‘Extension’ 31.10.19

Extension by Wooosh Collective (2019)

This wooosh took place on one of the Days when we were going to leave the EU – the one before the actual Day, and after two other Days that were meant to be the Day. We wanted this week for ourselves, intending to make some kind of fresh n spicy Brexit anti-celebration. We didn’t know what it was going to be, but that was the plan. As we all know (with a sort of floppy now irrelevant knowledge) that day was the first of another period of extension. With our plan out the window – or more like hovering uncertainly on the sil, politely in the porch, coldly in the close – we flung/sellotaped this wooosh together. We thought about using a solid roll of paper, but the flimsy conjunctions of what really is one of the worst kinds of tape were, looking back, definitely the right choice.

We are now living in a time of palpable extension. Scratched plans make up the texture of our days and weeks, and not-knowing-when is the dominant, swelling, mode of our thoughts. We don’t know when we should shower or when the pubs will reopen or when someone we love might die. The increments we live by are out of step: ‘three weeks’ promising more certainty than the month, and a larger than you would think 2 meter gap distorting our need to be close. Never has the steady clockwork of weather reports seemed more null – out is now in, home is now work, something is now a big, heavy nothing.

Or nothing is something. I want to say some-good-thing about the blank sheets of A4 that made up the ‘extension’ wooosh, then move it into a smooth analogy about uncertainty, space and potential, but maybe today I’m more worn down than I thought and can’t commit to an uplifting twist.

There is now a need to make your own increments, with whatever tape you have to hand. Shower when you think it’ll make you feel better, call people when you miss them or think they miss you, write your novel from 9-12, go for a walk, do the dishes again, lie on the floor and find out what’s been living underneath your sofa this whole entire time. I found the board games ‘Don’t Panic’ and ‘Trivial Pursuit’. In the magnanimous words of Heidi N Closet: take my poetry, honey.

Maria Tolia

Re: @mpilampa October 2019 Wooosh!
Maria’s Wooosh was a joyful occasion, one of the last of the year to enjoy sunlight before the carpark gatherings became an atmospheric streetlamp affair. I don’t remember very well now, but I think we all smiled a lot, and talked about her drawing, “Facts on Apes”. This drawing joins the very very very old tradition of translating and illustrating the Physiologus – a collection of ‘moralized beast tales’ that emerged from probably Alexandria in probably the 3rd or 4th century. This accumulated bestiary of Very Christian hot-takes expounds life lessons from the behaviours of animals and rocks. Things to the ilk of: ostriches are tall and abandon their eggs, ergo, we should stretch our heads up to heaven and ignore the earth, or, foxy foxes play dead before eating birds, ergo, the devilish devil is gonna get ya when you least expect it.

The devil definitely didn’t show face during Maria’s artist’s talk, where she told us some of her personal highlights from the text. There was an endearing description of an animal (an elephant maybe?) having to lick its young to make them into the right shape – due to their being born as squashy little balls of clay – and an oddly sensitive observation that apes are “very happy with the full moon… but they grow sad when it wanes.” These quirks within the manuscript resonate with the images Maria makes – odd, sad, dreamy figures, with traits both animal and human, dwelling curiously in a world of fat suns and glowing, sinking moons. The creatures in ‘Facts on Apes’ seem to have quite little factual commonality with apes, much like the medieval bestiary illustrations that don’t hold well to reality, but excel as strange imagination carrying vessels from a time when most had no means to explore other worlds.

Maria told us she is planning to make a whole book of entries like this, which I hope will contain many more wonderful noses, non-facts, and not much advice on how to live.

Eddie Summerton

A big thanks to the big man Edward Summerton for his woooshing with us in early September. Eddie made the wise decision to scamper away from an opening at @mcmanusdundee to join us, making his excuses with the enigmatic airs of a covert operation: an attitude we approve of, and what all good Wooosh openings aspire to be.

I remember a lecture that Eddie gave once, where he detailed the history of the Tay Road Bridge Snake Catcher – the story being that upon the bridge’s opening in 1966, all the snakes from Fife slithered their way across into Tayside, where they wreaked snakey havoc upon a defenceless Dundee. Enter the Snake Catcher, who catches them all! He gathers them all up in his long thin briefcase, designed ‘especially for snakes’. This device’s name? The Adder Subtractor.
And yet somehow I still I didn’t realise this was entirely made up. (It wasn’t until the subject came up years later during a trip to a paper bag factory that it was all revealed to be hokum). I guess the point I’m trying to make is that often in art it doesn’t matter how something actually happened – or if it even happened at all. Great works are susceptible to being forgotten because they don’t lend themselves well to anecdote – and the reverse is also true. How many people can recount the tale of Abramovic’s performance where a participant famously pointed a loaded gun in her face? How many people know it’s called Rhythm 0? Which is more memorable?

