Casper White – A Painter of our Times

Casper White – A Painter of our Times

Like poetic language, the language of dance is neither the language of authority nor of social theory, and therein lies the key to our understanding the work of Casper White. It evades the norms of the academy and the understanding of academicians, and particularly the authoritarianism of the establishment. What White has amassed in his current body of work offers a sense of those dancers that he paints as mere ghosts of both themselves and the experience that eludes the many and confuses still more.

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Making Room for Birds

Making Room for Birds

Though Jane MacNeill doesn’t say so on my first meeting with her, from her writing I learn that the paintings we are looking at together are arrived at from a feeling of intensity in the eye contact that she makes with the wildlife she encounters. The personality of the fauna she meets with can, at that moment of eye-contact, become “large enough to fill an entire landscape,” she says, and to condense that vastness of experience in the natural world and present it within such modest dimensions is no mean achievement – indeed, the intensity referred to becomes all the stronger for it.

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Botanical

Botanical

As a group exhibition perhaps intended to get the gallery into its stride for 2019, ‘Botanical’ at An Talla Solais Gallery does what it is supposed to, and it is clear that they have done their utmost to make the best of the work on loan from the Royal Scottish Academy with some obvious thought given to hanging a sympathetic collection of hugely diverse work of variable quality. Diverse it may be, but the question remains, is the exhibition any good? In the case of ‘Botanical’ it may be that one should concentrate most on the best of the bunch; and that really comes down to a question of taste.

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Mara Marxt Lewis & Tyler Lewis’s Stroma

Mara Marxt Lewis & Tyler Lewis’s Stroma

Mara Marxt Lewis and Tyler Lewis today refer to Scotland as their home. Having stationed themselves around the globe in a variety of locations, they chose Scotland, they say, when Tyler began working on his PhD in sonic art at the University of Aberdeen. Currently they are creating artworks that are part of a series called Mountains Underwater; a project that is comprised of six Scottish islands that are currently uninhabited. The objective, they say, is to “complete a multi-sensory installation for each island visited, using re-purposed or organic materials, and multi-channel sound compositions.”

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Where Tideways Run

Where Tideways Run

This Saturday, 6 April 2019, sees the opening of Monique Sliedrecht’s exhibition ‘Where Tideways Run’ at the Northlight Gallery, Stromness. Sliedrecht’s exhibition is the first of the season for Northlight, and the show’s title is taken from a poem by the Orcadian poet Robert Rendall. “This is very exciting for me,” says the artist, “because Orkney has been a special place to me for so many years.”

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Black Fog Rising

Black Fog Rising

Danish artist Julie Sass studied at the Art Academy in Copenhagen and at New York University, NYC. Focusing on Abstraction and how visual art can be embedded in various contexts, Sass is known for her divergent (yet overall coherent) approach to her solo exhibitions and her collaboration with different artists and museums. Kinna Poulsen recently visited her at Steinprent, the graphic workshop in Tórshavn, to see how the preparations were going for her exhibition, including a new artists’ book titled BLACK FOG RISING, too.

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Creative Relationships are, like, totally ‘a thing’

Creative Relationships are, like, totally ‘a thing’

While some ‘big names’ may well have featured in the history of twentieth century art due to their collaborative work, they are by no means alone. Creative couplings are not uncommon still, and they take many forms. In the Scottish Highlands, the names Pamela and Erlend Tait spring to mind in this regard. While mutual support for another’s creative endeavours is one thing in a relationship, working on the same piece of work is quite another.

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Kate Walters’ Shetland Notebooks

Kate Walters’ Shetland Notebooks

Completed over the course of three artist residencies on Shetland in 2017 and 2018, Shetland Notebooks is infused with Kate Walters’ love for the Scottish isles. The exhibition follows a book launch at Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh, as part of the artist’s wider project with Guillemot Press, a small independent publisher that is known for its illustrated poetry, single-story pamphlets, postcards, and full collections.

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Interview – David Cass on Rising Horizon

Interview – David Cass on Rising Horizon

Ian McKay and David Cass in conversation as the artist’s exhibition Rising Horizon comes to a close at the Scottish Gallery. For those who may have missed the exhibition, some of its core themes and the public and press responses to it are discussed here, as well as the curatorial decisions that gave rise to a fascinating array of works – over one hundred and fifty in all – from the very small and intimate to the large and, in some cases, imposing.

