A Silvered Light…
Scottish Art Photography Exhibition located at The Dundee Mcmanus Art Gallery and Museum.
The Silvered Light exhibition emphasises Dundee’s collection of photography since the 1800’s in which it strings together a series of Scottish Artists and Photographers to reiterate the claim that photography is the only art form that the Scots have indeed mastered (of course this is my unbiased view, being an avid lover of Scottish Photography and the fact that I am Scottish).
The combinations of the old and modern photographers have allowed the audience to witness the unsurprising rapid development of camera technology and photographic processes that accentuate the quality of work that the Mcmanus has acquired.
Upon walking into the gallery, the first image that is placed strategically within view is Calum Colvin’s Dusk on Loch Duich that was photographed in 1987. Colvin creates “sets” of combined furniture, bric-a-brac, painted elements and lighted backdrops that culminate in a photograph of his construction. Colvin is obviously patriotic and proud of his heritage with kilted plastic figurines and tartan cloth covered tables with the reference to Loch Duich. The quality of the photograph is flawless, however I believe that the idea of Colvin’s work lends itself to an installation piece as the image is cluttered with too many colours and graphics. It is very busy and hard to determine the photograph’s significance.
There are a series of intense, atmospheric photographs by Thomas Joshua Cooper that I was drawn to instantly. Cooper focuses on places where people once lived and worked. His black and white gelatin silver prints contrast beautifully creating the depth of the natural landscape. Cooper searches the wilderness for small details found amongst the trees, glimpses of moss and draws attention to the natural earthy landscapes.
The natural world has always been a great inspirational source for artists and a theme that occurs widely throughout the exhibition. Patricia Macdonald and Aase Goldsmith are similar in the sense that they both shoot somewhat abstract images found with the land. Macdonald’s aerial photography highlights the abstraction of the land and focuses on large areas of ground that has been worked. The relationship between human interaction and the physical environment is vital to Macdonald’s work that highlights present day concerns, especially with environmental issues. This can be interpreted within Macdonald’s Croft House and Fields, Lewis, 1986. From Macdonald’s images you can see the effect farming has on the land. On the other hand, Aase Goldsmiths photographs Foam Shape, Loch Laidon, 1982 and Weathered Polythene, Loch Earn, 1982 highlight the simple beauty found within abstraction. The monochromatic images are focused on the patterns and intricate details of foam found within the water and something that is readily discarded such as polythene. Goldsmith’s photographs are prime examples of how beauty is not where you would expect to find it.
Truthfully, I often overlook the Mcmanus Gallery but on your first visit to Dundee it should be on the to-do list. They really came up trumps with the Silvered Light Exhibition and any keen photographer would be sore to miss the opportunity to view the ample collection of works on offer.
A Silvered Light will be exhibiting throughout 2014 and is free entry. Please visit www.mcmanus.co.uk for more details.
Written By Danielle Fleming