WOOOSH: News From...
Saturday. 13th May 2021
WOOOSH: NEWS FROM THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD (DUNDEE)
Hello loyal readers!
Wooosh Gallery here, confirming that the rumours are true! Dundee has officially been pronounced the centre of the world!
People are always asking us what’s going on here - is it something in the water? Is the art school really that good? Has it got something to do with the council?? To quell this deluge of intrigue, we’re going to be reporting exclusively for Front Left with all the hot n tasty goss from Sunny Dundee - the city of dreams, discovery, and big dirty seagulls.
Our credentials re: taking on this important task are that we, Wooosh, are Big Shot Gallerists with boots on both the proverbial and actual Dundonian ground. After graduating from DJCAD in 2019, and due to it looking unlikely that anyone was about to give us the swish art jobs we deserved, we decided to make our own gallery and our own swish jobs. A downside is that there’s no one to pay us, but it looks good on our CVs, and the real beauty of it is having the authority to say whatever we want about our roles and professional experience without anyone being able to say we are lying.
(We aren’t lying.)
The gallery is based in a public car park, opposite the Orwell. The council haven’t given us an official green light on this co-option of their space, but they did give us some grant money one time, which pretty much means they’re in support of everything we do and stand for. If we ever did ask for permission, we’re sure Dundee City Council would concede that we know how to use the space better than the Roads and Travel department. (Cars are so pre-climate-crisis!)
Since founding the gallery we have installed over 40 exhibitions by both emerging and emerged artists in our Miller’s Wynd Car Park premises, in our Portrait Gallery (210x297mm), Landscape Gallery (297x210mm) and Floor-based Gallery (dimensions variable, and mostly dependant on the presence or lack of cars). We host artist talks, performances, screenings, sometimes provide tinnies, and are proudly Scotland’s Most Haunted Art Gallery - a very big claim that remains as yet undisputed.
At some point we hope to petition whoever’s-in-charge-of-that-sort-of-thing to make the gallery and its surrounds a certified Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but in the meanwhile we are ok with enthusiastically reporting on the car park’s wildlife activity n telling anyone who will listen that Wooosh Gallery is just so stunning. We get most of our kicks out of giving artists their first solo show, and the rest of them from making friends + conspiring towards world domination.
Anyhoo! Enough about us! What’s new in the centre of the world????
WOOOSH GALLERY RE-OOO-PENS
No wait this is about us!!! After a long and gross winter, Wooosh Gallery has officially reopened its doors (there’s no doors). Over lockdown we had been hosting live stream ‘openings’ and artist Q+As, but all in attendance agreed that these were definitely worse than real-life ones and are glad they have stopped.
Wooosh got back into gear with the first of its 2019 DJCAD degree show prize winners - photographer Shonagh Kelly presenting a portrait Wooosh titled ‘To Be Daft’. Kelly admitted to putting the work together at 6am on the morning of the show, but was granted a Wooosh badge and a cash prize of £50 nonetheless. During her Q+A the audience was titillated to find out that her ‘best lockdown meal’ was a Tahini Express - a JustEat order she ‘spiced up’ by asking the guy who works there for his number in the ‘note to the restaurant’ bit at the end. We are sad to report that the guy from Tahini Express is already happily married, but we commend Shonagh for her gall, and agree that Mr Tahini is a certified Perth Road heartthrob.
Speaking of flirts - the following fortnight DJCAD landscape prizewinner Ian Young woooed Wooosh Gallery with his landscape Wooosh: a risograph print/technical-drawing-collage gently tracing the architectural contours of Wooosh Gallery itself. Young confessed that the work was ‘quite personal’, making all present Woooshers blush as pinkly as the evenings’ quite-pink sky. He went on to share that his earliest memories of Dundee had been at that very same car park, his aunt and uncle having lived in an overlooking flat when he was a child. “When we visited we never went anywhere else, so I thought that this carpark was the whole of Dundee,” he confided, flatteringly. “I hate to say it, but I think I was here first.” Luckily for Ian, Wooosh were too busy admiring the beauty of said car park to remember that such an audacious claim ought to result in a lifetime ban.
