When the pandemic hit, musicians were the first to be locked out of their livelihoods, and it’s looking like they’ll be among the last to be allowed back in.
A new exhibition at the Kathryn Rattray Gallery in Dundee has given musicians and artists across the UK an outlet for their creativity during this uncertain time.
Organised by Dundee musician Andrew Wasylyk, the Unhalfwintering exhibition (Fairport Convention fans will get the connection to the album Unhalfbricking) runs until June 20.
Among the artists taking part are Kathryn Joseph, King Creosote & Keny Drew, Aidan Moffatt from Arab Strap, Lindsay Leven-Pryce from Gulp, Thomas White from the Electric Soft Parade, Tommy Perman, and more.
“Obviously things had stagnated for musicians last year,” says Andrew. “I decided to approach them and ask if they wanted to contribute to a joint project involving artworks.
“They were so generous with their time and their talent. The idea was to start this year with the exhibition and a really positive act; a way to celebrate the creativity of musicians and ease ourselves into the post-Covid year.”
All the artworks are for sale, with the proceeds going directly to the musicians, all detailed on Perman’s poster (see below) for the event. The posters will be sold in aid of Help Musicians.
Lindsey Leven-Price, half of the Fife-based duo Gulp, says, “I feel honoured to be included in this show in an exciting space amongst such great musician/artists.
“My new prints aim to create a moment of calm for the viewer. I’ve only recently embarked on my journey which incorporates the Japanese woodblock technique, a wonderful organic experience which I aim to explore further, and I’m thrilled to have an outlet in which to show my new work.”
The musician artists had free rein with subject matter. As long as the work was in print, they could submit whatever they chose.
“I felt that they were having so many rules and regulations forced upon them over the past year, I didn’t want to impose any more,” adds Andrew.
“The didn’t happen of course, but I’m so glad we can do this with Kathryn and her gallery. I love what she’s been putting on so far.”
From disposable to digital camera heaven
The gallery at Meadow Mill moved from its original location in the mill last year, with a bigger space allowing Kathryn to plan more ambitious exhibitions.
A photographer herself, Kathryn’s journey from being given a disposable camera by her mum when her first child Daisy was born, to owning this gallery and planning exhibitions has taken 11 years of hard work.
Primarily self-taught “with the help of some good teachers”, Kathryn joined Ross Fraser McLean’s Blue Sky Photo Club, but her break came when a friend, seeing the photographs of Daisy on Kathryn’s social media asked her to photograph her wedding.
“Then I was lucky enough to get some work at the Cooper Gallery at DJCAD. Looking back, I really don’t think I knew what I was doing at the time, but I learned quickly! Photography was my 100% obsession at that time.”
When Kathryn’s second child Jacob came along, she could be seen at events with Daisy at her side, Jacob in one arm and the, by now much better, camera in the other.
Looking back, I really don’t think I knew what I was doing at the time, but I learned quickly! Photography was my 100% obsession at that time.”
“My Photoshop skills and social media skills came from living in fairly remote place in Fife and being embedded at home with two small children. Daisy doing tumbles on the carpet and Jacob breastfeeding while I tried to learn!”
Kathryn was asked to then asked to photograph the DJCAD Degree Show and also work with the Dundee Design Festival. Travel photography is something of a passion, however.
“My first travel photography exhibition here was on Morocco. It was a 32-piece exhibition and I think I sold half over the first weekend.
“I feel much more free taking pictures abroad. I do like buildings and streetscapes, but it’s much more comfortable doing street photography abroad. My worked evolved and now I’m doing fashion campaigns too.”
“It’s been great coming back to this exhibition after a few months,” adds Andrew. “The delays have meant that it has been put to the side while I worked on other projects including some commissioned music, producing Roddy Woomble’s new album, and my own album to be released later in the summer.
“Here we are now though. Every work is so different, I think everyone will find something that they love.”
Kathryn thinks this is exactly the right exhibition to welcome the public back to the gallery. “This is a brilliant way to reopen. It’s great that we have this new bigger space because I think it’s going to be a popular show. It was a a no-brainer to support Andrew with this, and that’s what I plan to do, support local talent.”
Unhalfwintering is at the Kathryn Rattray Gallery, Meadow Mill, until Sunday, June 20.