As regular followers will know, the Red Road Underground Exhibition was made possible largely through very generous donations from friends and supporters, but also because spaces such as the New Glasgow Society came virtually free (we are giving a donation to the NGS for all their support and help, but the space itself, was free). Like many artists in Glasgow Chris Leslie and I are able to put on shows for very little money, and with no entrance fee, because the city has bred a cooperative, no-low budget art scene. It’s proved fruitful, given how the arts are booming. And in the austerities of a recession, free art and music is an important compensation for artists and audiences alike.

The new Glasgow City Council Entertainment licensing rules, which come into force on 1st April, are an interpretation by GCC of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act of 2010. It could mean that small exhibitions such as ours would need a license costing anywhere between £124 to £7,500. Worse, the level of bureaucracy, and time needed to go through all of the different stages of securing the license would in turn, incur additional expenses, potentially fatal errors and huge delays. What has been a dynamic cultural scene (that GCC is frequently very happy to reap kudos for, mark you) could grind to a halt overnight. And that’s not to mention the effect on community groups, small fairs and the like.

The Scottish Government guidelines make it clear that the extent to which the legislation is implemented is at the council’s discretion. GCC’s justified war against dodgy tanning salons and the gangsters who own them has led, apparently, to the universal application of the licence. It’s akin to one of those cartoons where a character tries to kill a pesky fly by blowing up the entire village.

Some reading for you:

The council’s briefing note on the changes

A Herald Article in which Phil Miller (no relation) shakes his head in disbelief…

…and Culture Squawk’s inimitable, er, squawk on the matter…

The GOOD NEWS is that far from being all fey and ineffectual, us arty types in the city have mobilised. At least 1,000 artists and musicians have signed up on the Facebook group to attend the public meeting this Saturday (I’m going to try and pop in before our artists talks at RRU that day), press has already been scathing and MPs/MSPs/Councillors will have had a fair raft of letters the last few days. There is a also a petition I hope you will consider signing.

Let’s try and nip this latest exercise of pointless bureaucracy in the bud!

Advertisements


(Image courtesy of Chris Leslie, ©Chris Leslie 2012)

Red Road Underground is the culmination of several years of work by artists Chris Leslie and Mitch Miller in documenting the final days of the Red Road housing scheme in Glasgow.

Through photography, film and illustration their work examines the lives of those who lived in the city’s most striking modern housing development. Based on in-depth interviews with current and ex-residents, and exclusive access to sites now closed off to the public, their work offers a unique take on the legacy of the flats. We have been invited to exhibit at the recently revamped New Glasgow Society gallery in February 2012, to coincide with the demolition of the first two slab blocks in Spring 2012. The show Red Road Underground will show previously unseen material concerned primarily (but not exclusively) with the underground leisure complexes built at Red Road. This included a massive underground bingo hall and a nautically themed bar called The Brig. Both of these sites have been closed since the 1990’s.

Exhibition runs from February 1st to March 2nd at the New Glasgow Society, 1307 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8TL. Opening hours 11 – 5 (Closed Sundays)

EXHIBITION OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION
This Friday the 3rd February at 7pm – 10 pm. Come along for a wee shandy…

Other Events this month:

Saturday 18th February, 2-5pm
(PUBLIC EVENT, FREE) Red Road Beneath the Surface: Artists Talks with Chris Leslie, Mitch Miller and Alison Irvine, author of This Road is Red.

Artists Chris Leslie and Mitch Miller welcome novelist Alison Irvine, author of This Road is Red.  Working through their respective disciplines of photography, illustration and the novel, all three artists have responded to the challenge of depicting the complex and rich history of the Red Road Flats. Here they will discuss how they approached the subject matter, the challenges (and opportunities) of working in such an environment and how the finished work reflects their experiences. There will also be an opportunity to buy copies of This Road is Red and have them signed by the author.

Friday 2nd March, 6.30-8.30pm
(PUBLIC EVENT, FREE) The Roots of Red Road: Discussing the wider legacy of the Red Road Flats.

