katie schwab

Making the Bed, Laying the Table

Fellowship exhibition by Katie Schwab

9 July – 3 September 2016

Glasgow Sculpture Studios (GSS) is delighted to present an exhibition by Katie Schwab, developed throughout her one year Graduate Fellowship at GSS. The exhibition takes its title from new work made collectively by Florence Dwyer, Katie Schwab and Simon Worthington. The exhibition also contains a new video work by Katie Schwab and Ed Emery; a commissioned text by Rosanna Mclaughlin; a mural by Katie Schwab; and a screening event in July, organised by Jamie George.

Schwab is interested in the politics of constructing and inhabiting living space: how the building, designing, furnishing and upkeep of rooms can reveal the values, economies and politics of the people who live there. Departing from recent work, which explored existing models and historic examples of shared living space, Schwab has invited Dwyer and Worthington to work collectively with her in designing and producing a body of new work for a future communal home. Led by a particular interest in communities for whom production and craft play a pivotal role, this exhibition parallels and makes public some of the labour and decision-making involved in working, and similarly living, together. A monument to both unity and compromise, the work subtly makes manifest everyday negotiations between a group of people, using this exchange as creative stimulus between collaborators.

In the centre of the gallery, a number of free-standing works, made collectively over the past month, emulate a flat half-packed. Drawing on qualities of post-war design, the modular shelving units, trestles and pegged shelf brackets suggest movement and flexibility. In doing so, these works enact the dynamic of the temporary tenancy and transience of shared-home inhabitants, driven to relocate for work, travel or relationships.

Working simultaneously between the wood, metal, ceramics and casting workshops at GSS, these objects have come into being through pooling inspiration, sourcing materials, experimenting, referring to one another and comparing techniques. Though not prototypes for mass-production, jigs and moulds have taken a pragmatic role in enabling Dwyer, Schwab and Worthington to pass works between each other at various states of realisation. There is romance in bed building – a primal gesture of protection and support – and attention is given uniformly to bevelled edges; to jute webbing; to wooden pegs. Ad hoc sets of ceramics suggest multiple authors in the body of work as a whole (and multiple future users). Without client or design brief, the works have been made in recognition of common habits and desires; form and function mutually active.

Due to these methods of exchange, materials and motifs recur between works; from trivet, to utensil rack, to pigmented Jesmonite tabletop. Cotton, jute, felt, pine, copper, clay, Jesmonite and steel have different economies and histories, but have been similarly treated – stained, not painted, and with visible brackets and welds, to enable the processes of manufacture to remain transparent. Many of these processes and motions of production foretell the function and future handling of these objects; pressed clay pots to be compacted with soil and seeds; glazed plates, to be laved; beaten scrap copper cutlery primed to cut and spread. A mimicry of these domestic habits is inherent in the fabrication of the tableware and utensils, and heightens a relationship between their material and function.

Schwab has designed a mural, painted with household paint, evoking the domestic scale within the gallery. The central collection of works do not adhere to its partitions, which are reminiscent of the exposed rooms of buildings in a derelict state of pre-demolition.

The video, House, pairs footage shot by Emery and Schwab. Between 2014 and 2016, father and daughter exchanged footage of the house and garden, creating a video portrait of Emery’s home. Drawing on House, after five years of living, by Charles and Ray Eames, it presents a textural impression of spaces lived in.

A commissioned text, Bottom Bunk, by Mclaughlin accompanies the exhibition as an exploration of remembered domestic spaces, and familial hierarchy, and a screening and discussion event, Buildings, Rooms and Things, organised by Jamie George, will present a series of related artists’ video on Saturday 30th July.


Florence Dwyer graduated from The Glasgow School of Art in 2014 and is currently living and working in Glasgow. She recently undertook a Research Residency at Project Ability, Glasgow and works across textiles, ceramics and casting.

Ed Emery spends most of his time working for the communist revolutionary transformation of society. He is the father of Katie Schwab.

Jamie George is a London-based artist working with sculpture, photography and video. He studied BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Goldsmiths and an MFA (Sculpture department) at the Slade School of Fine Art. In 2013 he received a PhD from Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University. He has worked on projects and commissions with: The Showroom, SPACE Studios and Wysing Arts Centre. He has exhibited with Organhaus Gallery (China), Jerwood Space, Blaine Southern, Drawing Room and Focal Point Gallery. In 2012, he was awarded Gasworks International Fellowship, resident at Vasl Artist-Collective, Pakistan and in 2014 he was awarded a Cocheme Fellowship from Central Saint Martins, hosted by AIR Studios.

Rosanna Mclaughlin is a writer and curator from London. For two years she lived, worked and shooed cats off the exhibits at the collectively run Lima Zulu Project Space in London (2009-2011), following which she established Hobbs Mclaughlin, a gallery she ran with her partner in a flat in Balfron Tower, a brutalist high-rise in East London (2011-2013). In 2015 she curated Congratulations on your ugly handwriting at Cura.basement in Rome. She has written variously about artists and artworks, and has just graduated from of an MA in Critical Writing in Art and Design at the Royal College of Art. Most importantly of all, she has known Katie Schwab since she was twelve years old, a friend with whom she has been learning to inhabit the world through the use of art ever since.

Katie Schwab graduated from the Master of Fine Art programme at The Glasgow School of Art in 2015. Recent exhibitions and projects include: Together in a Room, Collective, Edinburgh; Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Backlit, Nottingham and ICA, London; My love is like a red red rose. Art in Scotland from 18th to 21st Century, Musée du Château des ducs de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard; Fresh, British Ceramics Biennial, The Original Spode Factory Site, Stoke-on-Trent and Project Visible, Tate Modern. Katie undertook the 2015 graduate residency at Hospitalfield, Arbroath. Upcoming exhibitions and projects include Jerwood Solo Presentations, Jerwood Space, London and Dear Friends, Serpentine Galleries, London.

Simon Worthington graduated from Communication Design at The Glasgow School of Art in 2012. He lives and works in Glasgow. In Simon’s practice, he assumes the role of the designer to produce objects that operate in the everyday realm.

The 2015 Graduate Fellowship is generously supported by The Fenton Arts Trust. The exhibition has received additional support from The Elephant Trust and Dewar Arts Award.


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 project, as part of the GSS Public Programme.

The 2015 selection panel for the award were Louise Briggs, Programme Coordinator, Glasgow Sculpture Studios; Simon Gowing, Curator, SWG3 Gallery; Rosie O’Grady, Programme Assistant, Glasgow Sculpture Studios; James Rigler, Artist & GSS Studio Holder and Laura Simpson, Programme Manager, Hospitalfields.

Past recipients of the Graduate Fellowship have included Marysia Gacek (2015) Tessa Lynch (2014), Scott Rogers (2013), Alex Impey (2012), Sarah Forrest (2011), Risa Tsunegi (2010), Carla Scott Fullerton (2009) and Laura Aldridge (2007).