Short story for Alan Grieve’s new publication

‘The way to Inchfuckery’ is a short story I have written to accompany Alan Grieve’s new publication, of the same title, which  introduces the island of Inchfuckery.

This is no island of romance or escape but one richly steeped in the landmarks of our modern time, with the hills of Lauren and Jonah, complete with lethal drizzle and the Shiski Disco. Inchfuckery is peopled by characters like Fat Curt and there is no shortage of Jägerbombs.  On this island, the bards cottages are aflame, the waterfalls sound like Stone Roses lyrics and those in yoga poses are stalked by hungry bears.

Alan gets up every morning before his family awakes, to pick up felt tip pen and draw more of the island. Crafted in the small hours, gives Alan’s mind and hand the freedom to create fresh associations and mash-ups between contemporary language, fashion, spirituality, history, myth, and nature. Here on Inchfuckery, the geology is ‘as old as fuck’.

About Alan Grieve:

Alan Grieve graduated with an MFA degree from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee, Scotland, in 2009. In 2011, he set up Workspace in a small shop unit in his home town of Dunfermline. He was originally trained as a hairdresser before attending art school, and Workspace operates as both a hair salon and a gallery/event space. Drawing and social engagement are the cornerstones of his practice and recent commissions vary from small-scale intimate illustrations for individuals to ambitious theatre projects with organisations such as the National Theatre of Scotland.

 

Advertisements

Alan Grieve: ‘Cemetery’ (2015)

Workspace, Dunfermline, 5 December 2015

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

The public art rolls past the bus on the way from Glasgow to Dunfermline. Yellow metal gills appear on each side of the embankment along the gateway to Cumbernauld, mirrored in mint green on departure. Roundabouts, the 1980s’ plinths for stainless steel aberrations, proliferate like daisies.

One of the passengers is deep in monologue. “She shut the door of the kitchen down and knocked that wall down. See the stairs? Take that bit of the wall down – get me, right? …Naw, naw, Sandra has got a false wall back to the stairs, so then, get what I mean? Sandra’s doors at an angle and that’s right back and she’s got her kitchen door there – and then they’ve half shut the wall – do you understand where I’m coming from…. Yer still coming up the stair. The wall’s there and she’s got her door put back at an angle.”  

The woman is beginning to get exasperated. Her friend who is sitting next to her is not following the intricacies of Sandra’s door alterations that gained her extra inches in the house layout. “Oh we’re at the seaside, girls”, she says sarcastically as the bus goes over the Kincardine bridge, with Longannet Generating Station in the foreground and the chimneys of Grangemouth Refinery on the far shore. “It would look much nicer with the sunshine out. Oh there it is! Glittering on the water!” A pause and a mindful moment for all on the bus.

The woman begins again. “I mean I cannae do it any more, I ‘m tired of it! I’ve had my ceilings all lowered and it’s plastered now. I can’t take them out like Sandra has. I’m getting older, I cannae just…” We pass a bearded man in a red top standing in a lay-by. He is videoing a field with his camera arm aloft. The field doesn’t look too extraordinary. He is in his own mindful moment.

~

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

I am on a trip to see Alan Grieve and find out more about his own approach to mindfulness linked with his new work about a cemetery in Dunfermline. If mindfulness is focusing on the breath in the body, there is nothing like a graveyard to help someone keep breathing and present. Alan passes through the cemetery every day when walking his dogs or on his way to work. Like the nuanced altering of angles of Sandra’s doors, much of Alan’s work is about making small yet satisfying shifts in language, drawing and object making. The subject of the graveyard is proving to be highly conducive for moving meaning from one realm into the next. He shows me his sketchbook. A page is emblazoned in felt tip with the phrase “Who put the fun in funeral?” He explains that he has been considering this as the title for the book he is working on, but other people he had tested it out on thought it too much.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan is an adult man who has been thinking about colouring-in of late. He is not alone, as companies have re-spun kids’ colouring-in books for ‘grown-ups’, providing nostalgia to those who grew up in the sixties and seventies’ and are now stressed in the noughties. Mindfulness, a concept not readily known to most Scottish households before the Millennium is on the increase. Using his boys’ felt tip pens, Alan has been making drawings for the last two months, in the quiet time every morning before his kids and wife gets up.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

