Merlin James – A View of the Clyde River at Glasgow, 2018

Paintings don’t show you what things look like, but something much more interesting: what it feels like to look at whatever it is that they show.
[David Fraser Jenkins, Slow Looking]

Merlin James
A View of the Clyde River at Glasgow, 2018

The first exhibition at A-M-G5 will focus on a new painting by Merlin James. Within a fabricated faux-gilt picture frame, the painting depicts a view across the river Clyde from the house that James shares with his partner Carol Rhodes. It’s new for James to depict a view familiar to him in quite this way. He tends more usually to make images that are analogues to, or at some remove from, his own experience. And even here the work is not made directly from observation, but in his (windowless) studio at the back of the house. James is painting his accumulated knowledge/memory of what is seen from the front window.

He comments: ’…as well as the distance or indirectness of connection between the image I make and the world I see, there is even more the distance or indirect connection to the significance of the scene, what it ‘means to me’ (or the viewer). Normally in my work the distance, the disconnect, is very important – the avoidance of the confessional or the ‘self expressive’ or the biographical. But maybe here there is something closer to a testimony.’

For this exhibition, a new poem has been commissioned from Harry Gilonis, a version of a riverine verse by T’ang dynasty poet Yu Hsüan-chi. Please scroll down to read the poem.

Copyright © 2018 Harry Gilonis

Dredge [2018] Mixed media. 120 x 215 cm.

Room 106 Oxford House, 71 Oxford Street, Glasgow G5 9EP