salt of the earth

solway silt NY 13927 65142

annan river clay NY19182 70375

bentonite, imported

salt, irish sea NX 96140 11827

salt, solway firth NY 15278 65640

salt, north sea NT 68128 79048


DSC_0747_lowres DSC_0741_croplowres

salt of the earth

Location #3 CALDEWGATE, Newcastle Street, Carlisle.

And so concludes part three of an extended foray into exhibition/gallery art in 2015. Salt of the Earth first appeared in public at Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries as part of Spring Fling’s YAB exhibition in March. In April, it reappeared in a new form at Kulturschopfer’s Green Hill Gallery, Berlin alongside Spring Fling’s Making.Art exhibition. Finally, it crossed the Solway, the starting point of the work for CALDEWGATE.

With each showing, works were added, removed, altered, fiddled with, reconsidered, redrawn and ditched. From challenging contextual spaces, to uncertain install details – salt of the earth has been an interesting experiment, which has included, light-touch performance, interactive works, film work, text based wall work, soundscapes and the original sculptural objects. All grown from a fascination with environment.


How successful was it? Partially. Difficulties include: gallery context, ‘tangible’ engagement with passive gallery audiences, wiring install issues, sound quality, technical finish…

The ever perfection-driven artist ego struggles with gallery context. Even a desire for flawed-precision, humanised-perfection, can feel deflated and lack-lustre when confronted with a gallery context.

How does the audience arrive? With expectation? Can gallery audiences be more than passive viewers of a singular viewpoint? These experiences are far more personal, affected by the quietness and isolated nature of gallery spaces, temporary or otherwise. The CALDEWGATE space, so emotive for many visitors (and especially for the artists) still with a faint and dying scent of printmaking materials drew very distinctive frames around the work on view.


As usual, the learning curve continues. What next? A period of reflection, and some new making. Through making, and then through sharing these works have become part of myself and huge thank yous must go out to all those who helped make salt of the earth happen. They are:

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s VAACMA Award Scheme

Spring Fling


Gracefield Arts Centre team and staff

Genevieve Kay Gourlay and her unstoppable CALDEWGATE team

art school = art soul

It should be added, art colleges are a VALUABLE part of creating our cultural futures. Educational funding may not be what it was in some previous golden era, but measuring the value of your art college using a tape measure to student ratio is wasteful. Technical spaces are a dying breed, as ever increasing student numbers are sold a dream and packaged as sardines on a montetary fueled journey into the unknown. Art schools are magical places, and will grow our future creative and cultural worlds – they are the eye openers, precious spaces and world changers. Take heed art colleges, you are the guardians, the care-takers, the visionaries and future makers. But only if the art schools survive.

(rant over)

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