Eddie’s Wooosh, “The Step,” has an accompanying performance entitled “Walking Around Dundee, Until I Find a Kerb the Exact Height of My Stepped Shoe” – the title of which embraces the anecdotal nature of the performance and solves the Rhythm 0 issue.
He probably never even wore them.

You can follow the sneaky sneaker @edwardsummerton (though we know he’s not very ‘gram active: if you see this Eddie, please know you are always invited to our events, it’s not our fault you don’t check the promo stories…). In other news, we’re considering starting a mailing list. More on that soon.

With Love, Wooosh x

Jek McAllister

RE: JUMP!

Jek McAllister’s practice is either very easy or difficult to articulate. A recent work – the famous and highly ‘grammable “orange experience” (aka “It’s Too Orange to Tell You”) is a conceptually convenient example: a bit of very bright orange fabric installed on a structure so that you can put your head in and see how orange it is. A straightforward premise, but in the same way that I can’t tell you just how orange it was, it’s hard to explain why it was probably the best thing going at DJCAD’s 2019 degree show.

It’s actually more Orange than this in real life though

Her work generally hinges on an accessible/ubiquitous/lo-fi aesthetic, utilizing incidental and banal artefacts (found objects, found gestures, found language) as a starting point from which to enact variously playful and minimal responses. Her object-taste is in the ilk of lists, receipts, Tesco bags and office stationery, while her language-taste usually lies between a verb and a noun.

Jek’s interest in stationery is nicely offset by her penchant for action. “Come see what I put on this notepad in the work staffroom utilizing the work pens,” was the very snappy tagline in the promo for her Wooosh, and post-pasting we saw that “JUMP” was what she had put. Bouncing somewhere between an inert drawing and an -ert instruction, the page acted as a conductor for the rest of the evening: Jek followed on with a mediumly dangerous jump-based performance, and mobilized our attendees to partake in some synchronized (but more tepid) jump-actions. I was filming at the time of Jek’s JUMP, then deleted it because I had started too soon, ending up with no footage at all and having not paid attention to the jumping the whole time due to the matter of the filming – which is a shame, but also somehow on brand: Jek’s past performances have been decidedly trivial, to the point of wondering if anything had happened at all.

Once infamously criticised as being a ‘slacker’, all good woooshers should be able to identify that Jek is in fact a sneaky-firebrand facilitator – here at Wooosh, DAIN HINGS and Powerpoint Presentation Club to name just a few – repeatedly prompting us towards the thrills of the mundane. Follow her @jekmcallister for more (or less)

Mhairi Brown

Our tenth Wooosh opening was somewhat delayed by a private transaction between two BMWs in the viewing zone of Gallery 2 – one befitting Saturday night in a public car park, and somewhat inevitable given its locale being more explicitly ‘in a parking spot’ than the open reaches of Gallery 1.

Mhairi Brown’s drawings are complementary to other, less disruptive, qualities of Gallery 2 – its architectural and botanical framing providing a sheltered respite appropriate to her work and working habits. Her drawings are quiet yet full, treading a soft line between giving too much or little away. Whether painting while holed-up inside a canvas tent or making marks at subtle increments almost imperceptible to her studio peers, she is attuned to the bind between making and its context, one that toes the bounds between the private and performative.

In her talk Mhairi told us that this particular drawing emerged from a photo she took of patrons while invigilating her own degree show: a peculiar and exposed situation of being audience to your audience, a viewer to viewership. It is an introspection on the demands she makes when the roles are switched – always looking to take something for herself from the work of others, and (by her own admittance) not often returning empathy to the artist’s own perspective. Figures peer out to make finely penciled confessions of this small and relatable sin.

With the A4 freshly pasted to the wall, a new audience huddled together to examine the speech bubbles which – with a smidge of obfuscation – read: “Give me something”… “Give me something back”. Similar utterances were presumably made in the BMWs moments before – words of of divest and invest, supply and demand. In the same spot our attendees now shone – stagelit by the fresh light of Mhairi’s work and a shoddy iPhone flash, in an idiosyncratic carpark performance of viewership as exchange.

