In July, I undertook a trip to Glasgow to meet young artists and connect with artist-run spaces. I currently have two strands to my practice, making work and organising exhibitions for others through Recent Activity, a curatorial project I run with Andrew Lacon. Earlier this year, we opened a project space, providing a fixed location to our previously itinerant activity. Visiting Glasgow, I hoped to meet artists with a similar balance and range to their practices.

France-Lise McGurn, Rabbit, 2017, installation view at Recent Activity

Michael White, an artist who also runs Gallery Celine was extremely insightful. Unfunded and independent, the gallery operates from a living room in shared flat. The energy and ambition of Gallery Celine is exhilarating and such an urgent attitude to staging exhibitions would hugely benefit the artistic Birmingham.

David Dale Gallery revealed a different model – a larger gallery space with connecting studios. It was useful to see how a space might develop. An outdoor courtyard had been activated as a site for showing work and making pizzas in a clay oven. This resourcefulness and fluidity was interesting to see and particularly relevant to my work with Recent Activity.

Matthew and Jessica from The Good Press were also very interesting to meet. Formed in 2011, The Good Press provides a platform for the production and sale of independent publications, as well as a site for exhibitions and projects. Their range of activities and open approach to collaboration is compelling and has inspired some new conversations about the possible direction of Recent Activity.

I visited France-Lise McGurn in her studio prior to her exhibition at Recent Activity. It was great to discuss her developing work and talk more broadly about the artistic landscape in Glasgow. Having returned to Glasgow after time in London and Berlin, it was useful to talk about her relationship with the city and the changing roles of galleries and artist-run spaces.

Steven Claydon’s exhibition at The Common Guild was a highlight of the trip; the collision of materials, imagery and forms was really exciting to see first hand. Claydon’s broad range of cultural references and the overall composition of his exhibition made a huge impact on me.

Andrew Gillespie

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