Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Art is a Dynamic Relationship with the Environment

February 27, 2014

This review of the Environmental Art Festival Scotland which took place last year in Dumfries and Galloway has been published in the International eJournal of Creativity and Human Development: Art is a Dynamic Relationship with the Environment – Creativity & Human Development International eJournal.

In the Garden with Friends

February 26, 2014

We’ve been asked to share the following announcement:

In the Garden with Friends, with mosaics by Katy Galbraith. The Bield at Blackruthven, Blackruthven House Tibbermore PERTH, Scotland PH1 1PY. Saturday 5th – Saturday 26th April 2014, Closed Mondays

A celebration of flowers & friendship, this exhibition brings together a diverse mix of artists working in a variety of media.

Central to the exhibition is Katy Galbraith, a mosaic artist who works in primarily recycled materials. Flowers in abundance feature in much of Katy’s work, reflective of her love of her garden. But Katy’s art goes beyond the decorative, as she often employs mosaic to a more practical purpose by creating mirrors, table tops and garden sculptures and installations.

Katy has invited artistic friends who have supported and encouraged her over the last few years to participate in the exhibition. Many of the artists work in the applied arts; including stained-glass work, ceramics and, of course, mosaics. Others are photographers or painters, all with a personal connection to Katy.

Patricia Ace – Kate Anderson – Jo Cound – Allan Craig – Annette Forsyth – Lindy Furby – Sarah Honeyman – Dave Hunt – Gillian Hunt- Katharine Huggett – Jan Kilpatrick – Morag Lloyd – John Maguire – Tracy Markey – June McEwan – Helen Nock – Anna Olson – Concetta Perot – Lorna Radbourne – Lillian Sizemore – Rachel Sutherland – Norma Vondee – Ceri White

ceramics – felt – hand spinning – mosaic – painting – photography – poetry – printmaking – stained glass – textiles

Illuminating art, design and health

January 29, 2014

Originally posted on CHRIS FREMANTLE:

Lisa Pacini and Christine Istad,  Sun, 2012 - photo courtesy of Marres

Lisa Pacini and Christine Istad,
Sun, 2012 – photo courtesy of Marres

Two interesting trajectories across the need for light particularly in winter.  The one is a blog from the Wellcome Trust on research being undertaken by their Research Fellow, Dr Tania Woloshyn, on the history of phototherapy, and the other is an exhibition at Marres House for Contemporary Culture in the Netherlands entitled Winter Anti Depression where they have created an Art Resort, a sensory environment in response to the winter.

The idea that the lack of sunlight affects those of us living in northern climates is not new, and research into the history of treatments highlights the complexity of the amount of sunlight that is healthy.

The exhibition demonstrates a number of art and design approaches to activating the senses.  Different works explore different senses from textured surfaces that you feel through your feet, to sounds to cocoon…

View original 136 more words

Farm Tableaux

January 25, 2014

Farmers have been a recurring subject in art, perhaps more often in the background of a religious painting, bringing an edifying moral to the scene.  Their everyday lives have been the subject of poetry, including of course that of Robert Burns.  The Impressionists must be one of the foremost groups of painters to have addressed farming, probably as a result of getting out of Cities and being interested in the everyday and the visible rather than the sublime.

Sylvia Grace Borda’s project Farm Tableaux is a collaboration with Google Streetview photographer John M Lynch.  We get a different view of farming because although the image presented to you is framed when you start, the ability to pan, zoom and move around the space enables to you explore the Turkey Shed at Medomist Farm, or the Farm Shop at Zaklan Heritage Farm in a very different way.  You start in the Farm Shop but you can move out into the market garden plot and then onto the street – it seems to integrate with Google Streetview so suddenly you’re moving house by house through suburban BC.  If you back track you can go back into the farm and back into the shop.  If you explore the market garden you can find Sylvia taking a (different) picture.  Her face is blurred out according to the Streetview conventions.

Check it out at .  Give yourself some time to explore.


Open call STRANGE WEATHER at Science Gallery, Dublin

January 19, 2014

Strange Weather


Should we adapt to a world of Strange Weather, or attempt to prevent it? How can we model, control and even generate weather? How can we sustain our planet and human culture into the future?

“Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” ― Mark Twain

Calling all future forecasters, weather hackers and planetary visionaries: Science Gallery is seeking project proposals for our upcoming summer exhibition STRANGE WEATHER. To apply, read on or visit the STRANGE WEATHER website. The deadline to submit your ideas is 14.02.14.

What is really going on with the weather? How can scientists and designers help us understand weather systems? How can we understand and respond to climate change? STRANGE WEATHER is a curated exhibition that will bring together meteorologists, artists, climate scientists, cloud enthusiasts and designers to explore how we model, predict, and even create weather.