Mhairi’s drawing will not fit up your nose, and empathy is not really a currency, so the themes being pushed here are probably a bit off. Nonetheless, we hope she got something from the experience, and that if you find yourself in the Miller’s Wynd car park at night, you get something too.

Melina Doumy

A moon ago but better than late than never, we’d care to share a little more about @melidoums wonderful Wooosh:

With rain prevailing on the opening night, Melina Doumy’s artist talk was given inside a quite full Mini, from which she explained that she had been recently enjoying drawing without thinking about Meaning. Meaning (capital M) is the large and heavy boots people put on when they consider themselves to be more serious about walking places than other people, but that are not in fact a necessity for traversing the ground. Choosing them takes time and effort, tying the laces is a faff and frankly they’ll only get heavier as you traipse through the mud.

The ground in this drawing is formed by a gothic-y looking window into the paper, that Google tells me is called a trefoil. This is a way of starting drawings Melina has been dabbling with to ease the process of beginning – a retort to the disparaging look blank pieces of paper sometimes give you when you approach them without a plan. “Well hey paper!” – the outline cries – “you’re actually a wall with a hole in it and I don’t care about you! I’m here for the stuff out there!” Melina’s imagery often reads like folk tales from some soft, bendy and luminous other-world, and the window frame adds to this sense of peering into unknowns – sort of like the game Portal, but set in the middle ages. Through the monastic aperture we see a sleeping mandrake, nestled in a bed of scurried black pigment.

In folkloric canons, those who dare to pull a mandrake from the ground are killed, and condemned to live in hell for eternity – which we could say was an analogy for she-that-drew-it-from-the-papery-ground being condemned to go live in London for a year, as her life in Dundee comes to an end. It’s also possible that something being drawn sans-boots, bootless, ought to be looked at sans-scrutiny, scrutless, and we shouldn’t be donning Meaning at all but hopping barefoot into the A4 ether. Either way, we wish her the best of luck in the big city down below, and hope that – whether on foot, via portal, or in a good pal’s car – she comes back to the sunniest city in Scotland for a visit real soon.

Scott Hudson

“You Have Been Warned” (2019) by Scott Hudson


You may know Scott if you have some interest in the print-based goings on of Dundee: whether you frequent the DCA print studio – where he holds the fort as head technician – or you recently holidayed in the State of Print – where he builds the forts for an artist-led faux nation constructed entirely out of cardboard and hawaiian shirts. You’re likely to be aware of the Dundee Print Collective – a large and welcoming collective that have exhibited internationally – and you may even have some knowledge of a place called the “V&A Dundee”, where he also dabbles in further printy stuff. But chances are you most likely you know him from his recent show at Wooosh Gallery.
Our Scotty boy is a busy boy indeed. His designs carry another sort of busy-ness: a strong, pattern-based graphic sensibility, the possible roots of which are referenced in his Wooosh, “You Have Been Warned” – the work of Peter Saville, one of Scott’s design heroes. His work often makes use of language, with which he is interested in both the material and immaterial aspects – letterpress as well as etymology.
The piece itself is a warning… a warning about being warned. Warned about what, exactly? We’re not sure. Perhaps about fly-posting, car-parking, street-drinking, or even poster-reading. Whatever it was, the gallery slugs seem to have taken issue with it and have destroyed it via ingestion – eating away at the words of authority. (#punkslug). The yellow and black hues of the warning sign have thus been reframed as the yellow and black of the bumble-bee – the poster, post-ingest, now reading “YOU HAVE BEE WARNED”, almost as if them slugs are trying to tell us what the warning should have been about all along… Surprise! This one’s about the environment!! Up with slugs, down with climate change!

Why do these things keep ending up being about slugs?

Follow Scotts’s escapades @brogueprinter (I think this is a play on “Rogue Trader” but I’m not sure) and follow his projects @thestateofprint and @dundeeprintcollective

Chris Coatham

Big thanks to @chriscoatham for letting us place his work gently on the gallery floor for his woooshing – the curatorial freedom was a nice change of pace from our standard arrangements.

