Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas Exhibition 2011

Joseph Pearces Bar, 23 Elm Row. Edinburgh. Sunday 18th Dec 2011 12pm - 15th February 2012.

I don’t know about you, but the truth is that among lunar eclipses, gloomy economic forecasts and home-grown hurricanes, the Bawbag affair put a smile on my face.
Call it Scottish idiosyncrasy or pure banter, but turning a negative into a positive, dark into light, tragedy into comedy, seems to be an art in itself.
An art that is priceless in times like these.
Artists can often practise it and have a laugh at the surrounding world because their creations exist “per se”. They are not subject to the laws of the demand. And thank goodness for that!
And one who’s really been about turning dark into light, literally, is Saint Lucia , who’s just passed marking the point where we get a minute of extra light per day.
So there are other reasons to smile.
Dagmar’s new humorous works, where colourful, oversize insects, butterflies and frogs have been superimposed onto gloomy cuttings of this year’s news are like a chronicle of the year we are about to leave behind. But with a funny twist.
Again, call it self-indulgence or idiosyncrasy…
Or a breath of fresh, hurricane air!

Vanessa Davila 07986595585

Join us for the launch of our Christmas exhibition, this Sunday 18th of December at Joseph Pearce’s Bar, 23 Elm Row, Edinburgh.
Between 12 pm and 1 pm.
Prices start at £26 and we’ll be giving away a free limited edition mug with every purchase.
Only this Sunday.
With best wishes for Christmas and the Year ahead.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

No One's Land: An Encounter of Spanish and Scottish culture, past and present through art

This is the newsletter sent to our clients on the event of our annual exhibition at the Gladstone Land Gallery, in the Royal Mile. For the second year in a row, Delicartessen secured funding from the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh to celebrate an encounter of Spanish and Scottish art.
The exhibition was, after conclusion of the week, transferred to Joseph Pearces, our regular venue, in Elm Row, as part of our Edinburgh Festival exhibition 2011, where it would stay until mid September.

"No One´s Land"
The Gladstone Land Gallery, The Royal Mile. Edinburgh. 1st -8th August 2011. 10 am till 7 pm.

A few months ago I attended a conference by Marjorie Trusted from the V&A Museum in London, organised by the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh.
It explored the fascination of Picasso for Velazquez and his painting of “Las Meninas” (which Velázquez had originally painted in 1656 and Picasso would reinterpret 300 years later). The talk highlighted Picasso’s motto that in art, little is original or new, and it provided renewed inspiration for this exhibition, which pays tribute to the circularity of cultural iconography; where symbols and images are repeatedly recycled over time.
Picasso was, in his days, accused of being “all over the place”; a “chameleon” absorbing other artist’s influences and styles but lacking his own. But he would argue that this need for belonging to a movement or school was limiting.
His rootless nature was probably related to an emotional “middle place” too: where he felt quite alienated from his country of origin as the authoritative regime took its course in Spain; yet still a foreigner in his adoptive and beloved France. No sense of belonging here or there. In No One’s Land.
He affirmed that “art is the elimination of the unnecessary” and in his search for simplicity he kept reducing reality, emptying the superfluous and transcending the idea of belonging to achieve universality.

“No One’s Land” echoes themes of land and identity and therefore, we present representations of the artists’ immediate realities. Yet, even when differences emerge (i.e. Highland cows as opposed to bulls) the common nature of the themes that arise among both Scottish and Spanish artists, the new reinterpretations of classical themes: (i.e. Las Meninas, still being revisited by artists near and afar); reaffirms this idea of “no one’s land” or, if you prefer, “common land”, in the sense that the relevant human emotions and reflections that fuel the arts inscribe in a universal language. A language that Picasso spoke loudly and clearly. And which still resonates to this day.

With the support of the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh, Tapa Restaurants and the Council of Alhaurin, Malaga.
Click here to download a pdf version of the printed catalogue

The advertisement announcing the exhibition at the
Edinburgh Festival magazine.
Compliments of designs.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Aftermath: Still Life. Photographs by Neil Macmillan

This is the newsletter sent to our contacts for the celebration of our 4th anniversary and the launch of our new exhibition at Joseph Pearce's:

...I’ve always wondered why in art you often have to choose between images and words. They say that an image is worth more than a thousand words but I recently saw an exhibition which combined both to great effect.

