Things I have seen with my eyes

Sara Barker – The Faces of Older Images

Just caught the last of Sara’s show at the v. New Yorky new Mary Mary space. Thank you Hannah.

“This exhibition brings together a group of four wall based relief sculptures, Barker’s most elaborate and monumental in the series of tray ‘trench-works’ she has been producing for a number of years. Blurring the lines between painting, drawing and sculpture, the works sit between image and three dimension, like hybrid etching plates for collecting colour and reference or a ‘finds tray’ from an archeological dig for organising and grouping.

The works behave like portals looking out to an ancient landscape – it’s crafting and cultivation, where the brazed metalwork itself appears industrial and machine-like, and imagery, pattern and colour act as signifiers of people and place. In Barker’s work there is a drama in light and dark, reflection and fluidity through her use of materials, with the observation of line, texture and colour of landscape, evolved from her interest in the Modernist linkage to landscape in literature.

The work here also shows the influence of Japanese ink paintings and print, where strong black borders outline images of the exterior world and motifs. So too does it look to the Medieval woodcuts and the illustrations of William Blake, with images that relate to hieroglyphics or script. In this sense there is a looking back to a traditional past, to the nature of hand-work, crafting and making, and a connection to a modern future.

In each of the four works, pattern and line acts as code, spelling out something half materialised. Appearing in part like illustrative plates, fresco, tarot cards or flags, each offers a distorted journey, our view of the abstract and figurative blurred. As a result, in their use of fragmented imagery and complexly constructed layers and mark making, the work feels coded and encrypted with no set narrative or straight read.”

GoMA – umpteen things to see last week

The excuse was UoC Institute of the Arts education of the minds of others, the host was a possibly frazzled Will Cooper. Thank you to an exhausted GoMA for a terrifying, hilarious yet ultimately edifying insight into curatorial life.

Starting from the top – hit it!

Abstract (2012) Hito Steyerl

Polygraphs is a group exhibition, centred around Abstract by Hito Steyerl, which explores truth, fiction and evidence in a complicated world.  Artists are often witness to a changing global environment and their role within that is to document, ask questions and create layers of meaning to engage audiences with current international discourses.

Despair (2009) Stephen Sutcliff

Stephen Sutcliffe: Work from the Collection is a solo exhibition by the Glasgow-based artist Stephen Sutcliffe. Glasgow Museums recently purchased five works by Sutcliffe for the City’s collection and this is the first time the films, photographs and wall drawings will be exhibited in GoMA. We are delighted that Sutcliffe has lent us two further works to mark his first solo show at the gallery, which follows major commissions for the Manchester Art Festival and Edinburgh Art Festival this year.

Sutcliffe’s work draws upon an extensive personal archive of broadcast material and printed ephemera that he has collected over a number of years. He is interested in the use of the archive and his collection also includes the New Yorker, where he takes inspiration from the cartoons of Saul Steinberg, amongst others, for his wall drawings and photographs.

In his films recordings from television, cinema and radio are edited together to make poetic new works that focus on anxiety, self-doubt and the creative process. His careful editing of sound and image creates an awkwardness or interruption, which is often humorous at first glance, but can become quite dark and satirical, revealing an interest in the subversion of dominant narratives about communication, power and class.

Despair (2009), Plum (2012), Come to the Edge (2003), No (After Steinberg) (2011) and Untitled Wall Drawing Selected Errors (2011) were purchased for Glasgow Museums using the Contemporary Art Fund with assistance from the National Fund for Acquisitions (NFA) and the Art Fund​.

Sarah Forrest, The Pot, 2015

TASTE! is an exhibition of artworks from Glasgow Museums’ collection displayed alongside material from our archive, exploring how collections are built, artworks are commissioned, and exhibitions are organised. By hanging artwork and archive together, TASTE! suggests that object and idea are of equal importance and offers the exhibition as a space to enjoy, question and discuss the value of art.