How has the human experience of weather changed over millennia, and how will it change in the next 50 years? Will future weather be more, or less predictable and controllable? Should we attempt to prevent a future of STRANGE WEATHER, or embrace it? From hurricanes to droughts, from cloud-seeding to greenhouse gases, weather is of greater concern than ever. What consequences and opportunities will arise from the changing weather of our planet?

Curated by CoClimate, this exhibition will challenge audiences with novel visions of a global culture adapting to extreme weather, and zooms in, to explore how STRANGE WEATHER will affect daily commutes, the governance of our cities, and even our fashion choices.

We are interested in works that offer a participative and interactive visitor experience for a broad age-range of visitors, especially those aged 15-25. We seek projects that inform, intrigue, provoke dialogue and engage audiences directly, making the complex and emotional topic of extreme weather and climate change more relevant to everyday experiences. In particular, we are looking for projects that connect massive planetary-scale systems to personal, localised and individual lived experience.

We are interested in receiving proposals on a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Tools for predicting and preparing for severe weather, climate change, and environmental change.
  • Climate change and the everyday: projects that respond to the consequences of climate change. e.g. how will climate change affect fashion, entertainment, transportation and education?
  • Examples and critiques of weather manipulation and GeoEngineering.
  • Tools for mapping the planet: from satellites, to ocean drones and weather balloons.
  • Designs that mitigate environmental change: architecture for migrating species, water management for more severe flooding, smog and air quality detection and prevention.
  • Future scenarios for cities, governance and culture on a changed planet.
  • Works that show how weather information is collected, compiled and disseminated.
  • Exhibits that speak to the social, cultural and political implications of strange weather and climate change.
  • Participatory experiences, field trips, site visits and workshops.
  • Scientific experiments that utilise data/participation from visitors.
  • Forecasting, not just of weather, but of many kinds of environmental patterns and change.
  • Your amazing project that is relevant to the theme ‘Strange Weather’.


  • CoClimate, a think tank that studies the technologies and tactics used for sculpting the biosphere of planet Earth
  • ​Michael John Gorman, Founding Director of Science Gallery and CEO of Science Gallery International
  • Martin Peters, Computational Scientist at the Irish Centre for High Energy Computing
  • Gerald Fleming, Head of Forecasting at Met Eireann


The open call will close at 12 midnight on Friday February 14th 2014. To apply visit our open call site. If you have any questions about the application process, please send them to

SCIENCE GALLERY, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
+353 1 896 4091

P.S. The curators tell me that there is a budget for selected artists to make the work.  Thanks to Aviva Rahmani for highlighting this call.  

Global Mapping: Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison

January 12, 2014
Ronald Feldman Gallery Home Page

Sierra Nevada, 2011
(installation view south gallery)
aerial photograph, digital mapping, pastel, oil, and ink
42 feet long x variable width

If you are in New York in the next month, this is a ‘must see’ show.

Press Release:

January 11 – February 8, 2014

[The Harrisons’] work is a prime example of the potential of ecoart to create knowledge that promotes cultural change. Ruth Wallen, Leonardo XLV, no. 3, 2012

Helen Mayer Harrison & Newton Harrison are the first recipients of the Corlis Benefideo Award for Imaginative Cartography, presented at the Annual Meeting of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) on October 9, 2013 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts will exhibit Global Mapping, an overview of the life-long work of Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, pioneers of ecologically-oriented art, whose visionary proposals have influenced long-term public policy in the United States and abroad. For more than forty years, the Harrisons’ expansive practice, realized in collaboration with experts from other disciplines and often commissioned by government and art institutions, has been to map out specific geographical areas at ecological risk to encourage public discourse and community involvement. Their impassioned works serve as both a meditation on global ecology and also as a futuristic vision, often with proposals for environmental change and recovery.

The Harrisons’ mapping – on large wall panels and synthesized with aerial photographs and narrative text of Socratic reasoning – dominates the exhibition space. The artworks are selected from large-scale installations of projects from the early seventies to the present. Similar in appearance to the wall panels, a floor panel allows the viewer to walk on a topographical map of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, a work from Force Majeure, the Harrisons’ current on-going series which addresses the effects of global warming on an unprecedented scale.

Earlier works, From The Lagoon Cycle (1974-1984), Law of the Sea Conference from the 1976 Venice Biennale, and Baltimore Promenade (1981), focus on watershed restoration, agricultural and forestry issues, and urban renewal, as well as providing a history of the Harrisons’ engagement with the topic of global warming.

Reflecting the Harrisons’ international perspective and the scale of their research, the exhibition includes projects that study the eco-systems of large bodies of water from around the world: the Sava River in former Yugoslavia, the Yarkon River in Israel, and the Salton Sea and the Bays at San Francisco in the state of California. Their titles often incorporate visual metaphor to define and unify the large geographical areas under consideration: A Vision for the Green Heart of Holland, Peninsula Europe, Greenhouse Britain, and Tibet is the High Ground.

