Art preview: Ripples on the Pond, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
Print and moving images explore role of Glasgow Womens’ Library and the city's female artists through this new group exhibition
An exhibition of work from the Glasgow Museums collection, Ripples on the Pond takes as its starting point 11 works purchased by the collection from Glasgow Women’s Library’s ‘21 Revolutions’ project. ‘The project germinated from a desire to promote and celebrate 20 years of Scotland’s sole women’s library archive and museum,’ says Katie Bruce, curator of this show, ‘and to showcase the best of women’s contemporary visual art and writing and highlight the unique museum, library and archive resources at Glasgow Women’s Library.’
From works by artists including Sam Ainsley, Claire Barclay, Kate Davis, Shauna McMullan, Jacki Parry, Ciara Phillips, Lucy Skaer and Amanda Thomson, Bruce picks out pieces from Helen de Main’s ’21 Spare Ribs’ series, a selection of prints based on the January issues of Glasgow Womens’ Library’s Spare Rib magazine, covering a range of feminist and political topics, as well as more personal and poetic stories. ‘This was the inspiration for the title of the show,’ she says, ‘as I wanted something that would relate to the feminist theme in the exhibition, but also open up the conversations around the women artists in the collection, their work and their relationships.’
She also points to a pair of works by Corin Sworn which depict David Vetter, the famous ‘Boy in the Bubble’, and abstract playground architecture of the 1960s and 70s. These consider post-war rebuilding and urbanisation’s creation of urban play spaces ‘which became emblematic of the potential to build a progressive future incorporating development and freedom,’ says Bruce. Sworn is also one of the artists, alongside Anne Colvin, Sarah Forrest and others, taking part in the complementary moving image programme curated by the Modern Edinburgh Film School and LUX Scotland.
‘Visitors to the exhibition are invited to be part of a conversation,’ says Bruce, ‘and the exhibition can be seen as an essay to be read, re-read, critiqued and rethought, unsure where the ripples might end. Themes of play, landscape, feminism, place and visibility emerge, and as the exhibition is coming into being we’re learning more about the works in the collection and understanding the genealogy of practice, both locally and internationally, of women artists living and working in Glasgow.’
Ripples on the Pond is at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Fri 1 May until Sun 28 Feb 2016