The drawings are multiplying- creating their own universe- and are a tour de force. A core of the work is dedicated to the graveyard operatives Raymond and Garry, with whom Alan speaks in passing every day. Bringing the two men centre stage is a key component, as this is a role which otherwise would normally fade into the background. In one drawing, Alan shows gravedigger as gladiator, riding the trailer around the huge graveyard as if it were a chariot. He also captures the more mundane moments such as the younger gravedigger nursing a Monday hangover. The veil between this life and the next is shown as the spirits stream behind the older grave digger who pushes a wheelbarrow in his council hi-vis vest.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015) million

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

The trees, the play of light on the leaves, the animals, the stonemasonry, the unusual names and stories. It can be quite easy for the brain to slide away from the real purpose of the cemetery. Mindfulness here is mortality, so Alan ensures fresh death is never too far away in the drawings. Some feathers litter the foreground of a pastoral scene with weeping willow and gravestones. A candle is lit for all the unborn babies. Alan’s drawing skills are a joy to behold, ranging from the juvenile with an adult’s knowing (like those drawn by bad boys on the back of girls’ school jotters), to technically excellent renditions of stained glass windows in three thicknesses of pen.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

There are some I wish I could un-see such as the skeleton locked in a carnal embrace with a human. The macabre is ever-present. A council skip overflows with dead bodies under the Pac Man motif ‘GAME OVER’. Other drawings are delightfully observational; a dignitary with a bad back uses the memorial headstone to bend down and place something on the ground. A beautiful old oak tree is captured in its glory, but look down to the right of its trunk and a Labrador is defecating. The scourge of pavements and graveyards it seems, is not picking up.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Even the animals of the graveyard are not always nice. Whilst some are sage, offering words of wisdom to the humans, others are plain ‘raj’. ’Fuckin’ mon then!’: a bat screams as it gives a full frontal to the viewer. Epitaphs are freed from celebrity gravestones. A hawk appears next to Spike Milligan’s ‘I told you I was ill’. There is a heightened sense of awareness in some of the drawings. Caught in an awkward cycle, a naked young man kneels amongst the toadstools, reaching out with an urn in his hand to catch the shite from a bird sitting above him on a branch, whilst a rabbit looks on. In another, the moon and sun explore their senses together, nestling in to kiss with no tongues. These are hallucinogenic scenes but contain their own sense of order.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Whilst order can also be found within the graveyard- the lines of graves and neat grass edges- there is no getting away from the disorder of death even down to the detail of who turns up at your funeral or how you get there. In one drawing, a man uses a Vauxhall Chevette estate to bring his wife’s coffin in to the cemetery. This was a story Alan heard from the gravedigger. In another, the Provost, Minister, and representatives of various community groups stand dignified at a Remembrance Day service. Alan has helpfully detailed each group with their nomenclature. In the back of the crowd one man is labelled with the title ‘random cunt’. There is definitely a contemporary gallows’ humour lurking within the work.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

In a second strand of work, scenes of old Dunfermline depicted on old black and white postcards are helped into a trance with Alan’s bold colouring in. Frater’s Hall window panes are treated to the full range of post-it note colours of orange, green, yellow and pink. This stained glass rendering for the modern day church enthusiast is emblazoned with the colloquial epitaph of ‘windaylicker’. In another postcard, Dunfermline Abbey is cast as a version of the Emerald City with rave neon headstones.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan gives mindfulness a reality check. The phrase, ‘I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me’, would perhaps be expected as an insight from the pages of Psychologies magazine, illustrated by a pensive blonde haired Nordic woman with her eyes on Nirvana. In Alan’s drawing however, it is accompanied by a cheerful man with a heightened fringe aided by hair product. He is denoted as a worker as he wears a high-vis jacket. I like this, for whilst being gently subversive it shifts the kind of person such a declaration could be associated with. It also firmly places philosophy in the domain of everyone, not just those that have the luxury of time. Death, as the old adage goes, is the greatest leveller.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan’s stream of drawings are like the thoughts and feelings that occur from one moment to the next. Given the sheer exuberance and cacophony of voices that inhabit Alan’s cosmos, this mayhem could defy the calmness of mindfulness. However, to look at the drawings such as ‘Man with head in his hands’ (2015) or ‘Life Drawing’ (2015) where the pen does not come off the paper, there is the same kind of perfection of focus and concentration on the line rather than the breath. Some may quake at the foul language or perceive that some of the imagery is disrespectful in its mash-up of beliefs, but this loss of control or undermining of order cannot be ignored. It is fully present in the lives that we lead and the manner of that which awaits us. Simon Critchley’s excellent ‘The Book of Dead Philosophers’ (2008, Granta Books) details what the great philosophers wrote about death next to how they actually died. For example, Roland Barthes got run over by a laundry truck.

