Breakfast, lunch and dinner. The inspirational Lee Miller

When #CAPetcAlumni Julie Duffy and Hayley Mathers developed a common interest in the life and work of, artist, photographer, model, muse, cook and host Lee Miller neither had imagined that within a couple of years they would be giving a talk on their collaborative practice to a packed out Hawthornden Lecture Theatre at the Scottish National Gallery, but this week that’s exactly what they did. 

Although the collaboration started just 2 years ago the artists have known each other since studying with us on the HND course at the former Edinburgh’s Telford College from 2005-2008 before heading on to Duncan of Jordanstone College or Art & Design (DJCAD). Post-graduation Hayley took a role as chair of the acclaimed Generator Projects in Dundee and Artist in Residence at SWG3 in Glasgow. Julie returned to Edinburgh taking up a studio at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW) as well as role curating the organisations TANK gallery/project space.

In Sept 2013 and Sept 2014 in what became something of a full circle both Hayley and Julie respectively joined us once again at Edinburgh College Granton as resident Artists on our #AIRetc… programme. During their time they developed both their individual and collaborative practice which you can view on the AIRetc… website:

The collaboration has spawned a number of object based works, themed culinary events and workshops including a birthday party for Lee Miller, featuring party hats which have become something of an emblem for the project, and childrens workshops at local primary schools.

The presentation this week at the Scottish National Gallery was excellent and stimulated great responses, ideas and very high praise from the audience. Despite being something of a punctuation mark for the project we are all hoping for a next chapter.

The exhibition Lee Miller and Picasso runs until 6th September at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Things to see and do in Dundee.

Still from ' Long After Tonight'

Soul Dundee Badge

Sadly it’s not every day you can take the time to jump on a train and spend the day taking in art. However Friday was one of those days and I boarded a train to Dundee for an all too rare opportunity to enjoy a number of exhibitions unfettered by the need for head counts, justifications and explanations and that’s just trying to get round galleries with my children at the weekend!

The first stop was the recently upgraded McManus galleries where amongst the various collections extolling the virtues of Tayside‘s diverse industrial and cultural history is a film by Matt Stokes called Long After Tonight. It’s a beautiful albeit short film documenting the Northern Soul scene in Dundee which held events at the St Salvador Episcopal church in the Hilltown area of the city. The film subtly connects the religious iconography and the passion and dedication required to “Keep the Faith” The work features many of the original “soulies” who organised and attended the events and who have contributed to the room of Northern Soul memorabilia you can also see at the museum. Sadly the exhibit closes tomorrow but if you can try and make it along.

Ruth Ewan 'Get off you knees'

Next, after a short walk through town to Dundee Contemporary Arts DCA was “Brank & Heckle” by Ruth Ewan. This is a brave yet timely show by DCA who have taken a risk by giving over the entire gallery to an emerging artist. However the risk certainly paid off. On first encounter it is difficult to trace an aesthetic thread through the works but it soon becomes clear that the artist is interested in idea rather than materiality. Overtly political the show does however draw threads through the cities social and political past to examine themes of poverty, inequality, feminism & racism. The show is centered around the two conflicting ideas of the Brank; a medieval torture device used to silence women and the Heckle; the act of spontaneous verbal engagement the origins of which lie in the politically charged and radical atmosphere of the cities Jute mills.

This is a very strong and rewarding show for those willing to give just a little effort to engage with it. I could go on describing and discussing the works and I may do so in a future post or two but for now `I would encourage you to take the time and effort to see it.

After a brief pit stop it was time to head up to the Master of Art show at Duncan of Jordanstone where I was joined by Telford and DoJ graduate Neil Nodzak. There is no doubt that student exhibitions of every level present the viewer with an eclectic mix of work, various in approach, content and quality but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I encountered. I am accustomed to all sorts of weird and wonderful works and watching a video of an artist undertaking a year long transformation into a competition standard body builder despite an initial ambivalence to the subject was amusing and engaging but not very shocking. Indeed the artist mother of an old school friend and former Telford colleague made a similarly themed work some 10 years or so ago. No, the real surprise were the unexpected encounter with the results of the Masters in Medical and Forensic Art. Who new that in this digital age there was still a need for fine pencil renderings of syphilitic facial sores!  Who other than Dundee University that is?

After a less than Forensic dissection of the exhibition Neil and I wandered up to Tinroof, a new studio complex in the city which offers enormous potential for the increasing number of graduates who are choosing to stay in the city. Having seen his excellent degree show exhibition the committee at Tinroof selected Neil for a 3 month stint as committee member a position which came with a free studio. It was great to see Neil who is as engaged, inquisitive, interrogative, witty and annoyed as ever. Hopefully next time I will also catch up with Hayley Mathers who is also a Telford Alumni an artist and will shortly take up her post as Director of Generator Projects in Dundee.

I have a genuine affection for Dundee which goes back a long time now and I have to say it rarely if ever disappoints.


Telford graduate selected for Embassy graduate exhibition.

Opening this weekend at Embassy Gallery ‘Meat Force’ features selected and specially commissioned work of artists who have graduated from the the four Scottish art colleges. This years exhibition, selected by the Embassy committee, features the work of former student Hayley Mathers. Hayley, who was  featured on this site earlier this year, (see Graduate Profiles ETC…) graduated from the Fine Art dept at Edinburgh’s Telford having studied for 2 years on the HND programme.

“My time at Telford provided me with an excellent background in contemporary art which was invaluable in helping me succeed at art college. As well as meeting a great group of people, the HND course built up my confidence and gave me the skills to develop my practice independently and get the most out of my degree.”

Hayley progressed directly into year 2 of the Fine Art Degree course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee where she gained a 1st Class Honours Degree.

Meat Force opens this Friday  7pm – 9pm at EMBASSY

located in the tower of the Roxy Art House, 2 Roxburgh Pl, Edinburgh, EH8 9SU

The Exhibition runs:

18.09.10 – 03.10.10
open Thursday – Sunday 12-6pm