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

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vanessa,
    I find your art blog very interesting, especially as I used to review exhibitions in Edinburgh, back when Joseph Pearce's was a seedy bar, rather than an airy art-space.
    I was also amused and surprised to see that you quoted from one of my old football articles.
    I have a fiction blog at http://europastories.blogspot.com. If you find it interesting perhaps you might like to link to it.