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

The exhibition ‘Cemetery’ and a mindful evening event were held at Workspace, a hairdressers and gallery that Alan set up with fellow hairdresser Emma McGarry in 2011, the same year as Hurricane Bawbag hit Scotland. Indeed, ‘Bawbag Memorial’ (2014-15) forms the centrepiece. It is a monument crafted from all the plastic flowers unmoored and blown amok in the Dunfermline cemetery during the winter hurricane that became an internet sensation due to its irreverent name. The plastic flowers will never die. This outsize floral tribute, reaches to the ceiling from its specially built platform. It is surrounded at its base by tea tree lights; that fragile marker of a departed soul, ubiquitous with church alters, make-shift street shrines and massage parlours. This is all set off by the saffron robe orange of the specially painted back wall and a single monochromatic collage called Deity, of Alan’s own young colleague James, who is angelic in his page boy haircut, nose ring and flesh tunnels. On the wall to the right, there is a huge mandala-like drawing completed in chunky black pen. It combines many of the images from the smaller drawings and is thoughtfully pinned up for the gallery goers to colour-in on the mindful night. Music by Dunfermline musician Dan Lyth permeates and amplifies the strange spiritual air in Workspace, encouraging the visitor to spiral into its repetitive groove.

'Cemetery', installation shot, Alan Grieve, Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

‘Cemetery’, installation shot, Alan Grieve, Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

The full range of doctored Dunfermline postcards hang within a grid network. Many stand out as an alternative reading of some of the town’s better known architecture. In a futile act of resistance to modernity and consumerism a Gothic turret from the city centre shouts ‘Fuck Primark!’ En masse, Dunfermline is definitely at the centre of the universe. Alan has also worked with recent curatorial graduate Kari Adams to make a wall hanging comprising of six of the postcards. With an all seeing eye at its apex, the borders of this piece have been edged with sequins and beads, and tasselled at the bottom. Fetishizing the postcards in this way as a worshipful artefact, works in this atmosphere of the retreat. Workspace is by no means the first retreat in Dunfermline. The glen that lies at the centre of town boasts Malcolm Canmore’s tower and his wife Margaret’s cave, where she took to for prayer.

'Cemetery', installation shot, Alan Grieve (2015), Workspace, Dunfermline

‘Cemetery’, installation shot, Alan Grieve (2015), Workspace, Dunfermline

'Cemetery', installation shot, Alan Grieve (with Kari Adams), Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

‘Cemetery’, installation shot, Alan Grieve (with Kari Adams), Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

Detail, 'Cemetery', Alan Grieve (with Kari Adams), Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

Detail, ‘Cemetery’, Alan Grieve (with Kari Adams), Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

Installation Shot, 'Cemetery', Alan Grieve, Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

Installation Shot, ‘Cemetery’, Alan Grieve, Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

 The most unavoidable piece in this exhibition, ‘Wee Willy  Windchimes’ (2015) is satisfyingly hung bang in front of a sewn patchwork of drawings which are enticingly detailed, thus making the viewer strain forward to view them. The obstructive positioning of these phallic windchimes makes them nigh on impossible to ignore. Their adult nature has freed them from the original reference. The historic and sad gravestone of Willie Dick lies in the cemetery and tells of a child who was killed by a shotgun mistakenly going off. These windchimes have been fashioned from a felled cherry tree from the cemetery and have been turned at a local workshop. If they had been painted pink they would have been too cartoonlike but in their unadorned state the viewer cannot but help admire the craftsmanship of the polished wood. As a piece of work it symbolizes Alan’s ability to mix both the poetic and prosaic with the profane.

