Monday, 12 November 2012

What's on in Glasgow this week?

A quick review of current exhibitions at GoMA, Tramway, The Modern Institute and The Glasgow Print Studio

I'm off work for a few days, and with the kids all still at school am being self-indulgent and swanning around Glasgow during the day. Sometimes I think you forget to check all the things which are going on in your own city. You just take them for granted.

On show at GoMA just now
I've avoided GoMA for a while, because it was always the same stuff on display that I'd seen before, but when I went in to have a look around recently it had all been changed. With the help of The Common Guild and The Art Fund the museum has acquired a lot of new works and has them all on show. There are videos, photography, paintings, sculpture and ceramics spread throughout the building and although not all of it is to my taste, there is a lot of good stuff there. At present the gallery justifies the word "modern" in it's title.

The Tramway is another place I don't go to that often, but I made a rare expedition to the southside to see what was happening there this week. The draw for me was to have a nosey at The Glad Cafe, a new cafe and venue on Pollokshaws Road which has opened. It has hosted a great selection of musicians and talks since it opened and I think if it was nearer my house I'd be a regular by now. I think it is in an ex-snooker hall and has been nicely set up. On their website they speak positively of being at "the heart of Scotland's most ethnically diverse community" and I hope they are taking steps to engage all of that diverse community as on the day I visited it was a wholly white, middle-class looking crowd that was there. The food was tasty, the ambience laid back and the forthcoming events intriguing, so good luck to them.

Richard Hughes "Community fun day"
The Tramway has a great selection of stuff on just now. The current Sonica festival has a lot on the go here (more on that another day). The main hall has an exhibition of work by Richard Hughes entitled "Where It All Happened Once", familiar objects recreated in phenomenal detail in resin and fibreglass amongst other things. Familiar objects range from discarded cardboard boxes and sleeping bags to a community centre dropped on its side. It is at times familiar and also very surreal. Even things like the drainpipes on the gallery walls, which look mundane at first glance, spell out words when viewed at a certain angle. It's a lot of fun.

"Sleeping Rust" by Richard Hughes
Upstairs at the Tramway there is the Koestler Exhibition, a great exhibition of prisoners' artwork curated by David Shrigley.

All of these exhibitions I've mentioned above are free to visit. So too are The Modern Institute and the Glasgow Print Studio where I went next. The Print Studio at the Trongate has an exhibition upstairs called "Academians II" featuring the work of John Byrne, Norman Ackroyd, Philip Reeves and Chris Orr. My favourite works where by the latter, whose stuff I don't really know. I particularly liked Nagasaki Mon Amour.
Nagasaki Mon Amour by Chris Orr
The Modern Institute is just around the corner, hiding on Osbourne Street. I always forget about it, but whenever I go it always has really imaginative, bizarre or interesting exhibitions. In the main space just now are new works by Glasgow based artist Cathy Wilkes, who represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2005 and was a Turner Prize nominee in 2008. It is slightly creepy wandering between her strange mannequins and the various other objects strewn about the gallery. I found it hard to work out what the context was which made it a bit eerie, but I kept thinking that they looked like Glasgow children from a Joan Eardley painting.

Cathy Wilkes at The Modern Institute

Upstairs there are a selection of ceramics by Japanese artist Shio Kusaka, arranged on a plain table. I didn't really know what to make of this. Empty vessels? Nice jugs? You decide.

A lot of these exhibitions don't have much longer to run, except for Richard Hughes stuff, so if any of that grabs your fancy, get yourself along.

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