House Style - Tramway
Lucy Skaer: Exit, Voice and Loyalty - Tramway
Release: The Koestler Exhibition for Scotland - Tramway
Jack Vettriano: A Retrospective - Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Roman Ondák: Some Thing - The Common Guild
Allan Ramsay: Portraits of the Enlightenment - Hunterian Art Gallery
Chris Johanson: Considering - The Modern Institute
Jeremy Deller: English Magic - The Modern Institute
So the weather is miserable in Glasgow this weekend, rivers of water running down the cold, grey streets. Yet again there is no Partick Thistle match on this Saturday afternoon and the weather has put me off casting an eye over a Juniors match, or even Albion Rovers vs Deveronvale in the Scottish Cup, which I half thought about for a couple of minutes. So what better distraction than a random stoat about some of the exhibitions on (indoors) in galleries around Glasgow this weekend.
Dragging the kids away from the warmth of the house we started at the Tramway, on the southside. The stuff on there is usually wacky enough to entertain the kids, even if the Hidden Garden out back was at risk of turning into a swamp today. In the first room we found House Style, a series of four short films commissions using material from the BFI institute archive. This has been plundered very effectively already by Public Service Broadcasting who are still touring with their album (Inform Educate Entertain). If you fancy trawling through this phenomenal archive, you can do it with a Glasgow library ticket at Bridgeton Library. The results on show here varied from the pompous (Travis Jeppesen's "I, An Object") to the entertaining and thought-provoking (Rob Kennedy's "What Are You Driving At?").
|House Style - Tramway|
|Lucy Skaer - Tramway|
The imagination and originality on display in the Tramway exhibitions was what we found completely absent in the basement of Kelvingrove Art Gallery, where Jack Vettriano: A Retrospective chunters on. So many of his images are very familiar from posters, tea towels and greetings cards but seeing room after room after room of them really brings home the banality of it all. They are also much smaller in the flesh than I expected. My 11 year old son, unbidden, asked "Why have all the ladies got hardly any clothes on?". Quite. If you like the styling of Downtown Abbey, but think that the women are all a bit over-dressed, then this is the exhibition for you. The only painting which made me pause in front of it was a rather sheepish self-portrait. Beyond that I'd save your £5 and have a coffee and some scones upstairs.
|An Allan Ramsay selfie|
Then finally off to Parnie Street to The Modern Institute to see what they had on. Downstairs is a selection of paintings and constructions by American artist and musician Chris Johanson ("Considering"). Well, considering the fun, childlike style of it, I found it hard to get any humour or engagement with much of this stuff although I did quite like the flimsy structures down the middle of the room, Glasgow windows apparently.
What did keep me from dashing back into the deluge though was the small selection of stuff upstairs by Jeremy Deller ("English Magic"). Deller brought his inflatable, bouncy Stonehenge to Glasgow last year. The highlight here is the light hearted and shambolic "Procession", a film of a project he did through the streets of Manchester in 2009, a parade of the most odd, the most wonderful and the most normal local groups. All human life was there, from football mascots to "unrepentent smokers". Worth catching if you want to feel a warm glow. Like his Stonehenge bouncy castle, his stuff is fun and engaging, but has further depths, for example the simple signs on the wall presenting song lyrices in the style of fluorescent posters outside a church. Sean Ryder's words are funny seen like this, but you can also ponder whether musicians are taken as prophets, or whether churches extract the best lines from folk tales, presented full of portent, to tell a different story. Then heading home I kept going over other songs in my head, to pick out my texts. The best I managed was "Do the dog, not the donkey." Terry ch6 v1.
|Sign by Jeremy Deller|