time. When everything is in place. 

“There was intensity to it. A more structured approach seems to have allowed me more freedom and a different kind of tension.”

We talk about the colours in the paintings.

NB – “I’ve always been fascinated by the way certain colours act with and work upon each other. My earlier works included black & white, brown & yellow, pale blue and dark brown. and even pink, gold and black. I’m enjoying using greens, blues and browns at the moment. Whatever captures my interest really.”

SK – ‘I note that in some of them, faces come out after you’ve looked at them for a while.’

NB – “It’s never intentional to begin with. If it is happening and it works, then fine. A good example of that is my piece titled “Bless My Soul” (detail, pictured). It took a long time, a lot of moving colours around the canvas. It began to feel right and start to make sense. Face, arms, all that was missing was a ‘mouth’. So I quickly finished off with a smile of sorts. Luckily it didn’t ruin the whole thing!

“Materials are affordable for me at present; I also got involved in situation at Market Street – a Chinese restaurant with lots of things lying about – it was the only place I could get any peace and quiet. We were trying to tart the place up. The materials were around.  I came upon a huge pile of big industrial cans of paints and some tinsel – and it just looked ready to go. I was in a basement, completely silent and bleak as hell.

“I was in a good mood to work in the silence and just went for it.  I exhibited it later; Peacock framed it for me.”

We talk about the disgraceful situation Peacock Visual Arts found itself in – through no fault of its own – and we both love the place and wish it well.

NB – “I was later painting in an attic, mainly using whatever colours caught my eye. I did one with tippex – sold it – very nice people.”

We talk about the print.

NB – “I was told to do collages by afriend. I thought I’d do it for a laugh but it was good advice really. I cut that image out – someone’s face – and painted it over, folded it up, tied it up with string and then 5 years later opened it up. Now it looks like all this trendy phone art that’s on the go now.

Neale Bothwell two“I’m really enjoying just moving paint around, making something pleasing.

“The red one – I just liked the colours and that’s how it turned out. 

“The green one – there was something about that one, just walking through the town – mud, rubbish, cracked pavement – passing tonnes of cranes with trucks flying about the place. 

“I went home and painted that  – I was in a punk rock kind of mood.  I put myself through the mill when I look at my own stuff.  I did one, looked at it for a couple of days, and rejected it.  But I did that one, and part of it caught my eye.  To me it’s modern, it’s contemporary, pleasing to the eye, but it’s got something going on.”

Neale talks me through more of his paintings; he painted one piece for the first time not in a silent atmosphere, but listening to music. The music impacted on how he used colour and his brush strokes. I recommend he keep using music (which I find indispensable when painting).

I keep seeing faces in these paintings.

NB – “The green one with the white bands that could look like teeth – it was a warm kind of painting going in that direction.

What informs my work? It’s colour, doing my own thing, and enjoying it. I enjoy painting; it’s a lovely experience.  It’s as close to a state of honesty as you can be is how I see it.”

We talk about some of the more gimmicky high-profile art prizes and whether or not they have much to do with painting. I mention the Glaswegian woman who got a Creative Scotland grant for… staying in Glasgow for a year without leaving the city limits.

NB – “It’s absolute rubbish; it’s little narcissistic kiddies getting it wrong every time. It’s like putting words in your painting. Gets my goat.”

We agree that a painting that needs a long explanation can’t be doing much talking itself.

NB – “The last artist in the Turner Prize nominee that I rated and thought had any gravitas was Gillian Carnegie; I remember her getting slated. Some artists lap up all the attention from the media and I don’t want to be too critical – but…”

We discuss how much craftsmanship some prizes-winning artists actually personally invest in their creations; we agree that some artists either don’t value craftsmanship in others – or pay others to carry out tasks they are not competent to do – yet want to put their name on a finished work they had little real hand in making.

NB – “I don’t even think too much about that kind of art. The artists if they are trying to make us understand more about certain things, I think it’s rather a bland way about going about it.”

We talk about Keith Byers the portrait painter who arranged this exhibition.

NB – “He’s a lovely guy; fantastic portrait painter. He’s been a great help.”

Neale Bothwell“I’m very much influenced by the punk spirit. I grew up with punk and it always stays with you. Follow your own path. And avoid people who use idiotic phrases like ‘cultural strategies’.

As for painters, I very much love the work of William Gear, Joan Eardley and Anne Redpath. Whether they influence my work, I don’t know, perhaps they do.

“They all manage to communicate the artist’s feeling in response to their subject. I think that is the best achievement for an artist. That’s what I try to do and hopefully keep it enjoyable to look at. I’d also like to thank Keith Byers and Colin at Under the Hammer for their continued support.

“I think it’s very important to show how you’re feeling at the time through your art. It’s a sweet little landscape and it worked because it was exactly how I felt at the time. I think if you can achieve getting that feeling over to the person viewing it, then that’s a success.  

“A lot of the stuff I do might be from immediate experience or some of it comes from somewhere in the past – you’re not always sure where it comes out from – I take everything I see, everything I’m feeling and just try to get it out in a certain way so if I can achieve people understanding exactly how it came about and what it means.  I think that’s the best intention of the whole thing.”

SK – ‘When you capture some kind particular feeling, some emotion and other people get it that means the art’s worked.’