And the same applies to visuals and music. As Picasso said “To draw you have to close your eyes and sing” and many great artists have been great music lovers too. I am now remembering an article by Tim Cornwell that I read recently in the Scotsman about John Campbell Mitchell’s studio, which had been left untouched for 80 years and included a couple of pianos because apart from being an accomplished painter he was very keen on music too.

And music can compress a lifetime in a second, take us back to a previous moment… suspend us in time. Doing acoustically what a still life achieves visually.

Neil’s photographs are lost in time, still life impressions of derelict houses he found in the West coast of Scotland, the Outer Hebrides and the Highlands, during a very meaningful family journey. As he says: “Many of these pictures were taken on a final holiday with my dad who was in the last stages of cancer at the time. Despite the sadness of the trip, it was also filled with moments of happiness too as my dad truly loved Scotland and we saw the best of it on this trip."

His images speak (without any need for words) about the pass of time, human frailty and possibly even war. Houses abandoned in a rush, left in the spur of the moment, maybe with a promise of a return (like a kettle still waiting on the stove…) exactly like John Campbell’s studio. They tell (silently) about Neil’s personal story of a farewell journey and his coming to terms with an announced loss. But they are also “still life impressions” in the literal sense that, no matter what, life always renews itself. Like birds nesting in an abandoned chest of drawers and Nature claiming back what is hers and closing a circle that includes birth and death. As Picasso also said. “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”.

So when I heard Phamie Gow’s “War Song” by chance, it sounded like Neil’s photographs…it was the perfect acoustic complement for the exhibition. I went back home and listened to the composer's reflections on Moments of Time, and felt that both, images and music were talking loudly the same truth, so why not have both?

I am pleased to invite you to our 4th anniversary celebration and the launch of our new exhibition:

Aftermath: Still Life with photographs by Neil Macmillan

This Sunday 8th of May from 11.30am till 1pm at Joseph Pearce’s Bar. 23 Elm Row, Edinburgh.
Complemented with music by Phamie Gow and Moments of Time

I hope to see you there!

This is a video featuring the photographs included in the exhibition, with music by Phamie Gow played during our launch. Phamie joined us for the preview and was a delightful guest.

The exhibition will be on show at Joseph Pearce's bar, 23 Elm Row, Edinburgh, until the 30th of June and listed as part of the activities of the Leith Festival 2011.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Sea life, City life

Sometimes things appear to have nothing in common, or even to be opposites at first sight. Natural vs. urban spaces, day and night… Moreover, as humans, we have been fascinated by the apparent duality and conflicting nature of our world from the beginnings of the time. Yet, as things unfold and we look more carefully, we often find links and relations under the surface.

So, what is the link between Scottish artist Christine Morison’s driftwood mirrors and clocks; and German artists Dagmar Shilling's paintings on urban night life?
It's not only a “c” sound, although it's through a metaphor and words that this show ties together.

Christine’s pieces pay tribute to the slow, almost imperceptible but constant crafting effect of the sea and the passing of time and they are full of shells, and natural elements; while Dagmar's urban, fast, mixed media scenes, pick up in images where the English language refers to animalistic, sea-inspired creatures to depict nightlife scenes. So, she has taken expressions like “to drink like a fish” literally and transformed them into pieces where fish or octopus looking creatures feel in their element in the city. And Dagmar’s, “what goes around, comes around” emphasises the recycled nature of Christine’s pieces.

And what has gone around and comes around again is “The Colour Red” photographic exhibition.
After winning the BHF annual competition with her photography “The Tunnel”, Gillian Hayes has proven she’s got what it takes to become a “big fish” in the photography scene.

Her work illustrates the duality of our rational and irrational nature. An interest that was exposed in early mythology through the metaphor of the Master and the Slave, where reason is the master, destined to exercise a firm control over the dangerous emotional impulses dictated by the body.
This vision assumed the superiority of reason before passion, as the latter was seen as a more primitive, animalistic trait, associated with the body; needing to be controlled through superior reason.
From that point of view both elements would be in constant conflict. As if again, natural (instinctive) and human (rational) forces were to be in a constant struggle. This conflicting duality characterized the ideas of Descartes while in the XVIII century, the Scottish philosopher Hume, the highest exponent of the Empiricism movement, affirmed that emotion was somehow made by the same “material” as rational thinking: -the origin and game of passion is subjected to a regular mechanism; and therefore passions are as susceptible of exact analysis as the laws of movement-
And Gillian’s collection seems like a Scottish contemporary re-interpretation of Hume’s ideas: 14 photographs where the notion of passion, represented by the colour red, is measured and controlled in quantities that vary from 1% to 95%; combining the photographer's creative talent with her precise technique.
By controlling the amount of red in every picture, she has achieved a little “whole” in each one of them, where none is pure energy, neither pure technique nor reason, but a beautiful combination of the two. Just like us.

