Exhibition Description


Tessa Lynch, Francis McKee, John Nicol, Rosie O’Grady, and Ross Sinclair
July 11 – Aug 8, 2015

View images from this exhibit

Artist-Curator Cedric Tai invited five Glasgow-based artists, Tessa Lynch, Francis McKee, John Nicol, Rosie O’Grady, and Ross Sinclair, to Detroit for an exhibition that investigates what it means to be an artist, creating and sustaining their practices in these cities.

This project is rooted in Tai’s introduction to the artistic community of Glasgow, which he saw as having similarities to Detroit’s developing art scene. Glasgow could serve as an ideal model for artists to re-imagine Detroit’s potential. He worked to learn as much as possible by attending meetings of grassroots organizations (such as GalGael), being a part of the AHRC funded project “The Glasgow Miracle: Materials for Alternative Histories” and leading walking tours through the city of Glasgow. Through these actions he met the five artists in this exhibition, as co-workers, peers and collaborators.

Lynch, McKee, Nicol, O’Grady and Sinclair have been invited to exhibit their work as each artist makes uncompromising work, never allowing their art to become too serious, a quality within that cultivates curiosity and critical thinking. Their process of examining the role of artists, identity, and place is steeped in abundant research. These ideas are manifested into playful works that critique voyeurism, tourism or corporatism. Where it has become an occupational hazard to become stifled by the mediated identity of a city, this project brings together people who do exceptionally well defining success on their own terms.

Over Over Over opens Saturday, July 11, and runs through August 8, 2015.


Francis McKee is an Irish writer, photographer and curator working in Glasgow.

He is currently completing a book for Book Works in London. A fictional narrative, Even the Dead Rise Up explores the world of spiritualism and it’s links to protest movements:

A task – a series of monthly essays, accompanied by photo-journalistic images, to trace the nature of dissent and protest across the globe today. Twelve entries, drawing on the templates of the Mass Observation movement (founded 1937) – a semi-serious desire to practice ‘anthropology at home’ founded by Charles Madge, Tom Harrison and Humphrey Jennings in Bolton – the project attempts to discover the unconscious at work in an industrial town, through diary entries, collected anecdotes, rumours, and overheard commentaries.

Even the Dead Rise Up, and the political becomes personal. McKee’s observations of séances, scientific advances, group education outings, Kurdish protests for the ‘disappeared’, become mixed with his own visions: a spirit reappears, haunting the author; histories of isolated early Christians and twentieth century mystics affect his own psyche. The relation between political resistance and Spiritiualism is cast as a heretical force, a hauntology, and a millenarian energy, celebrating the ecstatic moment. In a format that is influenced by forms of 1960s new journalism, in which reporter pushes language to match the raw material of the stories, the reader follows the author, as he is tipped into a resynchronised world by forces and refined codes, and heretical energy that is out of his control.
From 2005 – 2008 he was director of Glasgow International, and since 2006 he has been at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. He is a lecturer and research fellow at Glasgow School of Art. He has worked on the development of open source ideologies and their practical application to art spaces, specifically the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow.. He curated the Scottish participation at the Venice Biennale with Kay Pallister in 2003. Since 2011 he has been lead researcher on an AHRC research project – The Glasgow Miracle: Materials Towards Alternative Histories – indexing the archives of The Scottish Arts Council Gallery, Glasgow, the Third Eye Centre and CCA, spanning 1973 to the present.

Born 1980 in Aberdeen Scotland, John Nicol graduated from Grays School of Art in 2001, and finished the MFA at Glasgow School of Art in 2011. Nicol currently lives in Glasgow, and has spent the last few years dividing his time between musical projects, exhibitions, and voluntary work at a local artist run space.
In his visual practice, Nicol conducts a multi-disciplinary investigation of value through the manipulation of objects and materials.

‘An Abominable Affair’ (viewed here) consisted on an exhibition of work produced during an 8-month residency at the Muse 269 space in London. Nicol’s research during the residency was concerned with yeti’s, dandy’s and psychedelic Japanese collectable toys from the 60s that he had recently come across on a visit to Tokyo. To fit within his residency budget the work was mainly produced from found objects and materials purchased at the local £1 store.

Tessa Lynch works predominantly with sculpture and performance, mimicking objects and scenarios. Connected research is concerned with the emotional impact and commanding power made by both the built environment and the miasma generated from neoliberalism.

Born 1984 in Surrey, Lynch studied at Camberwell College of Art, Saga University of the Arts, Kyoto, Japan and Edinburgh College of Art before completing an MFA at the Glasgow School of Art in 2013. Selected exhibitions and performances include: New Work Scotland (News You Can Use), Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, 2007 (solo); Alexandrite Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (solo); Revolving Doors Relaxed performance, with Trolley Gallery, London; You are Here Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (solo) all 2010; Better Times, Whitstable Biennale, Kent; Performing Sculpture, Modern One, Edinburgh 2012, Fall Scenes, Glasgow,2013;Kelly at Glasgow International 2014; Mood is Made Temperature is Taken Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow, 2014; Raising Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh, (solo) 2014 as part of GENERATION; Cafe Concrete Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow, (solo) 2014. Tessa is currently working on a landscaping commission in collaboration with Collective Gallery and Harrison Stevens, Edinburgh.