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Ten Points

Ten Points

Our planet’s systems are being pushed beyond their limits: the health of its water, air and soils under siege. From deforestation and soil erosion, to pollution of rivers, oceans and the air we breathe, our planetary health is waning badly. Climate change is the biggest threat-multiplier of them all. Consequently, sea rise is now a very real threat to millions. Today, there is increased awareness and concern about sea rise. There is also considerable myth and misinformation, however. In this extract from the catalogue accompanying David Cass’s exhibition Rising Horizon, the Oceanographer and Author John Englander offers a few points and perspectives.

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Like a Whisper in Your Ear…

Like a Whisper in Your Ear…

So many artists express their ‘environmentalist’ concerns by forcing their argument in bold gestures that could easily be mistaken for confusing bigness with greatness. Cass, instead seems to unassumingly (though no less importantly) offer us the antidote to that – by which I mean, an urgent request to come in close, quietly, personally, in our own time… Here is an art that is truly intimate. It asks big questions, yes, but it asks them of the individual, drawn in close by the work’s diminutive size.

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David Cass: Materiality and Focus

David Cass: Materiality and Focus

In the fourth of our seven-post series on the work of David Cass (ahead of his exhibition at The Scottish Gallery next week), I thought it would be a good point to widen the scope a little and consider the manner in which Cass works and the materials he works with. As with previous posts in this short series on a single artist, the underlying thinking has been to take just one work as a point of focus – that is, as a jumping off point from which to consider the wider body of work brought together and…

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Forest Fire Aftermath by David Cass

Forest Fire Aftermath by David Cass

Back in 2014, artist David Cass was heading out for what he describes as “a research stay in an arid zone.” He’d gone straight from the moist climate and wet ground of the Scottish Borders to an alpine-desert and, as he relates it, “The heat and dry atmosphere hit me hard, but seeing this patch of bright red forest was almost surreal. Eventually, with a friend, I managed to climb the mountainside and enter the aftermath zone, where we took photographs and shot film…”

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Horizonte, horizontes, horizonten

Horizonte, horizontes, horizonten

Perhaps now more than ever, we need artists such as David Cass who can at once present us with moments of pleasure when looking upon their work, and yet at the same time offer us reference points for understanding the environmental catastrophe that our own actions represent for the very environment that supports and currently sustains us. That the two can co-exist at one and the same time in any single work (or the body of work as a whole), is commendable, I believe.

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David Cass: Rising Horizon

David Cass: Rising Horizon

David Cass’s Horizon 42% (2017-2019), from his upcoming exhibition Rising Horizon, is here accompanied by a short text by Prof. David Reay: “On the land, vast swathes of natural forest have been felled and their soils ploughed up. The carbon released has joined that from fossil burning in a smothering heat blanket encircling the globe. This hotter atmosphere super-charges the water cycle, bringing devastating flash floods in one place just as it saps away moisture and bakes earth into dust in another. Across the oceans, sea levels are rising…

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Highlights of 2018: Peter White's Memorial

Highlights of 2018: Peter White's Memorial

A further addition to our run through of the highlights of 2018 in the Northern Highlands, the work of Ullapool-based artist Peter White was the subject of an exhibition at An Talla Solais that made a powerful and, some would say, emotional impact upon its visitors. The subject matter of White’s work is deeply personal yet thoroughly accessible to visitors who seemed quite moved by the artist’s interweaving of his personal life with that of others who once dwelt upon the land. This review was first published in the Northern Times.

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Highlights of 2018: Black Isle Abstract

Highlights of 2018: Black Isle Abstract

As part of our brief look back at the visual art highlights from northern Scotland during 2018, the following is a copy of Ian McKay’s review of Black Isle Abstract at Thurso Art Gallery from 2 July 2018 – Black Isle Abstract is a collective of three artists who live and work on The Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. What binds them together is their devotion to abstraction. But how do I know this? For their exhibition at Thurso Art Gallery…

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Highlights of 2018: Northbound | Nordgående

Highlights of 2018: Northbound | Nordgående

As we near the moment when the first issue of Art North goes to press, the coming of this new year has also been a time of looking back to some of the highlights of the last year, too. With one eye on what the future holds, therefore, over the next week (and as time permits) I am minded to post to this new Art North website some brief mentions of what I consider to be the highlights of the past twelve months. Undoubtedly, for me, one of those highlights was the exhibition at An Talla Solais titled Northbound | Nordgående…

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