'AVEM: A Journey With Birds' by Lara Scouller!

I cant remember exactly when I first got into Lara's work but I followed a load of artists and collectives on Twitter and Instagram like Dundee Print Collective and her handle popped up and I instantly fell in love with her style and subject matter. I'm a huge fan of old animal and plant illustrations which but it was the subtle elements and well executed line work that made Lara's work stand out. 

This past weekend I decided to visit Dundee with the intentions of seeing Lara's work in the flesh. However I wasn't prepared for the University building being shut! Thankfully the security guard was kind enough to let me in for a look and to take some snaps. As always photos don't really do justice to the work but it was fantastic to see prints, sketches and paintings together, giving a great overall view of Lara's work and an insight into her methods with sketch books opened, smudge marks and all! A few stuffed specimens also graced the display cabinets but in their dormant state only highlighted the life and vibrancy of Lara's work and its unique quality.
             
I could go on and on but really you should jump on a train like I did and go find Laras work and see it for yourself. And you can nip into the DCA and see some more top quality work and get a tasty lunch. It was great to get out of Aberdeen for a few hours and get a wee taster of whats going on down the road, with the V&A under construction Dundee is set to become a real beacon for creatives and already boasts a great number of artists, collectives and gallery spaces. 

If you want to see more of Lara's work then check out her website here, follow on Twitter and Instagram and check out this cool studio visit feature on the Creative Dundee site. And special thanks to the Dundee University security guard who kindly let me in while the building was closed, don't think that would happen up here! 

'Pilgrimage' by Caitlin Hynes at Smart Gallery!

Another one from last year that I'm only getting round to posting now but it was a good one! The final show at the Smart Gallery space featured a selection of new work by one of my favourites Caitlin Hynes! Caitlins distinctive style sucked me in from the start and it seems quite fitting that the show she was awarded during her degree show by Smart would be the final show at their current gallery space. The closing of Smart Gallery felt like quite a blow, especially when you consider how much they have done for the arts in Aberdeen over the last hlaf a decade ( and some) but seeing the things that Recoat Gallery have gone on to achieve after giving up their gallery space in Glasgow leaves me with no doubt that 2016 will see Smart get bigger and better than ever before!

I found myself taking snaps of Caitlins work on the last day of the show, by which point I think a few pieces had been sold and collected to be proudly presented in their new homes but with her crazy work ethic and ability to translate her ideas onto paper I found more than enough things to look at and photograph! 'Pilgrimage' really took things up a notch from Caitlins degree show with more prints, more large textile pieces, more 3D heads and a special gypsy cart filled with shiny objects and ephemera. Its this ability to create a fully realised world in which these objects exist that drew me into Caitlins work and continues to fascinate.

With its macabre characters and their distorted smiles you might find yourself thinking Caitlins world is one of darkness and scary things, you may find Caitlins world a bit dark but its always full of interesting people and objects, a real visual delight which reveals itself upon closer inspection! Sometimes you just need to spend a bit of time being that person in a gallery who really looks at the art, not just a casual observer running from piece to piece so you can get out of there. Thats my take on things anyway and it definitely applies here. 

Sadly this is the last thing I have to post from 2015, I missed a load of great shows at Newave Gallery and the DCA in Dundee but hopefuly 2016 will be the year of connections and getting out to see more art. You can check out my archive of Caitlins work here and check out her website here. Oh and keep an eye on the Smart crew, big things coming for 2016 now they dont have offices to worry about!