Viewed here “Gob-on.” Gob-ons are laser cut aluminium, machined into frivolous graphic motifs, pointing at some nebulous idea of art. This careful selection of materials, coupled with the employment of significant forms, looks to test the usefulness of these objects in a gallery context.

Ross Sinclair is an artist and musician and writer who also sometimes teaches.

Sinclair was born in Glasgow in 1966 and was educated with an interesting group of artists at The Glasgow School of Art in the Department of Environmental Art, and later for a while at California Institute of the Arts. He took some time off from art school to play music with The Soup Dragons (85-90) but went back to art school when he realised he was enjoying making the record covers and posters and t-shirts much more than the direction in which the band’s music was going. Since the had the words Real Life tattoed on his back in 1994 he has shown in hundreds of solo and group exhibitions in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, Japan, Korea and beyond such as Real Life and How to Live it in Auld Reekie, Edinburgh Art Festival 2013, Sinclair vs. Landseer, Aberdeen Art Gallery, 2007, Selected Real Life, Badischer Kunstverein, Karsruhe, Germany 2002 and Fortress Real Life, South London Gallery, London, England 2001. He was recently commissioned by National Galleries of Scotland to remake Real Life Rocky Mountain (1996/2014) for Generation, 25 Years of Art in Scotland at SNGMA in Edinburgh and currently is working on the second part of a solo show, 20 years of Real Life – Free Musical Instruments for Teenagers at The Collective Gallery, where he will be giving musical equipment away to teenagers and helping them develop bands to be recorded and showcased later in 2015. He is currently developing an exhibition for Himalayas Museum in Shanghai in 2016.

Sinclair has won various prizes over the years, last year Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Artist of the Year Award, a Creative Scotland Award, 2007, The Baloise, Statements prize at the Basel Art fair in 2001, Arendt Oetker Atelier Stipendium, Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst, Leipzig, 1999 and he was the grateful recipient of a Paul Hamlyn award 98-2000 which helped a lot at the time. Since 1995 he has been a Lecturer and Research Fellow at Glasgow School of Art where he has recently become a Reader in Contemporary Art.

In 1994 he had the tattoo, Real Life, inked on his back by Stuart Wrigley at Terry’s Tattoo in Glasgow. Since then Sinclair’s work has taken the form of an extended celebration and commiseration of the paradigm of The Real – from under his skin outwards, and always in relation to a particular context and audience. He has described the ‘Real Life’ image existing like a character a writer would develop in a series of books, using different ideas and different settings, while this ‘everyman’ character remains essentially the same through all the changes in time and context, a world weary sleuth trying to get to the bottom of each complex story. These Real Life projects, have sought to re-imagine the particulars of our society through an ongoing investigation of the many institutions and constructs social / political / economic / cultural / geographic/ historic to which we all are inextricably linked as individuals, and collectively. As a whole this body of work has discussed the manner in which we function as countless individuals within our different communities, sometimes linked together in various societies, and sometimes alone, as part of a global village. Over the last 20 years, an important thread of his work has sought to address the very particular nature of the individual, collective and national identities of the small damp Northern-European nation sometimes known as Scotland.

Rosie O’Grady (born 1990, York, UK) lives and works in Glasgow. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art with BA(Hons) Fine Art: Painting and Printmaking in 2013, and was a Finalist with special commendation for Saatchi’s New Sensations in 2013. Recent exhibitions include Profile, Spares, Glasgow (2014), Animal Liminal, Leyden Gallery, London (2013), New Sensations, Victoria House, London (2013), Prismism, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2013), Hedges, Studio 41, Glasgow (2012), Invigilators, Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow (2012), 53 Degrees North, New School House Gallery, York (2012), 12x12x12, Glue Factory, Glasgow (2011) and On The Stage Of The Present, The Arches, Glasgow (2011). Rosie is currently studying a funded MLitt Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) at Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow;works at Glasgow Sculpture Studios; and is a committee member at Market Gallery.

Viewed here photograph from Nature Makes a Great Background, a walking event which accompanied recent solo exhibition Profile at Spares, Glasgow (2014). The event explored parallels between mushroom foraging and internet browsing, inviting participants to photograph and upload images of mushrooms to the internet. The event raised the questions: How can we generate content for the internet responsibly? How can we harvest from the internet responsibly? How can the internet provide advice on taking a great selfie? Can Google be relied upon to identify whether your mushroom is deadly?