Join Johnny Rodger, lecturer in History + Theory at the Mackintosh School of Architecture (GSA) and special guests Dr Miles Glendinning (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Florian Urban (Mackintosh School of Architecture) for debate and discussion on the wider cultural and political legacy of the Red Road Flats. When architect Sam Bunton dreamed of American style tower-blocks in 1960s Barmulloch he both identified with and distinguished himself amongst a pan-European trend for Modernist high rise residential developments. Now regarded by many as a wrong turn in urban planning and housing policy, the legacy of High Rise continues to provoke strong feelings and lively debate. A chance to hear from the experts on how Glasgow fits into the wider history of modernist architecture, and put your own questions to the panel.

Thanks to the kind support and assistance of friends, supporters, colleagues – and many of you – Chris Leslie and I shall be going to the ball. Or rather, we shall be going to the New Glasgow Society, to exhibit our work for Red Road Underground.

Red Road Underground will show previously unseen material concerned primarily (but not exclusively) with the underground leisure complexes built at Red Road.

The show is open from 1st February 2nd March, and open Monday to Saturday 11-5pm, but we also have some very special events planned throughout the run of the show, and we’d love to see you there! There is a private view for supporters (which include blog readers) at NGS on the 2nd February from 7pm. The other events are open to all:

Red Road Beneath the Surface: Artists Talks with Chris Leslie, Mitch Miller and Alison Irvine, Saturday 18th February, 2-5pm, (PUBLIC EVENT, FREE)

Artists Chris Leslie and Mitch Miller welcome novelist Alison Irvine, author of This Road is Red. Working through their respective disciplines of photography, illustration and the novel, all three artists have responded to the challenge of depicting the complex and rich history of the Red Road Flats. Here they will discuss how they approached the subject matter, the challenges (and opportunities) of working in such an environment and how the finished work reflects their experiences. There will also be an opportunity to buy copies of This Road is Red and have them signed by the author.

The Roots of Red Road: Discussing the wider legacy of the Red Road Flats, Friday 2nd March, 6.30-8.30pm (PUBLIC EVENT, FREE)

When architect Sam Bunton dreamed of American style tower-blocks in 1960s Barmulloch he both identified with and distinguished himself amongst a pan-European trend for Modernist high rise residential developments. Now regarded by many as a wrong turn in urban planning and housing policy, the legacy of High Rise continues to provoke strong feelings and lively debate. Join Johnny Rodger and Dr Florian Urban of the History + Theory at the Mackintosh School of Architecture (GSA) and Dr Miles Glendinning Dr of the Scottish School of Conversation Studies, Edinburgh College of Art for debate and discussion on the wider cultural and political legacy of the Red Road Flats.

For more information on the project and the show, visit www.redroadunderground.co.uk

A couple of years ago, artist, Polymash and genius at large Chris Dooks gave me a huge leg up into exhibiting my visual efforts with a joint show at Market Gallery.

(He is not, incidentally, to be confused with equally estimable Chris Leslie. I just seem to have a tendency to work with people called Chris or Jo(h)nny. Really don’t know why, but if I ever write an autobiography I might call it Chrises I have met and Johnnies I have known (although looking at that in black and white, it would probably give a lot of people the entirely wrong idea)).

Getting back to business (as quickly as humanly possible), while this hardly repays the favour, I’d like to point you to Chris’ (Dooks’) brilliant psychogeographical web-pilgrimage around Edinburgh based on that very Scottish subject of religion.

In fact, I order you to look at it. That’s all – on you go…

Sort of. There are exactly twelve days to go until the end of the campaign to fund the Red Road Underground exhibition. The show will be held at the New Glasgow Society gallery in Partick in February this year, and is a joint collaboration with the filmmaker and photographer Chris Leslie.

