Sunday, 12 March 2017


PHOTOGRAPHY is everwhere right now - Stills, National Portrait Gallery, Street Level, and GSA and …
and at Glasgow Women’s Library 
          WildFires is a new collective or network of female photographers working in Scotland. Initiated by Dr. Katherine Parhar, who teaches at Napier, the group’s first exhibition, WHEN THE LIGHT SHIFTS, is on display at Glasgow Women’s Library until 1st April. I went along to the packed-out opening. It was introduced by MARY ANN KENNEDY, who joined a team to established Scotland’s degree programme in photography at Napier University. 

 And despite an exhibition space cut in 3, 
it’s well worth a look. It’s also aided by a great website funded by Edinburgh’s Napier University. Here u can find lots of useful info on the artists. I will use some snapshots to give u the idea, but do look up to see the real thing. So - why wild-fires? I assume because the group initiated only last September took off so fast! …. hence the name I guess.  And why a network?? Katherine told Document Scotland, (I have pinched her reply from there )  As a historian, I’ve spent a lot of time looking back to recover the work of female photographers who were not acknowledged, collected, or written about by the institutions and individuals who decide what makes ‘History’ in the history of art and photography. I’ve been to all sorts of conferences and events that gathered together people like me. Yet the balance, for working photographers, hasn’t shifted much. In the British Journal of Photography, in this decade (so far), only 20% of the projects featured are by women. In the 1970s, that was 4%So I began to think, how can I apply my energies to creating a living structure that promotes and records the women where I work, in Scotland? 
 I asked a few friends to the pub to see what they thought – or to decide if we even needed one. Would we create exhibitions? A journal? A website? Or books? Over 20 women turned up and now we have all these things under one name: WildFires. We also have a pop-up projection at OCAD in Canada so we’re international already. And we have a book coming soon. 
This is amazingly the first ever show surveying contemporary photography by women in Scotland. 
The range is huge.  From portraits by by Hannah Laycock
to community projects by Mairead Keating 
to more looking at community housing by Gina Lundy: West Hendon (on a blind) 

and projects done in the community by Iseult Timmermans. She has been working working since graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1995She established an Artist-run exhibition space in Glasgow’s West End (e-space@java) in the 90’s: a community space at the towering Red Road Flats (2009 – 2012)

 & co-ordinated Street Levels Open Access Facilities and courses within Trongate 103. 
She says she likes to make installations and here is a perfect one: in the upstairs window. It shows a necklace of miniature guns and arms, representing how women carry the weight of conflict wherever they go.  

Camera themselves feature -
along with empty rooms  
    and the mind's Private Rooms by Catherine Cameron

and this very powerful nude image from Helen Jones, perhaps one of the the most memorable there, along with Laycocks' self portrait. .
ALICIA BRUCE’s work sits between documentary and staged imagery with a main emphasis on portraiture.  Her Digging for Diamonds series documenting allotments in Banchory went on to Brussels & the EU Pt.  She tackled the Trump invasion in Aberdeenshire too! (her wk on LHS of her.)

MARY ANN KENNEDY moved from a commercial studio in London to Edinburgh to join a team setting up Scotland’s degree programme in photography at Napier.  As a founding member of Photography Workshop (Edinburgh)/and at the wonderful much missed Portfolio Gallery she ran the educational bookshop, developed and taught workshops, organised conferences, installed exhibitions and assisted with the to-be-international publication Portfolio.

She too is looking at the American Dream! 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

ANTHONY GREEN. RA. at the Royal Academy London

Looking back with Anthony Green, RA is a treat! 
What a delight and intrigue this installation is! 
Anthony Green, famous for his irregularly shaped canvasses and quirky scenarios of his own middle-class domestic life with his beloved wife, 
has here given us a panoply of his mother's second marriage in 1955, seen thro his own 13 year old eyes. 

Nothing is missed. The silk scarf, handbag, the awful 'modern' fireplace & clock, oval mirror, burgundy eiderdown and fringed waste paper bucket. It is a perfect period piece.  
The gallery/room is full of vibrant, colouful paintings, and eccentric cutouts, little side tables for her watch, lipstick, vase, letters, pink powder puff and hair brush. 
Her ashes are in a pink & white sculptural drum created by Green to replace the screw-top canister he got after cremation. 
The centre piece - a 3D, 3 metre oil, The Fur Coat, features his mother, life size in her actual precious mink coat - then the height of luxury & sign of success. 
Green came to appreciate his stepfather Stanley, a fish merchant who could stand on his head and taught him how to saw. 
I loved everything about this touching, sweet, crazy memorial. It pulls at the heart strings like nothing else. Happily one of the watercolours Embassy Lodge, 1990 is a study for the painting now in Glasgow Museums.  
How lucky mum Madeleine was, to be so loved by her only child and so well remembered and charmingly memorialised. 
Green, RA studied at the Slade and has exhibited at the RA for 51 consecutive years.  His works often use compound perspectives and polygonal forms.  The show celebrates his 40th anniversary as RA. 
The celebration also includes a show at Green's CHRIS BEETLES Gallery in Ryder St, St James's near the RA. 
Here u can get the full force of his amazing paintings with their exuberant, joyous antics and unusual configurations. 

Every detail is there for u to enjoy. A visual feast. 
Here his wife Mary is also celebrated by her husband in paint oozing with affection and total understanding. She is a lucky lady too. 
                                               A total joy. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017


A great week. Loved the DAVID HOCKNEY at the TATE. 
Now he is so popular there have been too many snide comments. He is 80 and full of life, working every day. Thank god for that,

The show is chronological, full of his big hits like his parents, Bigger Splash and Geldzahler etc 


Not enough of his superb drawings - portraits of friends in the 1960s, 

and strangely few of his recent painted portraits from LA. 
However - why carp? The show is exhilarating with its bold colour and experimental videos. Yorkshire landscapes have never looked better.  
Spring Summer Autumn Winter in Yorkshire - a joy. 

via video or paint 

On to the ROYAL ACADEMY for the opening of a huge show of RUSSIAN ART 1917-1932 where folk like Kandinsky and Malevich are buried in a mass of peasants, Lenin and factory workers.
A good deal of ceramic plates and such are included, and are surprisingly interesting. Take a day to see it properly. 

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 

★ ★ ★ ★ "A voyage of discovery"  Evening Standard
Now, 100 years after the Russian Revolution, which lead to the rise of the Soviet Union, this exhibition brings together painting, film, photography and graphic work, all born out of a period of intense creativity followed by mounting repression. Watch the the exhibition trailer.

Also at the ROYAL ACADEMY is a small gem of a show from ANTHONY GREEN. 

More in a minute - I am off for a coffee!