The latest Poetry at the Sutton Gallery event featured Emily Morgan, Mike Saunders and Jo W Lindsay. Three great poets, lots of wine and sparkling elderflower and of course a lively and attentive audience! Classic Sutton Gallery reading territory! Here are some images from the event. In the background, you will spot the Martin Hill exhibition which finishes this weekend.
Jo W. Lindsay has contributed to chapbooks such as Finite Love, Hipster Tree, Sea Adventures or Pond Life, @history Tragedy please MT, Dunkeld and Everyone in It, and Poetry at the Glutton's Celery. He runs the small press Sad Press with Samantha Walton and the poetry reviews zine Hix Eros with Joe Luna. Poetry strike starts soon.
Emily Morgan is an Edinburgh-based poet, though she's only just started calling herself as such. When she is not scribbling, she helps people make films.
Mike Saunders moved to Edinburgh last year, and has lived there ever since. He studied philosophy, film and literature at UEA before moving to Scotland by way of India. His poems have been published in various journals including Lighthouse, Poetry Review, Dactyl and the Istanbul Review. He previously organised the archival interview series Conversations in Black and White, as well as Poetry Unbound, a project displaying poems and holding poetry readings in libraries. He currently curates the websites Indian Litter and Happy Friday.
Kirill Sokolov (1930 - 2004) trained as an artist in Moscow, under the Stalinist dictatorship. His interest in Western art during the Soviet years was considered dangerously subversive and had to be explored in secret. Following his wedding to British research student Avril Pyman (in the first foreign marriage personally approved by Krushchev himself), he moved to north-east England and in time gained a reputation as a leading international artist.
Sokolov regarded life as essentially tragic, but his belief in the power of art to transform and transcend tragic experience can be seen through throughout his work. He worked through the challenges of Soviet censorship, depression following emigration to England, illness, and a catastrophic fire to produce a vast collection of work ranging from book illustrations and oil paintings to innovative silkscreen collages and sculpture. His fellow artists, friends, and widow Dicky remember the love, humour and fierce determination which drove his creativity and led to his international reputation as one of the former Soviet Bloc's most remarkable modern artists.
Sokolov's work has been widely exhibited, and is held by galleries including the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow, The Sutton Gallery in Edinburgh, and Durham University.
Our current exhibition features the work of Dundee-based painter Martin Hill. Martin kindly agreed to answer some questions about his work and what it is like making a career as an artist in Scotland today.
Could you tell us a little about your work and what its main themes/ areas of interest are?
Often the main themes in my work are mortality and the transience of human life. The piece “Sleeping Stray” which will be in the show, is part of a series of works that I produced based upon my experiences in Athens. While there, I became interested by the relationship that we have to the great works of man. While I was there in awe of the great architectural and artistic works of the ancient Greeks, I became more intrigued by the passivity and nonchalance of the animals inhabiting these spaces. The casual indifference of these stray dogs, cats and pigeons to the great achievements of mankind became fascinating to me. From this perspective our exaltation of these achievements and our own striving for immortality through our artistic works seemed laughable and futile. The works that stem from this are not entirely cynical, they are made with both a love and reverence of the subject while at the same time drawing attention to the transience of life, our own mortality and relevance or irrelevance of our efforts, questioning if it is all but “vanity and striving after the wind”. (Ecclesiastes 1:14) Much of my work relates to this theme in some respect, with some paintings depicting cemetery scenes, acknowledging mortality while at the same time hopefully not bluntly resulting in the macabre. Personally, art making is something of a paradoxical acknowledgment of mortality and at the same time perhaps a futile attempt at some sort of immortality through the act of creation.
Other paintings are just that, paintings. Sometimes a painting is a personal investigation into paint and representation. Some of my work is purely an exploration of the process of painting and image making, perhaps merely making paintings concerned with painting.
Image: 'Sunset, Easter Sunday' by Martin Hill, oil on board 25 x 30cm
You graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2009 - how have you found the first 5 years from graduation?
My first five years from graduation have been largely great. I have been blessed with many great opportunities at times while at other points I have struggled with the vast learning curve that has to take place in the transition from art student to practicing artist.
Would you have any advice for artists just about to graduate?
Your degree show is not the end, it is the beginning. Don’t rest on your laurels.
You have had a busy year already with many shows and things going on. What new projects have you got coming up?
I will be taking part in the 8 Frames Project, which will be curated by the Outbye in Dundee this August (preliminary date).