All the funds we raise go directly to the cost of making prints, flyers and admin for the exhibition at the gallery run by New Glasgow Society in Patrick. The NGS is a charity that promotes public interest in and care for the history and character of Glasgow, and did a great deal to prevent the demolition of many historic tenements during the demolition-happy days of the 70s and 80s. We’re delighted to have been asked to exhibit, but as a voluntary (if distinguished) organisation, their resources are limited. So unfortunately, are ours. We are taking no fees or funds for this show – we just want the chance to show the public what we’ve been doing at Red Road these past couple of years, in a really great exhibition space that will allow us to show the artworks off at their best.

So far we have raised $755 dollars, which will help somewhat, but still falls far short of what we need to cover at least the minimal costs.

So, I’m not in the habit of making appeals, but if any of you have enjoyed this blog so far, and have a spare 6 or 7 quid or so (which I do understand is often not the case in January) then I’d be very grateful if you’d consider a visit to our campaign site and looking at how you can donate, and the gifts that we’ll give you in return for that. By gifts I mean receiving exclusive art prints, films and DVD souvenirs, all limited edition. You will also be listed as a patron and sponsor of the show, and be offered our firstborn to do with as you please (only two of those three perks are actually true…)

To get a sense of what you will see at the exhibition (and to finally see the latest dialectogram of The Bingo at Red Road!) visit www.redroadunderground.co.uk, and if that should inspire you, then here’s the link to indiegogo again – www.indiegogo.com/Red-Road-Underground-Exhibition .

For those who don’t like Indiegogo/want to stay anonymous, please do feel free to contact me directly on the ‘Get Involved’ page of this site  – I can still hook you up with a nice thank you gift from either myself or Chris!

In any case, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of you who have read the blog, contributed comments and offered up ideas and words of support over the past year. A Happy New Year and all the best for 2012 – here’s a ‘minigram’ of the Brig for your pains!

Mitch

On the 25th of November, I exhibited at One Night Stand, a one-night-only show at the Telfer Gallery with Mag Chua, Sarah Laing, Stuart McAdam and Minka Stoyanova, curated by Dane Sutherland. The show was a culmination of a very short two week residency we were invited to participate in, which began with no fixed ideas and in a sense, ended that way too.

The work on display was a varied and interesting take on what exhibitions do;  Sarah’s beautiful floor drawing that offered the dilemma of whether to talk on it or jump over it, Minka’s ingenious webcam summit, Mag’s solicitous offer of handwarmers and Stuart’s distillation of the whole art-opening experience. As for myself, I decided on a you-know-what, with a bit of a difference;

(Thanks to Mag for the photographs – I can’t take pictures for toffee. Or fudge, marzipan or nougat, now you come to mention it)

As you can see, I did this on perspex with fine permanent marker- an interesting experience! If nothing else, perspex is slippery stuff.

The idea was to create a drawing in three stages. The first is this one here – which depicts the past 13 days of discussion in the gallery itself. You can see that better on this picture;

The perspex was hung from the ceiling, which created an initial illusion of it being hung on the wall. A second perspex sheet, with just a basic floorplan drawn out was provided on a table and chairs in the gallery itself – you can see here how it was laid out (if you ignore the grinning fool to the right).

All the visitors on the night (and there were loads!) were free to use the marker pens provided to add their own notes, drawings and experiences to this plan, hopefully taking the original as a cue. You can see the result here (this is my photograph and is, as a result, rubbish) after I hung the second sheet over the first at around 9.30 in the evening.

What you can hopefully see here is that of course, many people effectively ‘drew over’ my original drawing. Some tried to be ‘dialectographic’ themselves; others drew cartoons, silly stuff and so on, all of which is fine and to be expected perhaps, at an event that was a not always comfortable mixture of opening night and exhibition. From a ‘fine art’ perspective the result was perfectly alright and visually interesting in itself. From a design perspective rather problematic, as the drawing lost its readability.But as an experiment, it was hugely valuable and has given me plenty to think about in terms of making the drawing process more collaborative and open. This will not be the last time I use perspex…

Firstly, I have to pass on the bad news that my recently completed drawings of the undergound Bingo and Brig Bar will not be available on this site…yet. I have been collaborating with Chris Leslie on Red Road Underground, a major part of which consists of a website. I have been asked to hold back on publishing my drawings here, until that is officially launched. Once it is, I will put full commentaries and notes up on here immediately, so do please keep checking!

