Each year, the Art Collection’s exhibitions, events and workshops are directly inspired by the research of the University. This year the focus is on environment, and with the umbrella title ‘Under Threat’ we highlight a variety of pressing issues.
We are pleased to present a series of outdoor sculptural installations by Stirling’s GOSSIP Collective inspired by our environmental theme. These are currently on display in the courtyards in the Pathfoot Building.
The seven artists involved have all responded to the project in distinctive ways. The title of the exhibition Change of Plan is a comment on, not only the current situation we find ourselves in but also the need for a more considered response to the natural environment. The impact that humans have on the world and what it can trigger is conveyed throughout the artworks. Beauty and fragility, natural forms, decay, destruction and recovery and the passage of time are all focused upon. Recycled materials, aluminium, glass, willow, stone and textiles are featured throughout.
PLASTIC NOT FANTASTIC IT’S DANGEROUS by David Barbara
Media: Everyday plastics including milk container and fruit packaging, nets and rings.
Description: Ghost fishing is fishing gear that has been lost, dumped or abandoned, but continues to trap and kill wildlife. It includes fishing nets, traps, long lines, rope, or other gear that have been abandoned or lost in the ocean by fishermen. This gear, often nearly invisible in the dim light and murky waters of the ocean can be left drifting in the open ocean until washed ashore or gathered. Ghost fishing gear will (it’s only a matter of time) trap animals, entangle and potentially kills marine life, smother habitat, and act as a hazard to navigation.
In July 2018, an approximately 30-foot-long juvenile whale was spotted in Raritan and Sandy Hook bays in New Jersey. The humpback whale had a piece of gill net, a type of netting used in commercial fishing, wrapped around its mouth forming a closed loop around its blowhole for several months. Members of the non-profit Centre for Coastal Studies’ disentanglement team in Massachusetts arrived and used a custom-designed tool — a hook-shaped knife attached to a roughly 15-foot-long pole — to slice the piece of netting to free the whale.
A group of 85 whale watchers witnessed humpback whale “Owl” thrash for 50 minutes while caught in a fishing net Thursday afternoon off the Isles of Shoals, said Peter Reynolds who led the tour.
Artist Statement: David Barbara graduated with a BA contemporary art from Forth Valley College, Stirling. He is an enthusiastic artist, painter, illustrator and sculptor. He enjoys using recycled materials such as plastic, tin, string, rope, cardboard, and any household goods that can be used safely. He is a committee member of GOSSIP art group and has exhibited with them at the Tolbooth, The Engine Shed and the University of Stirling for their 50th anniversary.
Wave by Ken Elliott
Media: Aluminium with stainless steel fastenings
Description: The work represents the element of water as a breaking wave comprised of curved metal elements arranged in a three-dimensional structure on an elliptical base. In the context of the exhibition theme Change of Plan, it is a reminder of the fragile and simple beauty of the earth’s natural forms and the need for humankind to find ways of existing alongside them without doing further harm.
Artist Statement: Ken has recently made a career change from a professional Engineer to Artist and Craftsman and this is the first exhibition sized piece in a planned series of metal sculptures. His work is currently focussed on exploring ways to express some of the elegant forms in the natural world using only a minimal set of curved three-dimensional shapes, hand-formed in aluminium strips using simple tools.
Faded by Alice Martin
Media: Sandstone 3D print on a mirrored plinth
Description: I have reworked and repurposed an existing 3D print to highlight awareness of materials within my work. To weather the jug, I exposed it outside for roughly a month to allow the elements to decay the object. This meant that the original imagery and colour have gradually faded over time and this will continue to happen whilst being on display outdoors at the Art Collection. The altered item has been secured to a mirrored plinth so that the surrounding environment is reflected. Through this display things are not quite as they seem, an illusion occurs. By placing the worn piece onto a pristine base, the notion of value is hinted at as well.
Artist Statement: As a contemporary artist, I intend to question conventional ideas of representation with the hope to make the viewer less passive. Focusing on what a museum space could be and how an exhibit might be engaged. I am also interested in the tactile and how it can add to a person’s overall understanding. I aim to subvert the notion of the traditional museum and replace it with one which is less overwhelming and somewhat ambiguous.
