I spent a year at Central St. Martin's School of Art complete my foundation art diploma. When it came to the time to specialise I found it very hard to choose. I had been quite young at the time, well not really, I was 19 but naÃ¯ve was my main quality followed by my creativity. I chose the wrong thing and ducked out before I got to BA level. Gore was younger then me when she began studying at the Glasgow School of Art. At 17, the girl from Ayr had not only the development of herself as an artist to tackle but her growth as a young adult finding her way in a new city. The duality of this journey has no doubt shaped the imagery she presents at her latest show at Veneer Gallery.
I never saw Gore's first paintings but have been mesmerised by her short films. When I saw her film Poison Ivy at a screening at The Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury the simple you of symbolic imagery, apples and paper appeared again and again, ran through the narrative like little clues that punctuated the unsettled nature of the protagonist. A touch ofEdie with her hair, Gore took centre stage unravelling and blossoming on the screen but most leading us through her mind's eye. I was utterly absorbed.
Seeing Hazel Gore's new work three years later that talent for drawing people into her stories is still here in her static imagery. Hazel describes her drawings as "â¦a tableau of a scene from one of my stories or concepts." She goes through hundreds of colour pencils to produce her pieces. The dense heavy lines and colouring give the drawings a permanence that their characters seem captured in.
The settings do the same. Hardwood floored rooms, sparse woodlands and the cover of night present everyday places that for one reason or another leave you ill at ease. The last scene in Brian De Palma'sCarrie is dream sequence. It is daylight and a girl in a nightgown walks towards the place where Carrieâs house once stood.
the scenes take you out of that environment and into fairy tales your parents never told you.
Gore's plays with scale and distorts the ordinary. Girl on Giant Feather contrasts the delicate softness of the feather with a toddler's hard smile, like she has been waiting for the photo to be taken for years but the button was never pressed. The spider plants that appear in this series are a familiar element of my own childhood and emphasis the memory like state of these images.
I think the narratives of the drawings are open enough for the viewer to shape their own opinion of their content. That's what makes this exhibition such and enjoyable experience. Even the metaphors apparent and alluded to in the titles like Weaving a Web and I Bound you with a Secret lead you into your own interpretation of what you see rather than Gore's own, which while confident in its portrayal is intentionally elusive.
The key piece in the show for me is Ann-Sky. The lack of smile and direct eye contact leaves no ambiguity in the character just the situation. She stares out from behind the glass, chopping knife in hand. Gore's subversion of scale makes the woman in the light dress and dark coat a giant - head touching the ceiling of the boxed in space. She is not cowering, she fills it. Her hand on the wall rests lightly. This character has been bestowed with control, strength and intent and she is placed directly in competition with those who stand in her way. This time it's me.
If you have the chance to see Hazel Gore's work take it, I usually hate the sterile white of a gallery but the dark wooden frames and the scenes they hold take you out of that environment and into fairy tales your parents never told you.
Hazel's exhibition coincides with the Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art, Glasgow International that runs from 4th - 21st April. It is just another opportunity to showcase the artistic talent that lies in a city that may not be as pretty as postcard of Edinburgh but has a hell of a lot more inventiveness and energy behind its hard exterior.
You can see Hazel Gore's show from April 5th - 19th April atVeneer Gallery, 1184 Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8TE