Chris Coatham’s work was one of many firsts: first double opening, first not attached to a wall, first not consumed by slugs. After the opening evening his temporary floor based installation was left in situ, but when we left the gallery we didn’t track its movements. As a result of this we can only speculate as to where it ended up. Did somebody find it and realise it’s value as a thought provoking work from an early career artist, or did they mistake it as yet another piece of Perth Road detritus and place it in the recently decorated paper recycling bin?

The work shown featured the familiar template of the ‘expanding brain meme’, an image format that most are familiar with but one that we rarely experience in a physical format. The most expanded brain tells us that printing memes is three steps higher than making print. (Sorry printmakers). Chris seems to be constantly producing content and dispersing content, then producing content about dispersing content… Taking these ubiquitous internet forms and using the lo-fi, familiar and easily distributable format of memes to convey niche critique about the art market, art history and art theory, in lieu of broader cultural referencing and social funnies – upturning and so bashing the dust off the pedestal upon which –serious– arts discourse is held.

Just like Chris’s physical Wooosh piece, it is interesting to imagine just how far these digital works have dispersed, what places they have accessed – uninvited, and likely to be misunderstood.

Finlay J Hall

ON FINLAY AND SOME SLUGS

“Boombox Chess” performance (2018)

With Scottish summer excursions occurring in abundance, wooosh’s Finlay J Hall last week found himself alone and unsupervised, and took the fortuitous opportunity to exhibit a work of his own making. Not wanting to toot our own flutes too strongly, but still wanting to give him a wee write up, here is a somewhat wandering text that could well be titled: when the gang’s away, the slugs shall play. 🐌🕺🏼🥳 –

Finlay (J Hall), who under casual circumstances could be described as a performance artist, would be better described as directing the performances of others – whether in a competitive coin toss, the acquisition of sandwiches, in their experience of music or participation in a game of chess – often inventing roles that invert or exploit the hierarchy of artist and audience.

These tend to be exchanges entirely free of convolution – energising interactions both silly and serious; conceptual, yet overseen by an earnest enthusiasm for people and their embodied experience. Accumulated along the way are independant and immediate forms of documentation – gig posters and communal drawings, leftover tinnies and paper aeroplanes scattered on the floor. The candor of these events is expressed equally by his use of material and objects: inherently ad-hoc, duly DIY.

Finlay’s piece for wooosh, ‘Euston Station to Peckham Rye’, though not explicitly performative, is both a set of directions and the self-generated documentation of an event. Exposed to the gallery space it has received the concerted attention of some neighboring slugs, who – unable to navigate the instructed course from Euston to Peckham due to both geographical inconvenience and a lack of literacy, and motivated more strongly by a taste for damp surfaces and very delicious wallpaper paste – have made their own tracks around the work.

Our wee slug pals have become an optimal audience of collaborating performers, propelled by the most sincere impulses of sensation and consumption – generating as they go not the elaborate shells of more aesthetically minded molluscs, but a modest trace of silver slime on an A4 land of plenty. Their contact with the work is close and pure, its substance felt right in their gastropedic guts. Would that I were a single long and sticky foot.

Slug Parts | College of Agricultural Sciences | Oregon State ...

I am not certain if I am saying Finlay is like a slug, or that those who participate in his work are like slugs, or if there is much of interest to be said about slugs at all. What I would guess is that in their community their trails function as signposts, of who has been where and what they did and what they felt, making this text just another mucal path – a silvery excretion, to follow or ignore at your own discretion.

You can follow Finlay’s inedible digital output over at @loonbeams , and visit the slugs at any soggy bit of wall/floor near you

Saoirse Amira Anis

Some rather late night woooshing from last week, when we featured a series of images from the recent publication ‘There’s a Fig Tree on Fairy Lane’ by Saoirse Anis.
The book was inspired by the beautiful phrase that forms its title. Its true! There is a fig tree on Fairy Lane! This lovely fact sparked Saoirse to recall that, actually, there are some nice things happening in the world – despite how the media (& so on) might make it appear. Each page of the publication houses a small wonder that brings joy to the artist, and the page-to-page combinations (thrown together by chance in the process of printing) allow the viewer to draw their own meaning and pleasures from the artist’s selection.
Perhaps our weekly woooshes can act for you as the pages of Saoirse’s book: tiny pieces of beauty framed upon a brick wall.

Anyway, check out the rest of the artist’s work over on @moroccanstylechicken where you can see more good stuff that includes not only beauty but instruments and dancing!