Scott Rogers

NEGATIVE MIRACLE

25 January – 01 March 2014

Glasgow Sculpture Studios (GSS) is pleased to present an exhibition of new work, Negative Miracle, by Canadian artist Scott Rogers, born out of his one year Graduate Fellowship at GSS from November 2012 until November 2013. This exhibition is Rogers’ first major solo show since graduating from the MFA at Glasgow School of Art in June 2012 and his first solo presentation in Scotland.

Consisting of new works in video, sound, sculpture, and drawing, “Negative Miracle” continues Rogers’ interest in the tensions between ideals and their actualization, with the exhibition exploring this relationship as a site of decay.

The objects on display create a series of individual tableaus; however the exhibition can also be read as one installation. In the main gallery Rogers covers the floor with drop cloths, which become a large stage for the objects to be placed upon, and Custom Ruins 2013 permeates the space creating a holistic soundtrack for the exhibition.

Upon the drop cloths are placed whittled chairs, metal water bottles, dried wildflowers, bronze-painted ginger roots, and a variety of other objects that reference the process of care and decay. These sculptures explore numerous experiments with surface and artifice. Many of the objects display a patina – the marks and indexes of deterioration serving as an ambiguous cipher that mixes real labour with its representation. The process of “distressing” is influential in this case, with attention focused on simulating intensive work or wear. Like Water in Water 2013 are chairs that appear as if they have been meticulously hand-carved from a block of wood by the artist’s hand. They are in fact pre-existing chairs that the artist has slowly whittled to give the effect of deterioration. A paradox of labour and value is thus created. The smaller objects also carry certain paradoxes within them. © 2013 for example, are pieces of root ginger that have been painted with bronze paint as an act of preservation, yet also as a substitute for real bronze. The ginger however, continues to grow through the paint, refusing this false protective barrier the artist has imposed, and exposing its in-authenticity to the audience. The objects therefore are both authentic and imposters, and each is simultaneously a map and a territory. Here a question arises: what differences are there between artificial corrosion and corrosion caused by anonymous forces?

Pre-Trackers 2013 are a pair of resin cast digital cameras. The first is embedded into the gallery wall, where its lens faces outwards. It suggests the action of surveying the room – capturing and recording every action that occurs within the gallery. However as replication of itself, it has no function other than to act as a reminder of what it once was and what it once did. The second one has been placed externally within the brick wall that runs along the canal bank adjacent to Glasgow Sculpture Studios. This camera is shown from the back with its mechanics exposed to the viewer. Rogers likens the camera and its components to an external wall, which holds within it years of history. Each camera has been made using resin with glow in the dark pigment. Throughout the day they absorb the light of the space that surrounds them, which then creates an inanimate afterlife in the evening.

On the walls of the main gallery is Creative Hub 2013, a series of 10 works on paper that convey a number of minimal, abstract marks. Each drawing was created through the action of the artist wiping his own face with thin paper and subsequently tracing each crease and mark that has been created by this action with black ink.

All of the work in the exhibition contain and preserve remnants of an act, the traces of a human or alternate force that’s left its mark. It is perhaps in contrast to this that Rogers presents the video work No Date 2013 in the backspace of the gallery. Revealing itself as an urban nature documentary in which the landscape is conspicuously de-populated, only the traces of former human habitation are visible, animals both every-day and uncommon go about their lives in this post-industrial setting. Filmed in Glasgow over a one-year period, the footage emphasizes an attitude of indifference expressed by the animals and their environment. Custom Ruins 2013 accompanies the documentary and fills the whole exhibition. Comprised of Alexander Scriabin’s (1872-1915) unfinished symphony Mysterium (1903-1915), mixed with steady interruptions of a recorded rainstorm. Scriabin intended that the symphony would bring about a blissful human apocalypse when played, but he died suddenly in 1915, leaving the work incomplete.

The title of the exhibition Negative Miracle is taken from E M Cioran’s (1911– 1995) book of essays A Short History of Decay 1949 which explores a variety of subjects relating to the human condition such as human progress, religion and science. Whilst almost all subjects are approached pessimistically by the author, who saw the work as an experiment in highlighting the negative aspects of life, his writing is mostly read as uplifting emphasizing the vital qualities that lie in destruction. It is an understanding of this balance that Rogers appears interested in and that underlies this exhibition.

The exhibition will conclude with a new performance and the launch of a publication, both by the artist. Titled Goosebumps the publication includes a newly commissioned fictional text by science-fiction author Mark von Schlegell.

Scott Rogers is a Canadian artist based in Glasgow. He graduated from the MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2012 which included an academic exchange at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Selected solo exhibitions include Oasen (collaboration with Sarah Rose), Artspace, Auckland, NZ (2013), Occasional Fix (collaboration with Sarah Rose), Dog Park, Christchurch, NZ (2013), Meanders Into Nonesuch Place ONO Gallery, Oslo, Wireframe American University, Beirut (2011), Area Studies PM Galerie, Berlin, Wireframe Khyber ICA, Halifax, CA. Selected group exhibitions include Uncommon Ground University of Moncton Art Gallery (2012), Field Trip Project multiple venues throughout Japan (2012 – 2013) and Light Structures, Falsefront, Portland, US, 2012.

Information about the Fellowship

The Fellowship running since 2005 is awarded annually to a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art’s Master of Fine Art Programme. Running for one year the award comprises of annual GSS Artist Membership, private studio accommodation, access to professional opportunities and specialist communal production facilities, training and curatorial, technical and administrative support. In addition to the above, funding is secured towards realising a solo project, as part of the GSS Public Programme.

The 2012 selection panel comprised of Graham Domke (Exhibitions Curator Dundee Contemporary Arts), Caroline Kent (Independent Curator & GSS Programme Advisory Group Member), Dr. Dominic Paterson (Writer, Lecturer University of Glasgow & current GSS Research Resident), Amy Sales (Former Head of Programme, Glasgow Sculpture Studios), Laurence Sillars (Chief Curator BALTIC), and Dawn Youll (Artist, GSS Studio Holder & Member & Crafts Programme Producer Cove Park).

Glasgow Sculpture Studios is a membership organisation that receives revenue funding from Creative Scotland and Glasgow Life.

The Graduate Fellowship and this exhibition is generously supported by The Gordon Foundation, David Dale Gallery and anCnoc Whisky.