The ideas of contemporary culture, materiality, and revisualisation are central to my work as well. My practice spans across new media (3D printing/scanning), installation, digital prints, and printmaking. Recently I have begun to use open data to create 3D printed remixes of original works, relating to heritage, archaeology, Classicism and Art history.
Green Shoots by Valerie Martin
Media: Willow and wire sculpture
Description: The willow structures were created in the first few weeks of lockdown when time stood still, and our options and freedoms became very limited. I used materials I had at home or could source within walking distance. The striped back willow seed pods reflect our paired back life’s and my hopes for the future as we all hibernate in our own bubbles. The open weave representing the fragile balance we tread to recovery and life. I have seeded the soil and as the willow weathers and decays it will become a sea of green shoots and purple flower alive with bees, colour and smell.
The New Normal.
Artist Statement: I enjoy the challenge of working with a variety of different materials from mixed media, photography, sculpture through to textiles. A lot of my inspiration comes directly from nature, whether that be from vast skies or craggy rock formations. Colour also plays a part in my work and I like the vibrancy and energy it can add to everyday life. I think art should permeate into all facets of life and not limited to galleries and exhibitions. With this in mind, I enjoy working within the wider community to develop and foster the creative talent within others helping people realise their potential.
Rock by Lesley McDermott
Media: Stone, coloured oxide, found objects, flowers and seeds
Description: Symbolic of enduring love, a unique gift from the cosmos, substance shaped by the elements, so fleetingly marked by human hand, will continue to find its place, made evident to us, here and now, in this special moment.
Artist Statement: Although having initially specialised in Textiles, I find myself working with sculptural techniques, developing an affinity towards casting, wrapping, hanging and making connections within site-specific spaces, often combining methods such as screen print, incorporating found objects of textiles. I explore transitions, movement, or sense of place with impermanent materials such as clay, wax, plaster, or ash, often involving conceptual symbolic relationships and elements of video projection. I endeavour to find new ways of expressing form and engaging composition.
Yarta by Dawn McLaren
Description: This sculpture depicts the age of Mother Earth and how fragile she truly is. The way she tried to carry us…. The way she tried to love us and forgive us has worn her thin, frail and tired. Despite all our faults, she will love us till she is gone.
Yarta [Aboriginal meaning for mother earth]
Artist Statement: Despite all our faults, mother nature still grows around us and nurtures us all in order to allow us to grow, to live, to fall in love and to reproduce. Yarta, is the name best suited to this piece, as it illustrates mother earths time through history and beyond.
She is old.
She is frail.
She is tired.
She is dying.
Through all the abuse that we deliver to her, she still holds us all close to her heart and loves us
As a Pagan Spiritualist, my heart breaks for her.
Hanging by a Thread by Audrey McMenemy
Media: Mixed media constructed textiles
Description: A couple of years ago I was given a jumbled collection of threads from my old art teacher, the same threads that I used when I was a school pupil in the 1970s. Since then I have included these personal, treasured and vintage materials in a few of my artworks. The threads have become an important part of my installation. I have tied a set of hanging cloths onto a tree which have been in storage for many years. The cloths are integrated with natural found objects and some bits of bead and jewellery as a way to catch the light and recycle objects that I have loved over time. The outdoor location will hopefully add and take away from the fragile artwork, creating changing light and movement with some natural deterioration.
Artist Statement: I studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1977 graduating in Embroidered and Woven Textiles in 1981. After many years of teaching art in secondary schools, I am only just finding my way back into exploring art for expressing my own ideas, so I am a fairly mature “emerging artist”. 2020 was supposed to be a time when I was making inroads into artistic communities and collaboration. I have found the idea of virtual meetings and virtual art galleries challenging but Gossip Art Group has been a force of nature and is driving art projects on for me.
Constructed textiles and mixed media are areas of inspiration, interest and expertise. I am also keen to find ways to recycle materials and enjoy creating art in a sustainable way. I respond to the marks made by stitches and love to experiment both with machine and traditional hand stitching. I love symbolism and connecting artistic visuals to nature, spiritual concepts and political comment. I have been involved in creating ecclesiastical vestments and altarpieces for churches and clergy.
There is an ebrochure of the exhibition available to download