'Cemetery', installation shot, Alan Grieve, Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

‘Cemetery’, installation shot, Alan Grieve, Workspace, Dunfermline (2015)

~

I’m back on the bus on this wintery day to return to Glasgow. It is pitch black outside and rush hour. The bus crawls its way back in a slow moving queue up to the Kincardine Bridge. Reflections from the car headlights from the other unclogged lane skite across the bus interior. The pristine bobbed woman in the seat front is talking at her mother down the phone, about whether a metal or plastic carrier would be better for her cat in the event of a crash (answer is metal). I require a mindful moment as this feels like it will be a long haul. As the cars in the other lane zip past they begin to sound like waves on a shore, regular and relaxing, with the trucks as the big breakers. The lights of the power station twinkle like tea tree lights through the petrified trunks of the forest.

Jenny Brownrigg, Dec 2015

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Alan Grieve (2015)

Inquiry into the nature and causes [1]: on Alan Grieve

'Real Bothy', (2014), Alan Grieve

‘Real Bothy’, (2014), Alan Grieve

Having attended the opening of a large retrospective recently, where the CEO of that City’s Services stated, ‘Everyone knows that art is really made in the cities’, (even when one of the rooms was dedicated to landscape studies), I would like to continue to write and accumulate a section of reviews and essays that witness art that is made and presented outside of the city.

Kirkcaldy’s civic centre represents the historical nexus of philosophy, economy, life, death, labour, learning and art appreciation. Industrialist John Nairn, a linoleum manufacturer, bequeathed the building of a war memorial with museum and galleries to the town of Kirkcaldy, in memory of his son who was killed in the Great War. Built in the Classical style, the building, designed by Perth architects Helton and McKay, along with the gardens, opened in 1925 and established the area as the civic square. The Adam Smith Theatre, named after the social philosopher, economist and writer of ‘The Wealth of Nations’ (1776), is directly across the road. Kirkcaldy Art Gallery and Museum contains a series of rooms for the John Waldegrove Blyth Collection. Blyth (1873-62) was a local manufacturer who collected the works of Scottish painters, including William McTaggart and Samuel Peploe as well as, more surprisingly, the Camden Town Group [2] who were Walter Sickert, Spencer Gore and Harold Gilman. Blyth was chair of Kirkcaldy Museum’s Trustees and honorary Curator for 36 years. The wall panel about the collection states that he visited the paintings weekly on a Monday morning, to spend time with them.

This essay will look at the work of artist Alan Grieve, collector of stories and objects, entering via the latest project he has led on, Real Bothy’, at Kirkcaldy Art Gallery and Museum (11 Oct 2014- 18 Jan 2015). Adam Smith wrote in ‘The Wealth of Nations‘, that ‘What everything costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it’. A key factor in Grieve’s practice is that he works to gather the stories that would usually be left locked in a person’s mind. The turns of phrase or surreal fortunes of objects and people, under Grieve’s custodianship take on a new significance. Categories for Grieve have included those relating to his own personal history, such as the boxing history of his effervescently stylish father Jock or his own existence as a hairdresser and artist [3]; to the wider social history of Dunfermline, where he, as the parlance of art cv writing would state, ‘lives and works’, with projects on The Kronk Disco or Jim Leishman’s stewardship of Dunfermline Athletic; to this latest series on the collective experience of landscape.

The Real Bothy, an OSB plywood assemblage, which has been flat packed then reconstructed at a series of locations over the Kingdom of Fife for the last 18 months, rests easily in the middle of one of Kirkcaldy Museum’s classical rooms. Designed to the simple layout of the bothy hut, a shelter to be found in a wilderness situation for anyone to use, its threshold encourages visitors to have to turn in around a corner;  a passage way so designed, as Grieve illuminates, because ‘Scottish folk are as wary as fuck‘. The bothy contains a row of coat pegs, a shelf for books, a bench and an animation of a crackling fire by Claire Lamond. In the midst of these physical nods to bonhomie, Grieve met with bothy visitors and charted their recollections across the bothy’s interior, alongside fragments of bothy history. Comments range from ‘My gran met Vivienne Westwood in public toilets in Galasheils‘, to someone who had to meet the call of nature on Portobello beach; to a photocopy of a letter from the Palace secretary, thanking the Mountain Bothy Association on their letter of condolence following Lady Diana’s death, concluding that they were pleased that Gelder Valley Bothy on Balmoral Estate was being enjoyed by so many walkers. The cacophony of comments on the walls form a map that criss-crosses from the personal to universal experience; a hallucination of place, with points of recognition for the viewer, through humour, names and situations.

