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.