Because today we generally accept that we are a combination of both, reason and passion, heart and mind, and we no longer live them as antagonist forces. We are back to Plato, who already defended that the rational and irrational ingredients of our nature are the two necessary sides of the same coin.
We celebrate both sides of our nature and believe in a healthy balance between them as the key for emotional intelligence, and happiness.

So bring on the opposites and dualities: The deep sea of emotions tempered by the neon lights of reason.
Join us this Sunday 20th March for a double act:

3.30 - 5.30 pm the launch of Sea life, City life at Joseph Pearce’s, 23 Elm Row, Edinburgh
And 6-9 pm for the return of The Colour Red exhibition at Sofi’s Bar, Henderson Street, Edinburgh

I hope to see you there!!

"Balancing Act" by Dagmar Schilling, £300

"Small Boat" mirror by Christine Morison £50

The Exhibitions run until the 30th of April.

Opening Times.
Joseph Pearces Bar, 23 Elm Row, EH7 4AA Edinburgh
Opening times: Sun-Thu 11:00-00:00
Fri-Sat 11:00-01:00
Sofi's Bar, 65 Henderson Street, EH6 6ED
Mon - Sat: 12:00 - 1:00
Sun: 13:00 - 1:00

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

There is Heart at the end of the Tunnel...

"The Tunnel" Winner of the British Heart Foundation Photographic Competition.
Artist: Gillian Hayes
(exhibited as part of "The Colour Red" exhibition at Joseph Pearce's Bar between August 2010 and February 2011)

Every once in a while a piece of work speaks to me. It might be that I'm
wandering round a book shop when I feel a tap on the shoulder. I turn
and nobody's there. But then I look up to find some words are flying in
the air and I know that I'm taking that book home. There is an important
message waiting in those pages.

But it's all too personal, and what speaks to me may well tell you
nothing at all.
There is always the shadow of a doubt when selecting art for an
audience. Independent of its technicality and accomplishment in terms of
measurable talent, to me it is in its meaning that its true value
resides. In its ability to speak and resonate for days, or even years;
Or in its opening a door to a revelation that seems to have been forging in your mind over aeons. As if coming from a previous life.
Like a sudden click. Yet, it feels like a gamble, every time.

That is why I was slightly surprised when photographer Gillian Hayes
approved of my writing a very personal interpretation of her work for
the newsletter.

"The Colour Red" photographs spoke to me from the start. She had seemed
to summarize in 14 shots a passage of transit, a journey to reconcile
mind and heart as in sense and sensibility, inspiration and work. They
spoke to me about the blending effect of cultural encounters, that
things are often not black or white but something in-between. They spoke
to me for days about the changes in my perception, having lived in
Britain for 8 years; and even longer about issues on identity, diversity
and equality.
They even spoke about the transition from multiculturalism (where
identities are taken as fixed and immutable objects) to interculturalism
(where ideas of oneself and the other are in continuous transformation
thanks to our constant interactions) that I had witnessed while
researching for a Phd. All in 14 shots and all in just one click.

But then, these photographs went on to speak to other people. People
with other experiences and backgrounds and perspectives; and one of them
"The Tunnel" has won the first prize at the British Heart Foundation
Competition. For the artist, the prize means well-deserved recognition.
To me, the subtle triumph of a piece of work transcending the personal
and tapping into a universal truth. One that exceeds the barriers of
language, culture, age and class. That's the power of art in its
multiple forms, in images and in words. As in these by the artist
describing her piece:

"The service tunnel, an area mainly unseen and hidden in the depths of a
building, full of pipes, wires and gizmos endlessly and faithfully
chugging away to keep the building running smoothly above. This reminded
me of the role of our heart, which also works endlessly and faithfully
away in our bodies without rest, to keep everything in check."

Simple, yet meaningful words and an image that spoke loudly. And which, it
happens every once in a while, were widely heard.