In the meantime, we could use your help… to tie in with Red Road Undergound we have an exhibition of our work scheduled for February 2012 at the New Glasgow Society. We will be showing our latest pieces, based on our work at the  underground Bingo and the Brig Bar, and are still raising funds to aid with printing and staff cover.

So if you have some Christmas presents to buy, and would like to help us out, click on the image below to go to our IndieGogo campaign and donate! We have a range of prints and artworks available for high quality download in return for your assistance, as well as films and explanatory literature.We need to raise about £3000 to do the exhibition properly, but every little helps, so whatever you can manage would be gratefully received, and guarantee you a credit as an exhibition patron!

Last week I met Stuart MacMillan, keen student of Glasgow’s pubs (not in the sense that usually implies, mind you…). I’ll tell you more about my meeting with him, and what that portends soon, but for now, I shall reveal that Stuart is a dab hand with digital software and digital imaging and has, very kindly, provided me with this zoomable version of the Niven’s drawing. It’s dead simple and intuitive, and will hopefully be applied to other Dialectograms soon. Just click on the drawing to be taken to the new version.

 

So, the next Dialectogram is very (very) imminent – so while you wait, and because you never asked for it, here’s another postcard sized illustration from the literary world –

It’s from James Kelman’s Busconductor Hines. Kelman is generally taken to be an arch-realist and purveyor of grit, but this passage from his first novel is almost metaphysical in nature, and to my mind, encapsulates the titular character very well. So what is it about then? Well, here’s the whitespacecubegallery style caption…

In attempting to illustrate this segment, I ended up thinking about the philosophical concerns of the text, the way the main character’s anarchic imagination bucks against both the rhetoric of authority and his own variable capacity to adjust to prevailing realities.

Except that description describes a sequence of events entirely at odds with reality.  I flicked through the book for some time and had thought of a composition I thought was very clever. The Hines character would seem to emerge out of a particular piece of text – here it is from my notebook –

The idea has its merits. The quote in this image is from another part of the novel where Hines is considering buying a gun. I like how the spinning revolver seems to be turning itself on Hines  – in the novel, he obsesses about getting a gun, but we never know why – to use on others, or himself? However, it is perhaps a little too literal. I found it a bit of a strait-jacket and the composition became increasingly staid as the postcard size was much more punishing than the leaf in my notebook. None of the attempts satisfied me, or had any sense of fluidity about them, so I ruined a couple of nice acryllic boards pursuing an idea that wasn’t quite going to come good.

So it was almost in exasperation that I began drawing, without pencilling first, the figure in the foreground of the final image. Liking the sense of movement in my Hines here, I drew in other positions for him to take. Seeing that his hands seemed to be grabbing at something, I added the ball (I could easily have left it to the viewer’s imagination, I suppose) and the LAST thing I did was actually select a piece of text that fitted the image. I had to look long and hard – I knew this illustrated something about the novel, but I did not know what exactly.

And that’s all there was to it.

I’ll admit it, I’m pleased with this one. Dialectograms tend to be quite ‘static’ in nature so it is nice to get a chance to draw bodies in motion and focus on things other than the correct arrangement of bingo seats or the correct name for a box room! The discipline of working in this postcard sized form is also appreciated; if your marks fall outside the tiny frame, they’re lost , so make every stroke count and think carefully about where you put things (a useful lesson for the big drawings too). So I shall do more.  I have  other excerpts from authors I likecued up for this treatment, so expect more postcards from nowhere in particular.

Categories

Archives

Dialectographic Tweeting

June 2019
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 40 other followers

Advertisements