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Writing for Other Artists

The Spookier School: (Anti-)Surrealism in Glasgow

This paper poses the question ‘What is Surrealism?’ from a particular vantage point: that of a practicing artist who has lived and worked in Glasgow since the turn of the twenty-first century. With reference to my own art practice, I will consider my troubled relationship with the category ‘Surrealism,’ as contingent with the specific trends of the Glasgow art-scene during this period and the broader international context.

In particular, I will address the apparent interest in surrealist methods demonstrated by Glasgow-based artists in the early 2000s (in opposition to the neo-conceptual and relational aesthetic genres that had placed prominent Glasgow artists on the international map in the previous decade). Whilst acknowledging the value of research into the historical surrealist movement (for shaping a more rigorous understanding of my practice), I will also recount my frustrations with the movement as they emerge in two areas: doubt regarding the ‘revolutionary’ power of the unconscious, and the potential valorisation of ‘linear’ narrative thinking – even in the domain of the ‘fantastic’. Read more →

Paintings with Legs

and the world is a white laundry,
where we are boiled and wrung
and dried and ironed,
and smoothed down’(1)

Inger Christensen

When I visit Lotte in her studio, and I look at one of her paintings, I see legs. These L-shapes have been made from cut-wood shapes smeared with ink, pressed against the calico to leave a mark (a sort of wood-cut, a sort of mono-printing). And all I can see is legs. But that seems like a heavy cumbersome word—“legs”—too cumbersome—and I keep the word to myself, until the artist says it—legs. Read more →

Lotte Gertz: New Work

Gertz’s latest series of paintings and prints were made in a studio that occupied the same space as her general living-area and are full of the sense of immediacy that results from an artist’s direct response to ‘close-at-hand’ materials and objects.

Gertz’s sources include those items she ‘stumbles-upon’ again and again in the intimate chaos that surrounds her as she works: a space where ‘living’ encroaches upon ‘making’, where  discarded playthings (a stuffed panda-toy or a wooden Pinocchio-figure) might be found side-by-side with DIY tools, painting and printmaking materials, half-eaten slices of fruit or cheese, still-to-be-drunk cups of tea, and photographs of famous artworks from books and magazines. Read more →

Divine Hangers: On the Critical Rigour of the Q-Q

They are lifeless lay figures pulled about by wire; they are cleverly put together, but the wood and the steel skeletons support merely stuffed puppets with whom the author deals most cruelly, jerking them into the strangest poses, contorting them…cutting up their bodies and souls – but because they have no flesh and blood all he can do is tear up the rags out of which they are made; all this is done with considerable historical and rhetorical talent and a vivid imagination; without these qualities he could not have produced these abominations. (qtd. Lukács, 1978: 94)

Goethe Read more →