Helen Mayor Harrison and Newton Harrison, Emeriti Professors in the Visual Arts at the University of California at San Diego and currently research professors at University of California at Santa Cruz, have been represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts since 1974. The recipient of numerous awards, they delivered the convocation address at the College Art Association 100th Year Anniversary Conference in 2011. They have exhibited internationally, and their work is in the collections of many public institutions including The National Museum of Modern Art, The Pompidou Center, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ronald Feldman Gallery Home Page.

BP Walk Through British Art?

November 26, 2013

Liberate Tate performance – photo: Liberate Tate

Liberate Tate challenges the oil majors’ social license to operate, questioning whether the cultural majors, Tate, Royal Opera House, etc, should have sponsorship relationships.  It’s not even charitable donations where there is no reciprocal benefit – sponsorship is precisely about business benefit.

In Edinburgh recently Bill McKibben held a rally for the Fossil Free campaign looking to get major institutions like the University and the Church of Scotland to divest their shareholdings in the fossil fuel industry.

Liberate Tate has done a number of performance pieces in the Tate in recent years, offering gifts, questioning procedures, holding the cultural institution to account.  This riff on the rehang, with the black figures relating the rise in CO2 levels starting with the industrial revolution and moving literally, room by room, decade by decade, to the present day, is pretty good.  The use of the context to provide the structure of the piece, the use of the human voice in a space which is normally hushed, a choir of catastrophe, focused on the need to create a cathartic climax after which we are all changed irrevocably.

Press Release: Liberate Tate stages performance at Tate Britain reopening focusing on BP sponsorship | Liberate Tate.

Go Fossil Free Tour

Final Straw

November 15, 2013

Final Straw by Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang, 26 November 2013, 5pm, Evolution House, ECA, West Port, Edinburgh.  Final Straw is a work in progress.  On the 26th there will be a panel discussion with Emily Brady, Mike Small and Ben Twist, Chaired by Chris Fremantle.

Tiny Geographies by Chris Dooks

November 12, 2013

Artist Chris Dooks has worked in 4 key locations, producing 4 short films of each area for Atomic Doric He has interviewed different people who connect with the places – young nature groups, walkers, rangers etc – recording sounds, photographing and filming with them.

Tiny Geographies has created several hours of material including interviews and photographs, field recordings and more. Watch the trailer here:

The film premieres Friday 29 November 2013, 7:30pm at Woodend Barn with support from Edinburgh’s Drew Wright aka Wounded Knee.

Morag McFarclane (69) author of idiosyncratic text ‘The Aberdeenshire Field Book of The Exhausted Artist’ [Wodebooks 1971] writes in the written programme which accompanies this film:

This short trailer previews artist Chris Dooks’ [near feature-length] Year of Natural Scotland commission “Tiny Geographies” – a project managed by Woodend Barn in Banchory, Aberdeenshire as part of the ‘Atomic Doric’ season of commissioned works by artists and musicians.

The experimental ethos of the film was to ascertain to what degree could diverse audiovisual footage be gathered from several accessible environments just a few square metres in size. These ‘tiny’ geographies were made to see if there was any advantage to being unable to scale a ‘Munro’ or even a small hill – and try and make the best of out limited energy.

Using DSLR-sourced montages alongside the latest fangled GoPro camcorder [shooting at high speed], with microphones and hydrophones, Dooks employs the technology as friend of the ‘exhausted practitioner’ to spy, scope-out and mine the environment without touching it – or as Chris says ‘the only thing I like to shoot a deer with, is a Nikon lens.’

Inspired by photographer David Liittschwager’s ‘One Cubic Foot’ nature project (see – the project is about depth over breadth and results in neither a ‘disability’ project nor a film about the extremes of exploring the wilderness. It’s about everyday people and everyday landscapes, but once peered into, there’s nothing everyday about either.

Over two months, digital montages of the areas were shot to a soundtrack sourced from over forty interviews with the public across national parks, reserves and estates in Aberdeenshire. Questions were asked of willing interviewees to use their answers as musical and regional source material. This large degree of public engagement has resulted in a work resembling something between a kind of sensory documentary and a suite or ‘movements’ akin to seasonal changes in the environment or a kind of extended overture to a particular (even peculiar) slice of Scotland.

A thin sliver of Chris’s personal life also makes it into the final cut not just because of the ease of clearing images of people and woodland wanderers, but also because this is not a cold ethnographic study of accents and hills.

Five areas were chosen, each a few miles from each other (and one fifty miles further) where the different technologies are part of this beautifully strange world.

