Curated by David Dale Gallery
22.11 – 29.11.15
5 Military Street
David Dale Gallery, in partnership with Video Art Network Lagos, are delighted to present Watch Yourself, a multi-channel video installation of work by UK based artists Rachel Maclean, Jack Saunders, Dominic Watson & Zoe Williams. Presented as part of the British Council’s UK/ Nigeria 2015-16 season, Watch Yourself is the second in a series of collaborations between David Dale Gallery and Video Art Network Lagos.
The organisations first collaborated when David Dale Gallery invited Video Art Network Lagos, alongside five other international organisations, to participate in International Artist Initiated, a project devised as part of Festival 2014, the cultural programme of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Working with artist initiated, or focussed, organisations from across the six Commonwealth territories, the programme consisted of a series of exhibitions and events by the invited organisations that responded to either the context of the Commonwealth Games within Glasgow, or was representative or indicative of contemporary culture within their nation through the lens of an artist-led organisation. Taking place over multiple venues in Glasgow’s east end, International Artist Initiated incorporated visual art exhibitions, public art, events, performance and publications as a celebration of the diversity of self-organised cultural practice internationally.
Video Art Network Lagos’ contribution was titled Owambe, a colloquial expression for a party where the who-is-who in the Nigerian society are in attendance. Watch Yourself is developed as a sequel to the project’s initial iteration in Glasgow, and is presented in similar terms as a glimpse of contemporary culture within UK and artists’ representations of this. The exhibition brings together artists working within culture directed by the online totality of media. Characterised by the hyper – personal, subjective, seductive or aesthetic – the artists work within forms now defined by the multiplicity of online video production, and the half truths jostling for attention that the commodification of moving image has necessitated. Merging humour, vanity and seduction, an undercurrent of dark anxiety permeates all the works, questioning the depth of a surface orientated culture.
Inspired by the Technicolor utopias of children’s television, Rachel Maclean’s Over the Rainbow (2013), invites the viewer into a shape-shifting world inhabited by cuddly monsters, faceless clones, and gruesome pop divas. Shot entirely using green screen the film presents a synthetic environment, part toy model, part computer generated landscape, which explores a dark comedic parody of the Faustian tale, video game and horror movie genres.
Fash (2013), Jack Saunders, follows a conversation between two similarly voiced, different characters. Neither taking the definitive position of interviewer or interviewee, they offer a tenuous trail of opinions addressing subjects of consumption, deprivation and indecision. In layering static shapes over found-footage clips of underwater scenes the constant over-taking and under-cutting of images harmonises with the on-going ambiguous, yet confrontational, discussion and suggests at the idea of an unconfirmed hierarchy.
The lack of action in Protein Discourse (2014) by Dominic Watson becomes a ball of potential energy. Like a child remanded inside on a rainy day, destruction and carnage never seem far away, yet the pay off never arrives. The film displays a crushing self-awareness though, that the transformative power of costume (or disguise) isn’t enough to transcend mundane reality, maudlin vanity giving way to doubt.
The politics of sex are central to the films of Zoe Williams, including Fleece II Taste (2015), often touching on ideas of seduction, sensuality and transgression. In this work the body and surface are manipulated and confused through their depiction, creating a cross-contamination between silk, skin, fur and precious stones. Building a subtly irreverent dialogue and tension between polarities such as the animate and inanimate, the seductive and the repulsive, the work considers contemporary attitudes towards notions of taste, sexuality and beauty. Operating as a troubling texture of sexual experience, Fleece II Taste conveys a sensuality that is at once voluptuous and tinged with anxiety. The version of the film exhibited is an edit of a full length version which will be displayed at Galerie Antoine Levi, Paris, later in the year.
Rachel Maclean (b. 1987 Edinburgh, UK) lives and works in Glasgow. Recent exhibitions include: British Art Show 8, various venues, 2015-17; Happy & Glorious (solo), CCA, Glasgow, 2014; I HEART SCOTLAND (solo), The Edinburgh Printmakers, 2014; Invites (solo), Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2014; Quick Child, Run (solo), Trade Gallery, Nottingham, 2014; Over The Rainbow (solo), Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, 2013; Space Time: Convention T, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, 2013; Lolcats (solo), Generator Projects, Dundee, 2012.
Jack Saunders (b. 1990 Edinburgh, UK) lives and works in Glasgow. Recent exhibitions include: !?, The Pipe Factory, Glasgow, 2014; Musée Imaginaire Presents: Disembodied Voice, Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle, 2014; Pardon me, but our position has been struck by lightning, The Substation, Melbourne, 2014; Salonely, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, 2014; Chaise Longue, The Old Hairdresser’s, Glasgow, 2013.
Dominic Watson (b.1986 Sunderland, UK) lives and works in Glasgow. Recent exhibition include: Significant Culture (solo), Hutt, Nottingham, 2015; Wearing Potentiality, The Basement Paradise Row, London, 2014; Dance like nobody’s watching or Dance like you’re not dancing, Rhubaba, Edinburgh, 2014; Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2013, Spike Island, Bristol, 2013; Semi Pro (solo), Plaza Plaza Plaza, London, 2012.
Zoe Williams (b. 1983 Salisbury, UK) Lives and works in Glasgow. Recent exhibitions include: Maripol, Clare Stephenson and Zoe Williams: Spring/Summer 2015, DCA, Dundee, 2015; Mood is Made / Temperature Is Taken curated by Quinn Latimer; The Sculpture Studios, Glasgow, 2014; Movements in Love (solo), Galerie Antoine Levi, Paris, 2014; You Consume Me (solo), Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, Copenhagen, 2014; Soft Paste (solo), SWG3, Glasgow, 2013; COCKTAIL, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, 2013.