Ian Young, Wooosh Gallery Wall
Shonagh Kelly, Wooosh Gallery Wall
Lovers of pints will be thrilled to hear - after a season of vicious rumours - that the Art Bar is not being sold. Wooosh have been unable to locate the source of this cruel and nasty lie, but have welcomed confirmations from very close to the horse's mouth that Dundee’s only bar specifically-for-art-people is going to be opening its doors again at some point this Spring. Those punters who had spent the latest lockdown wildly figuring out how to collectively buy the bar are bound to be breathing a sigh of relief that this was not, in fact, their destiny, as they held very few of the necessary skills or resources. One such pretender told us, “Yeah, I really thought that I could make it happen, but I really do have none of the skills or resources''.
Exciting things are ahead for GENERATORprojects, whose ambitious decision to take on the old New Look in the Wellgate shopping centre as an ‘auxiliary exhibition space’ has finally been made public knowledge. While no name for the outpost has yet been announced, Wooosh are placing our bets on GENERATORprojects’ New Look, which makes up in fidelity what it lacks in snapiness. GENprojs’NL will be opening up with their Annual Member’s Show in early May, so it’s about time to start panicking about whether or not you still have an art practice and if it's ok to submit something you made 3+ years ago.
MAN DRAWS BIG ROCKS
Someone who certainly does still have an art practice is Dundee man Calum Wallis, who this April has reportedly holed himself up in a big room and won’t leave until he’s drawn some big rocks. Wallis, who - until the situation develops - can be located in the 4th Floor Gallery at Meadowmill Studios, told us, “John and Yoko famously bedded in for peace - well this month I’m rocking out for peace… although I’ll also be staying inside.” Some may call him ‘just too contradictory’; others may call him ‘the Dundee art scene’s answer to Rapunzel, but with lots of rocks, not hair’ - either way, Wooosh wish him all the best in his endeavours, and hope to see him at ground level again one day in the nearish future.
BROWN’S IN TOWN
We are saddened to report that two previous Woooshers have been shat on by birds this month. Wooosh were present at the scene of the action when visiting artist Mhairi Brown was struck by a rogue seagull jobby at the top of Magdalen Yard Road. The incriminating excrement was quickly removed thanks to an anonymous member of the public, who said, “I didn’t see it happen, but I saw the aftermath!”. This handsome beacon of good citizenship - who incredibly had baby wipes in his car right there - is welcome at Wooosh Gallery any time.
Just days later, Wooosh were scandalised to hear that artist and curator Saoirse Amira Anis had fallen victim to a similar attack. In an exclusive interview, Anis gave a run-down of the events that day:
“I was sitting in my garden with a cup of coffee and a book - reading the book (naturally), when I heard and felt simultaneously that a bird had shat on me. There was a plop of shit in eerily symmetrical positions on each of my arms, and I thought I felt a third plop on the top of my head. I gathered up my stuff and went back into my flat to wash the shit off my arms in the sink, and used two mirrors to try and see where the shit was on my head. The day before had been hair-wash day, so it was hard to tell what was hair product and what was shit.”
When asked about the identity of the perpetrator, Anis - aka Freedom Princess, who recently made her music debut as guest vocalist in Machine Speak’s latest single ‘Cold Star’ - held firm speculations: “I'm pretty sure it was a seagull - it was quite an aggressive act, and I heard quite an aggressive squawk afterwards. Having lived in Dundee for so long I’m quite familiar with that sound.”
Regarding the temporal proximity to Mhairi Brown’s experience, Anis revealed some sneaking suspicions: “To be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if the seagulls here were conspiring to shit on as many artists as possible - the arts institutions here have been doing it for years. Maybe it has something to do with the council.”
We are open to this theorizing, but others may contend that the increased frequency of bird shit incidents is solely down to the warmer weather leading artists (and other types of people) to spend a greater amount of time outdoors. This was evidenced on Easter weekend, when Wooosh spotted not one, not two, but five cop duos promenading among the crowds at Magdalene Green. Did no one tell them it's still a pandemic?? Go home cops!!! The weather was stunning, so we can’t blame them for wanting to get involved.
Well that’s all for now loyal readers! Join us next time for more Dundee cultural highlights, general centre of the world stuff, and potentially a long-form discussion on whether being a cop might actually be quite a nice job after all. (£15 an hour to cut about with your pal???)
Wooosh Gallery is Jamie Donald, Jek McAllister and Finlay J Hall.