Helen de Main, 21 Spare Ribs; January 1987, (2012)
Helen de Main, 21 Spare Ribs; January 1987, (2012), collection of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life (Glasgow Museums), © the artist

Curators Katie Bruce and Modern Edinburgh Film School (Alex Hetherington) introduce their upcoming group exhibition at Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.

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Jo Spence on plank
What 1991 looked like most of the time, 1991, Jo Spence in collaboration with David Roberts, collection of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life (Glasgow Museums), © the artist’s estate.

Ripples on the Pond is an exhibition which has at its core works from the Glasgow Museums’ Collection. It takes as the starting point recent acquisitions from the Glasgow Women’s Library 21 Revolutions series, relating them to other works in the collection and sparking questions about gender, themes and media choice in relation to women’s practice and visibility.

Ripples on the Pond is also curated as a conversation between the works in the collection on paper and moving image and the invitation to Modern Edinburgh Film School and LUX Scotland to programme artists screenings within and beyond the gallery space. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to be part of that conversation and the exhibition can be seen as an essay that is to be read, re-read, critiqued and rethought, (unknowing where the ripples might effect). The programme by Modern Edinburgh Film School can be seen as a sister essay: responding to, commenting on, critiquing the holdings and re-imagining a collection through conversations with other works.

Jo Spence swimming
Return to Nature (Version Two), Jo Spence in collaboration with Terry Dennett, From The Final Project, 1991–92, collection of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life (Glasgow Museums), © the artist’s estate.

Anne Colvin, A Room Full of Stones, 2014, courtesy, the artist
Anne Colvin, A Room Full of Stones, 2014, courtesy the artist

Modern Edinburgh Film School’s film programme is an extended discussion on the nature of film and its ephemerality, the subjects that the artists look at, often times in shared concerns and drawing on similar materials, that allows the themes to gather and grow. The exhibition and the film programme looks at ideas like play, feminine presence, landscape, portraiture and draws together moving image artists whose work touches on these subjects or makes connections, comparisons or juxtapositions to each other and to the works on paper.

It has been a joy to uncover works held between acid free tissue paper in salander conservation boxes, often unseen in public for a number of years, and place them alongside recent acquisitions. Themes of play, landscape, feminism, place and visibility emerge and as the exhibition is coming into being we are 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. The artists in the work on paper exhibition are Sam Ainsley, Claire Barclay, Georgina Beier, Vanessa Bell, Kate Davis, Helen de Main, Jacqueline Donachie, Joan Eardley, Karen Guthrie, Ilana Halperin, Barbara Hepworth, Louise Hopkins, Roni Horn, Bet Low, Patricia MacDonald, Mari Mahr, Shauna McMullan, Jacki Parry, Ciara Phillips, Nina Pope, Carol Rhodes, Zineb Sedira, Lucy Skaer, Jo Spence, Corin Sworn, Amanda Thomson, Jane Topping, Emily Jacir and Alison Watt.

My approach to the collection is to see it as a kind of consciousness: alert, describing, thinking and developing and wanted to approach the film essay based on a series of live interviews with the artists, which took place over Skype, Messenger, by email and in letters as well as in person. The selection for the essay called A Poetic Measurement looks at the works of Anne Colvin, Sarah Forrest, Anne-Marie Copestake, Rosalind Nashashibi, Allison Gibbs, Karen Cunningham, Mairi Lafferty, Annabel Nicolson, Lauren Gault, and Catherine Street, and finds among the conversations ideas that artists have about their work now but also how they might be framed together in pairs, duos and quartets, finding proximities and abrasions in their works, articulating their thoughts and how its shapes their films and how in turn that gestures to the screen and in that way the film programme as it unfolds over 11 months becomes a kind of choreography.

Ripples on the Pond is curated by Katie Bruce and being developed with Affiliate: Thinking Collections (a University of Glasgow programme funded by Creative Scotland) and Modern Edinburgh Film School, along with LUX Scotland and Glasgow Women’s Library.

Ripples on the Pond will be on display in Gallery 4 at Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow from 27 March 2015 – 28 February 2016.

Find our more about Modern Edinburgh Film School on Central Station here.

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