Nearly two hundred guests gathered for the grand opening of the annual Generator Members show last weekend. Each year this show grows bigger demonstrating what a vital part of Dundee’s art scene Generator is, attracting staff and student members from DJCAD, local colleges and also many established artists. This year 96 members chose to submit artwork, an increase of ten from 2014. The diverse range of pieces accepted makes for a thrilling, eclectic display of all shapes, sizes and disciplines of work.
Entering the exhibition, the visitor is immediately dazzled by an enticing variety of wall-based art, pieces suspended from the ceiling, video presentations and floor-based sculptural work. I was drawn to an intriguing scene at the centre of the space, where a “Game of Life” board game had been abandoned mid-way through and detritus from an evening in was evident; what happened here? A trio of zombies spent the duration of the opening night cross-legged on cushions, engaged in a parlour game while eating Pringles and drinking juice – a performance by Melissa Hall. On the wall alongside was another interesting performance piece – artist Lindsay Mylet paints beautiful monochrome fabric folds onto a large stretch of fabric, and invites the viewer to cut shapes out of her painting to take with them, so that what we see are the fragments left behind after the cutting process.
Printmaking is well represented with a startlingly intricate etching with watercolour “Bleeding Leaf” by Lauren Millar, and Ellis O’Connors’ magnificent “Traces” from her award-winning 2014 degree show is a series of rousing mountain lithography prints. A tiny trio of paintings that also caught my eye was Alana Brown’s “26.11.14”. What makes these images of the city at night special are the scraps of discarded cardboard on which they are painted. They become jewels in a world full of rubbish, and are all the more exciting for that. A mention must also go to Hannah Lindsay Fleming’s installation “Waste”, for the utter horror of looking down her clean, sparkling white toilet and discovering a pile of dead chicks. Through shock value she succeeds in conveying the depressing life of the farmed chicken – I wondered if these were the non-laying male chicks.
Don’t miss Uist Corrigan’s cast iron fakir, watching you from below as you enter Gallery Two. Alan Greig’s oil painting “Daymarks 2”, an elegant flat ocean scene, caught my eye. Its subtle bluish-greys, interrupted by the man-made colour of the navigation marks, has a timeless quality, and expertly captured the expanse of the ocean. The most exciting works in here are also the most playful – the creations of two ceramicists. The first is by Eleanor Paul, whose work “Hayley” has something of the 1930s Royal Doulton character mugs crossed with a Grayson Perry-esque garden gnome about it. Continuing with the crazy pottery vibe is Penelope Matheson’s “(un)necessary connections”, an incredible fantasy feat of pottery. I can’t really describe it – a cross between exotic jellyfish and a futuristic electronic creature from Jabba the Hutt’s lair, perhaps? Overwhelmingly imaginative, it’s inspired by her surprise at the beautiful colours of the internet cables installed in her college.
Generator is currently undergoing a re-design and refurbishment – I had a quick peep at the exciting new collective space opening this April. It will provide a much improved space for talks and receptions, and, most importantly, they have insulated the room, so Eddie Summerton may have to think again before titling his next submission “It’s freezing in here”.