A New North


Some Notes For a Future Essay

Ambiguity of scale in contemporary landscape photography can produce an unsettling effect that merits some discussion, I think – particularly in relation to the visual art of previous centuries. A photograph by the Scottish photographer Alex Boyd has me wanting to revisit themes that I have previously written about in terms of the Sublime in both art and photography.

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A Memorial For All

The work of Ullapool-based artist Peter White, currently the subject of an exhibition at An Talla Solais, has made a powerful and, some would say, emotional impact upon its visitors since it opened last week. The subject matter of White’s work is deeply personal yet thoroughly accessible to visitors who have seemed quite moved by the artist’s interweaving of his personal life with that of others who once dwelt upon the land. 

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Enjoy Your Liberty

To say that I am shocked by the announcement of the apparent suicide of feminist art activist Oksana Shachko is an understatement. I have maintained an interest in art as activism for many years now, and it comes in many forms. Shachko was a beacon for many as one of the founding members FEMEN. Her passing represents a very great loss to the protest art movement.

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Emil Nolde as Limit Case

Once in a while an exhibition comes along that serves as a ‘limit case’ – an exhibition of visual art that crosses a threshold, that is – requiring that it be subjected to close scrutiny. It doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it seems to me that we have a duty to ask difficult questions, possibly even rethinking the ethical responsibilities that fall upon the institution that hosts it, and the organisers behind it.   

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Hungarian Art & Scotland's Forgotten Folk Hero

Adam Clark is barely remembered in his native Scotland, but in Hungary he is considered a folk hero. Is it possible that due to his tenacity and cool-headedness during the Hungarian revolution of 1848, this Scottish engineer’s actions may have allowed for the growth of Budapest as a cultural centre with its own unique, and some might say, carefully constructed, heritage that we see today? 

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On Art Fairs & Privilege

In the heart of Europe there is still an art fair to watch; though not for what it can tell us about developments in the middle European contemporary art market, but more about how its sponsors view their holdings there. Last year Viennacontemporary tried to reach out to the Nordic nations, but that was a move that may well have backfired.

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Northbound | Nordgående

A touring exhibition of contemporary ceramics, drawing and performance, conceived by An Talla Solais gallery in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland, presents not just an opportunity see a fascinating and curiously diverse grouping of work by artists from Scotland and Norway, but also asks some timely questions about our relationships as 'northern neighbours', whether imagined or real.

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Made With a Weaver's Eye

With London's Tate Modern announcing an upcoming retrospective of the work of the Bauhaus-trained artist and weaver Anni Albers, it appears that I am offered a timely opportunity to signal where I am going to be heading with this newly launched blog. Intended to serve as a keynote post to 'A New North', this text considers the blurring of the distinctions between the terms 'art' and craft' over recent years – a topic that I will no doubt return to from time to time.

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What is Wrong with Lotte Glob?

When Danish TV last interviewed ceramic artist Lotte Glob, they asked her if she will ever return to her native country. "No!" she adamantly replied, and, TV being what it is, the most obvious question for her interviewer to ask next was, "So, what's wrong with Denmark?" As Glob tells it, she thought for a second, and then quickly replied, "Nothing. Maybe it's just that there's something wrong with me." So, what is wrong with Lotte Glob?

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Black Isle Abstract

Black Isle Abstract are a trio of artists from the Highlands of Scotland. While at first it may seem that they have little in common, largely due to the apparent diversity of their work, the importance they place upon the process of making is just one aspect from many that identifies them as like minds. 'Black Isle Abstract: Three Perspectives' is on show in Thurso until July 23.

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