'Real Bothy' (2014), Alan Grieve

‘Real Bothy’ (2014), Alan Grieve

How do you meet a contemporary artist out in the landscape? One inscription reads:

Rebecca born in Dunfermline, moved to New Zealand, hitch-hiking met artist and bought his work. Bothy Story. Post Bus- Durness. Artist as vagrant + pram.’

I surmise from these clues that the artist that Rebecca met must have been Pete Horobin [4], on his personal pilgrimage ‘Year of the Tent’, when he lived outside from 01.01.1989 to 31.12.1989, tramping the length and breadth of Scotland. The pram contained all objects that Horobin needed, including tent and plastic yellow chicken. Rebecca bought one of his artist books.

Alan Grieve has been an aficionado of bothies since his hair was big in his twenties to the present day, where he takes his own family or his ‘bothy partners‘, who include his mates Fred and Gary. The Real Bothy in situ in Kirkcaldy, is surrounded by a panorama of framed cut-outs from family albums, showing bothy gatherings from different times. One includes a picnic which looks likely to have followed a heavy night before, with muted males languishing around sandwiches re-captured in the bread bags they came out of. Another is more of a classic Casper David Friedrich lone figure on a peak. Giving an example where Grieve combines additional facts and fictions to assemble a new work, many of the figures in the photographs have been coloured out by a blue or black felt tip pen. This follows the artist seeing someone else’s album where a divorced ex-partner had been double excommunicated from the family book through their being systematically coloured out of each photograph of each album.

Grieve’s love of the quirk of language and action is also illustrated by his on-going painted text series, here shown in the wall painting ‘Scotlad the Brave’, which edges into the margin of the dark wooden door surround of the gallery. The phrase is one that Grieve heard about, the result of an amateur tattoo done far too late at night, challenged by spelling and a lack of space on the available arm.

'Real Bothy' (2014), Alan Grieve

‘Real Bothy’ (2014), Alan Grieve

Grieve has also worked to have on loan a number of the objects that were mentioned in the stories he gathered during ‘Real Bothy‘. The objects give a validity to the credence of a potentially tall story. Presented as museum objects, they also bring another layer to the creativity of people and their social history. Norma Ferguson’s picnic blanket, has been mounted on the wall like a banner on a rampart. In an object which resonates with the founding cause of Kirkcaldy Museum and Gallery and its memorial gardens, the tartan of this blanket comes from the kilt of Norma Ferguson’s father John, who survived active service in WW1. After his death in 1972 and the subsequent house clearing, Norma ironed out the pleats of the kilt, and tacking it in squares with an edging of a white material with a simple yellow and pink pattern, she made the blanket which is still used by the family to this day.  Other objects include Roger Hayward’s Pigeon Rings, a necklace denoting another kind of battle, made up from brightly coloured identification rings replete with the odd stray pigeon bone gathered by Hayward, during his study of Peregrine Falcons and their nesting sites for Scottish Raptor Study Group. Roger Hayward has sadly since passed away.

The surface syntax of Grieve’s work could be said to share allegiances with the REAL LIFE tattoo, social history and fake scenery of Ross Sinclair’s ‘Real Life Rocky Mountain‘ performance and installation, most recently to be viewed at National Galleries in Edinburgh as part of GENERATION, 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland; or the separate artist-led ‘The Bothy Project’, which has continued to build a formidably bespoke rival to Premier Inn network of bothies as sites for artist residencies across Scotland. With the former, Grieve shares the desire to show the disparity between “the reality of my landscape” over a romantic vision of Scottish landscape, beloved of the Tourist Board. With the latter, ‘Real Bothy’ shares links the intimacy of architecture and investigation of surroundings. However, Grieve’s work, through its collective nature, recalls the landscape of the locale as more of a fight between language, experience, people and place. This kind of an approach is illustrated by Norman Maclean in his autobiography ‘The Leper’s Bell’ (2010)  on the weekly village hall dances of South Uist [5]:

For the duration of the dance- anything between four and five hours- there would be a kind of tag boxing match taking place outside the hall…..Accordingly, if you got tired watching couples performing Quadrilles and Lancers, you could go outside and watch a couple of lads knocking lumps out of each other’.

