Culture Vulture: Part II

A few years ago I posted on the site about an attempt to get more into local “culture”, and not only that but to write about it too. That idea didn’t take off as much as I thought it would, and my desire to see all the things was somewhat quashed by 1) too many other people having the same idea at the same time 2) no-one in my life at the time who shared the same interest in seeing all the things as me 3) not being able to justify travelling extensively due to the above factors often making visits to places of culture not very worthwhile. However recently, with the encouragement of someone who does have an interest in things of “culture” just as much, if not more, than me, (and also a mosaic of Shakespeare in a bathroom stall – true story) I went with said companion to the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show – something I really should have gone to see by now. After all, there but for the grace of god (and a harsh, borderline elite, recruitment process during several applications to the GSA) go I…

The 2015 degree show was needless to say going to have a touch of poignancy, due to the fire which destroyed almost all the work of the hard-working students stored in the iconic Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building in 2014. Upon hearing the news at the time, it struck me just what it must have been like to have the culmination of three or four years of dedication and passion literally gone up in smoke. Having applied quite a few times to get into the School of Art, and having once taken a summer portf0lio-building class there, I can only say that the mere thought of it, let alone having it actually happen, was unbearable.

However, the degree show faithfully rolled around in June 2015, defiantly putting on display the emerging talents of the soon-to-be alumni. So in we popped to have a look around to see what it was like.

A free-entrance exhibition on a Monday afternoon wasn’t exactly peak publicity time, but this was to my advantage, as I got to all the more fully appreciate the work on show than the last time I attempted to view an exhibition. Paintings of all styles were on show (what with it being an art exhibition) but there were quite a few surrealist images on display, which I’m innately drawn to, and which show the environment we live in, from an entirely new perspective. Not only paintings there were, but corners and entire rooms were dedicated to a single “message” which the artist wanted to convey. Acrylic faces hung from the ceiling, ceramic objects were wobbled slightly on the table by me (thinking they were fixed down), TV sets showing something which you had to stand and watch for a while in order for it to make sense and intricate costumes of satin and lace (even at one point a lace “painting”) were refreshingly juxtaposed with a flourish of humour and the odd satirical message here and there. At one point I walked up a ramp with the end point obscured by a wall – it led to a small window, and nothing else, and I’m still trying to figure out its meaning…

My description of my visit is probably not the most evocative, and that is largely due to the fact that I didn’t take any photos while I was there. Unlike many places where photography by the visitor is banned, this place allowed pictures to be taken, but from prior experience I’ve learned that any photos taken in such a setting never does the object of the photo the slightest bit of justice. It’s just not the same. It’s the same reason that a few months ago, when I visited the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, I very soon gave up even trying to take pictures because, even without the heaving throng of people obscuring almost everything there except the ceiling, I realised that it’s never the same as actually being there – unless it’s a damn good camera.

It’s certainly an incentive to pick up the camera, and the paintbrush, for artistic purposes again…

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