The film was shot primarily over Aberdeenshire; Glen Tanar Estate near Aboyne, The Linn of Quioch near Braemar, Tomnaverie Stone Circle near Tarland, Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve near Dinnet and St Cyrus National Nature Reserve near Montrose.


Creative Scotland

Aberdeenshire Council: Be Part of the Picture

Visit Scotland

Project managed by Woodend Barn, Banchory

with support from Discover Royal Deeside and Cairngorms


from December 2013

All material © Chris Dooks 2013

The Archivist

November 4, 2013
The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

The Archivist with George Wyllie’s Spire, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

How do you represent ideas that are far away, remote or don’t exist yet? The Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS) was spread across rural Dumfries and Galloway, but its ambition was to represent environmental art ideas from much further afield.

Exhibitions of ideas in the form of documentation can be very problematic, even if they include models and drawings, photographs and plans, video and archives. They can frankly end up being dry and boring for anyone not deeply interested in the ephemera of environmental and social practices.

Two artists addressed this challenge beautifully for the Festival. Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman came up with a genius solution by assuming that this was a performative problem rather than a problem of display.  They describe The Archivist as a collaboration with performer David Giblin.

We met The Archivist at the village hall in Gretna Green, just across the road from one of the tackiest parts of the Scottish tourism industry – the Old Blacksmith’s Shop.

The Archivist had his audience in the palm of his hand. He was talking to a group of school children, introducing them to the Archive. He was elegantly dressed in a frock coat and cravat, clearly channelling the antiquarian who has researched the obscure world of artists and designers working on environmental issues. Dumfries and Galloway is of course home turf for antiquarians, researching the monuments of neolithic, bronze and iron age, and Celtic cultures.  But the school children were entranced and more importantly engaged with complex ideas and creativity. What more could you ask for?

The Archivist was showing them one of George Wyllie’s (1921-2012) Spires. He captured Wyllie’s spirit in his demonstration of the simple idea of equilibrium.

George’s spires which, from 1982 onwards, he positioned throughout the UK as well as Europe and the US too, celebrated “the places on which they stood. The spire was a very basic structure with the rod going upwards, counterbalanced by a stone and set on a tripod of steel or wood to enable it to move about, like the sails of a ship. In simple rhythm with nature and without complications, the spire freely compromises itself to praise the planet. Air, Stone, Equilibrium, Understanding.” (from the George Wyllie website)

The Archivist had a large, velvet lined trunk next to him which was filled with ideas in the form of iconic ephemera. You could ask him about any of them and he’d pull out the object and set it on the elegant and slightly anachronistic brass tripod. He’d demonstrate how the particular thing might work, explain what it meant and ask his audience about their ideas.

Another example from his trunk was a model of a high voltage electricity transmission pylon covered in vegetation, a proposal by Andrea Geile who is concerned with “replacing lost forests and ever decreasing eco-systems by colonising existing man made structures in the environment.”  For a full list of the ideas that The Archivist was working with see the EAFS website.

Usually it’s performance that is the problem, the thing that can only be experienced through documentation. This reversal, using performance as a means to release new life in artworks which only exist as ideas, succeeds because it focuses on the interpersonal experience. These types of ideas are normally shared and discussed in small groups working to make them happen. It’s in discussions between artists, curators and producers, clients and funders, that these ideas are brought to life, literally brought to reality in often long process of negotiation and project development.  The Archivist was using one of the methods that normally exists in that process – the maquette.  A maquette is a model for a sculpture.  Everything in The Archivist’s trunk was a maquette for an idea, i.e. not necessarily literally a miniature of the proposed work, but rather a useful physical manifestation of the idea (the two highlighted above are literally maquettes).

Within the territory of the visual and applied arts, it is usually the artist’s voice which is foregrounded, and if not the artist’s then the curator/producer is the interlocutor of choice.  To involve a performer to represent the ideas of a visual artist is provocative, but what it necessitates is the foregrounding of methodology and the clarity of the idea.  Environmental and social practices are perhaps more interested in the pedagogical dimensions of the work, and also owe more of a debt to performance art for their aesthetic, as Claire Bishop has recently suggested.

If there is a key reference point for this as a work in itself, it is surely Allan Kaprow’s Gallery in a Hat.  As I remember it Kaprow would approach someone in a bar for instance and say “Would you like to see the gallery in my hat?”  He’d proceed to take objects out of the hat and relate the stories associated with each.  Kaprow’s work in turn relates back to dadaist and surrealist poetry created by pulling words or phrases out of a hat (and of course to William Burroughs’ Cut-Up technique).

We look forward to meeting The Archivist again.

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

Chris Fremantle’s review of the Environmental Art Festival Scotland will be published in the International e-Journal of Creativity and Human Development (the link will be updated when the article is published).

You can contact Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman to explore how The Archivist might help you with communicating your ideas to your audiences through Jo’s website.


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