Grieve’s work always records this flavour of the cut and thrust of social history. Like a latter day bard, he explores through his work a surreal landscape which acknowledges the arcane alongside the poetic. The Real Bothy bears a hand-painted  ‘flammable sign’, which  accepts the fine line in its own construction that a contemporary art object to one person is something to be set alight by another. Yet, whilst the male identity is present within the work, this is no Irvine Welsh approach to Scottish bravura. The presence of women feature equally in Grieve’s work, from Norma Ferguson’s blanket, to The Nancy Hat, as knitted by Nancy Smith, proprietress of the Fersit Bunkhouse in Lochaber, whose Nepal-esque inspired hats graced many the head of a departing visitor. The books on Scotland of Kelty teacher Frances Barclay have also been loaned to the exhibition, by her daughter Ros; a fitting display given that the local library is also part of the same building as Kirkcaldy Gallery and Museum.

Grieve’s observations of others, never oversteps romanticising his role as the artist recording those around him. In one of his drawings ‘Rock Rock Rockit’ (2014)  from a separate series, a collage shows an earnest bespectacled young academic in bashed jacket and jeans, proffering a microphone to an old man in a flat cap. The handwriting above the academic says, ” I’m really interested in recording your stories of this once thriving community”. The writing above the old man simply says, “Fuck off”.

Jenny Brownrigg October 2014

 Real Bothy’, Alan Grieve, Claire Lamond, Andrew Lennie, Kirkcaldy Art Gallery and Museum, 11 Oct 2014 -18 Jan 2015. The exhibition has been supported by Creative Scotland and Fife Cultural Trust.

Footnotes

[1] Title derived from the full title of Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’: ‘An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’ (1776)

[2] The Camden Town Group only held three exhibitions and aimed to reflect the realities of urban life. One of their works in the Kirkcaldy collection, by Sickert (1860-1942), is entitled ‘What Shall We Do For the Rent?‘ (1909). Sickert, who chose to have his studios in the working class areas of London, had been focussing on pursuing a different narrative to the paintings of nudes, through the suggestion that the women were prostitutes. The gender shifts in ‘What Shall We Do for the Rent?’; a study of a male nude on the bed, with a clothed man sitting on the edge, leaning over him. A pair of discarded shoes can be made out, lying under the bed.

[3] Grieve was one of nine artists involved in the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design’s Nine Trades of Dundeeproject (2009-10).  Artists from Dundee and across the UK were invited to take up residency in the second non-art trade they practiced in order to support their art practice. Grieve’s residency was in Nori’s Salon in Dundee. Working with the other hairdressers and clients, the magazine ‘Masters at Work‘, was produced, and distributed across salons Dundee-wide. Grieve has also worked with National Theatre of Scotland on the production ’99…100′, (2011) where the stories Grieve gathered on a tour of a temporary hair cutting booth across the country, led to a script and production. Grieve’s own hairdressers salon Workspace Dunfermline, doubles up as a gallery and event space.

[4] ae phor aitch (2010-) has changed his identity and focus of work every ten years. Firstly Pete Horobin (1980-89), he was also Marshall Anderson (1990-1999) and Peter Haining (2000-2009). See  Moving Images From the Attic Archive’, for the excellent 2010 Cooper Gallery solo exhibition of this artist’s work, curated by Laura Simpson. Peter Haining and Alan Grieve were also part of ‘Fifeman‘ (2009) exhibition along with Jason Nelson and Kevin Reid at the Cupar Arts Festival. Horobin’s ‘Year of the Tent’ was archived by the artist, and this project’s archives are now held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

[5] P49, ‘The Leper’s Bell‘, (2010), Norman Maclean, published by Birlinn Ltd.