Few things can cause controversy in the way that contemporary art can. From unmade beds to piles of bricks, the objects, processes and concepts behind modern and contemporary art are undoubtedly challenging. Since opening its doors in 1996, GoMA has, like the work its shown, sometimes been a controversial place. Once notorious for not including artists emerging from Glasgow in the early to mid-90s in favour of popular, figurative artworks, much of what has been shown here has divided opinion.  Now GoMA can pride itself on being a forward thinking, progressive collecting institution with one of the strongest and most diverse collections of Contemporary Art in the UK, holding a wide range of works from cutting edge performance art to internationally significant photography and video.

This exhibition will, for the first time, place works together to create a snapshot of our collecting history, with some never before seen archive material expanding on GoMA’s rich history.

And finally…

Marlie Mul: This exhibition is cancelled

Turns out the exhibition really was cancelled:  Marlie Mul: This exhibition is cancelled 
“This would have been Marlie Mul’s first exhibition in Scotland, however after careful consideration the artist has cancelled the exhibition.
There is no exhibition.
Except for large billboard posters that advertised the exhibition’s cancellation, the gallery is empty.
While there is no exhibition, visitors are welcome to continue to use the gallery space.
Proposals for using Gallery 1 for your own activities are now closed as the calendar of events is full. Many thanks for the overwhelming response to using the gallery while Marlie Mul’s exhibition is cancelled.
The exhibition is cancelled is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation and The Mondriaan Fund. “



Oresteia: This Restless House @ the Citz

Now this is more like it. Four and a half hours of angst and bloody violence. Some of row B didn’t know where to look. Utterly jaw dropping, kinda unbelievable was the energy of this thing. Actors must be off their trollies at times, it seems impossible to climb down from this level of commitment and get your bus hame. Thank you to CS for a brutal birthday present! More on the production here.


This Young Vic production, directed by Simon Stone, had been getting raves so I popped along to a local live screening. It’s impossible to not be wowed by Billie Piper’s Her, and the staging is impressive and yet and yet… the contemporary dialogue is a little too predictable. I wonder if Federico García Lorca’s original power is lost in 2017? Baby madness. It happens I guess…

Jac Leirner – Add It Up

Popped in to the Fruitmarket to see this (superbly installed I should add) show. Upstairs was more interesting than down – smoking allowed. More on the show here.

Carradale and the Mull of Kintyre


Off on a road trip with S, to track down the home of Naomi Mitchison. And we were denied access to Carradale House, so had to make do with a caravan park owner bored of folk asking, two grumpy dogs and a decent cat. Emergency bird book bought in Campbelltown added facts to speculation, Saddell Abbey carvings were wowed at, Carradale beach filmed as Mars, a puncture at the Tayinloan to Gigha ferry, scones… you get the drill. There’s a Linda Maccartney Memorial Garden which features a statue to rival Ronaldo’s.


Peggy Awesh

An email has told me that at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival this year, this will be happening:

‘New York-based artist Peggy Ahwesh‘s first major presentation in the UK will include an exhibition and three screenings devoted to her vast span of work from the 1980s to the present. In a career that began with Pittsburgh punk and working on set with the late George A. Romero, Ahwesh’s practice uses the innovative, the hilarious, to explore a broad range of questions about artists’ filmmaking and history, documentary strategies, collage, feminism, queerness, punk, transgression, improvisation, childhood, adaptation, humor, hypnosis, video game and internet culture, addiction, pornography, and more.
Ahwesh will be present in Berwick for the Festival to introduce one of the most varied and sublime bodies of work in the field of artists’ film and video.’

Woo hoo! Here are two of her works, chosen at random and both blindingly great…

From Romance to Ritual (1985)

The Third Body (2007)

More on Berwick here.

Ahwesh on UbuWeb here.



Here are various Momus links, mostly sleeping…


Click Opera

Early LPs to listen to and sigh are here.

Spiders vs. Bee

Watch Spiders vs. Bee.

No one dies.

Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction

Popped into the Barbican (a beautiful Ballardian thing if there ever was) on Friday for Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction. Really, I went to see Terence Broad’s autoencoded version of Blade Runner (an fascinating formal exercise – watch a clip of it here), but there were other treats too – a suit that once contained John Hurt, a model made for Silent Running by Doug Turnbull, the stunning, lush, smooooooth Invisible Cities # Part 1 # Metabolism by Pierre-Jean Giloux. A range of plug-ins from Cronenberg’s eXistenZ

More on the Barbican website here.