Love - Sorcha Dallas interview
Affair of the art
Sorcha Dallas kicks off another busy year with a group exhibition that explores long-term artistic partnerships with shared political and visual characteristics
As exhibition titles go, you could hardly get more intriguing or evocative than Love. Yet, as Sorcha Dallas, proprietor of one of Glasgow’s most exciting contemporary spaces, points out, the name of the gallery’s first group show of 2010 is more than a little playful.
‘The inspiration came from looking at artistic partnerships,’ says Dallas, ‘from long-term collaborators Gilbert and George to independent artists Rita Donagh and Richard Hamilton, whose marriage has forged a common concern over the years in their artistic subject matter. The title is slightly ironic and plays on the idea of respect and ‘love’ in some way assisting in the formation of the work. It is also a slight against the more political subtext or criticality inherent in all the artists’ practice – I liked the way the title of the show almost contradicts this.’
The show also features celebrated local duo Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, whose sculptural works include the pithily entitled ‘An unsuccessful proposal for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad (An experience like an experience you just had’. The diverse mix of artists and works in the exhibition reflects Dallas’s enduring interest in combining significant historical works alongside international and local artists – one of the particular joys of putting together a group show under a themed umbrella.
‘For this show the idea really came out of my passion for Rita Donagh’s work, who in my opinion has been heavily overlooked as an artist,’ she says. ‘I like being able to make conceptual and material connections within the work so building a show becomes a very satisfying creative process.’
While at first glance the partnerships featured in the exhibition would appear to have very little in common, they are united by the characteristics that mark them out as idiosyncratic.
‘They all have a political subtext to their practice, they all have created a very distinct visual language and to a certain extent their work comes from a sense of locality or regionalism. Even though Gilbert and George are based in London they create a microcosmic world out of the East End.’
Love marks the start of what is likely to be the gallery’s busiest year to date, and its proprietor is keen for the gallery to grow and develop within Glasgow’s rich cultural landscape.
‘Next year I have an exciting offsite performance for Glasgow International [Festival of Visual Art] with the iconic artist, musician and performer Linder. I am also in the process of setting up a foundation to deal long term with Alasdair Gray’s visual and literary archive as well as collaborating with Jenny Crowe on a public art project called A New Path – so keeping busy!’
Love, Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, Fri 15 Jan–Fri 19 Feb.