NB – “It’s worked on a few occasions and it’s always been surprising people; and they’ve all been nice. I’ve pinpointed some people immediately go for (he points to a vibrant painting in the corner in reds and black).  The last exhibition there were two very simple landscapes; it was the combination of the colours I used and ‘a flick of the wrist’ – and most people went for it and I kept saying ‘the other one’s the better painting’ – people just saw it another way.

“I’m moving into more landscapes; I’m walking for miles every day with a dog; it’s a lovely environment to be in – down by the river. The movement of the land; the way the little roots of trees will form a little disjointed path; the nuances that go on – the importance of the landscape.”

Neale’s work is up for another few weeks at Under The Hammer.

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May 052016

Under_New_Moons_We_Stand_Strong2With thanks to John Morrison.

Inspired by science fiction scenography and the hardware of the “control society” (Deleuze, 1995, 1990; Burroughs, 1978), Under New Moons, We Stand Strong reflects on the meaning of solidarity, infrastructural literacy, and symbolism within digital-civic governance and society.

The piece is composed of a large-scale cardboard model of a CCTV camera with accompanying bird spikes. Spikes are most often positioned on top of cameras so as to ward off birds.

On the 3rd January 2016 the CCTV camera, positioned at the intersection of Autoroute 40 and Boulevard des Sources, in the West Island of Montreal, Quebec captured a stunning image of a Snowy Owl, in mid-air. Quebec’s Transport Minister Robert Poëti tweeted about the owl on January 7, and the province later released the captured video footage and images, which went viral.

Mythical, owls are considered as symbols of wisdom and intelligence, as well as guardians of the underworlds, protectors of the dead and seer of souls. A special edition print of the image of the Snowy Owl will be presented alongside the sculpture.

Drawing on various rituals and traditions on Sat 7th May, 20.00 the public are invited to take part in a procession of paper-based CCTV cameras starting at Peacock Visual Arts and continuing through Aberdeen city centre and onto the beach, where in ceremonial fashion the models will be set on fire.

Date: Thurs 5 – Sat 28 May 2016
Location: Seventeen, 17 Belmont St, AB10 1JR, Aberdeen
Procession: Sat 7 May, 8pm from Seventeen, 17 Belmont St, AB10 1JR, Aberdeen

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Apr 222016
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: The Brutalist Playground is the latest work by Turner Prize nominees Assemble with artist Simon Terrill at the RIBA on June 8, 2015 in London, England. The installation is open free to the public from 10 June to 16 August at the Architecture Gallery, RIBA, London. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for The Royal Institue Of British Architects (RIBA))

The Brutalist Playground is the latest work by Turner Prize nominees Assemble with artist Simon Terrill (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for The Royal Institue Of British Architects)

With thanks to John Morrison.

Peacock Visual Arts is delighted to host The Brutalist Playground by recent Turner Prize winners Assemble, and artist Simon Terrill, exploring post-war design for play, as part of Look Again Visual Art & Design Festival.

Brutalism was an architectural movement of the 1950s-70s, which aligned with a new socialist agenda.

Buildings were fortress-like in form, often of grand monolithic scale and designed to bring function to the flow of people populating them.

As such, Brutalism was predominately found in municipal buildings, educational institutions, shopping centres and high-rise housing. It is from the high-rise housing schemes and their surrounding social spaces and playgrounds that The Brutalist Playground takes its inspiration.

By recreating the post-war playground structures in soft pastel coloured foam The Brutalist Playground is an immersive and climbable installation – fun for all ages!

The installation was originally commissioned in 2015 by the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) and is accompanied by a film made by Simon Terrill using archival images from the RIBA’s archive

The Brutalist Playground is the centrepiece of Aberdeen’s Look Again Festival 2016, which celebrates bringing the very best in visual art and design to the city.

Assemble is a collective based in London which works across the fields of art, architecture and design. Its 18 members began working together in 2010. Assemble seeks to address the typical disconnection between public and the process by which public places are made championing a working practice that is interdependent and collaborative, seeking to involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the on-going realisation of the work.

Simon Terrill is an Australian artist living in London who works with photography, performance, sculpture, and installation as well as large-scale public works involving many hundreds of participants. He began working with Splinters Theatre in Canberra and went on to co-found Snuff Puppets Inc, a travelling performance troupe.

Following a BA in Sculpture and MA in Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, he lectured in Critical and Historical Studies (2005-08) and at the Centre for Ideas (2003-08), both at the VCA. In 2008, Terrill was awarded the Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship that enabled him to spend a year at the Slade in London. Recent exhibitions include Tilt, Sutton Gallery Melbourne, The Piranesi Effect, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Balfron Project II, 2 Willow Road, National Trust Ernő Goldfinger Museum.

Upcoming is the Creative Connections commission at the National Portrait Gallery that will feature the ninth iteration of his on-going Crowd Theory project, a series of photographic performance works which have previously featured sites including Balfron Tower (2010), the Port of Melbourne (2008), and Adelaide’s Victoria Square /Tarntanyangga (2013).

He is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and The Fine Art Society Contemporary, London, and currently lectures in photography theory at London South Bank University. In 2012, the publisher M.33 produced a monograph of his work titled Proscenium.

The Brutalist Playground:

Date: 28 April – 29 May 2016
Location: Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen.

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