Samara Scott @ Tramway


Emoji summary: ☁️🚬⚠️

i first saw samara scott’s work yrs ago via instagram, when everyone in the art world went to her show at Eastside Projects in Birmingham n I stayed obsessed with those magic dirty pools from afar. (did u go to that exhibition / see documentation?). i remember being amazed that she’d broken into the literal gallery floor n poured art into new planes; glad the building had been disrupted, wondered how much that installation cost, wondered if there was actually just a fake floor ? and thought that even thru images i could sense what her work was doing to give the gallery an atmosphere; how she’s making small paintings, flat or bumpy n contained, to create portals. With milky pigments, metallic bits and a crusty Monet aesthetic, she proposes a new art landscape and the visitor walks it.

Shortly after that good internet stalking, i saw Scott’s work face 2 face at Frieze {for better or worse} where she was presenting another pond but that concrete setting had been swapped out for dead art fair carpet. and ye, her frieze presentation with The Sunday Painter couldn’t manage to seem as naturally occurring, obviously. i could more closely inspect what she had thrown into her work, though, that was: foil, plastic rods n shapes, a beaded necklace, wine glass, a spring onion?;; sculpture yes but the picture of it was cloudy and the shapes and objects were layered like a tissue paper collage. they were tart? vaguely critical, pretty social commentary. I liked it 2 look at but didn’t feel the magic I’d hoped for, wasn’t too convinced by the cocktail of plastics, blamed my frieze company, and started to feel suspicious ~.

and here we are 2day. Scott currently has a solo show in the giant space of Tramway in Glasgow and i am staying a 15 minute walk away cat-sitting with my boyfriend. as always, a status update: how mood-wise i’m up and down but steady in love, feeling like i’m on my honeymoon even tho I’m unmarried. On the way up to scotland i dropped my phone on the platform at wigan north western, where it now sleeps alone in lost and found. i’m untethered to an extent and glad for it. i think i’m in a state of mindfulness? my anxiety has been incredibly quiet, n i don’t know who is to thank for that.

at Tramway, Scott has cut a new and lower ceiling with translucent plastic sheeting across the entirety of the space, with colour + ingredients placed and painted on the upside, and huge lights shining down from the original ceiling so the whole thing becomes a sort of light box. a lot of the airtime / airspace has been filled with mottled spray painting, and repeated again n again is the overspill of stencilled edges. coloured plastic sheeting or maybe bin liners have been melted down til they ripple, and at one point there are bright red triangular shapes like the fallout after u eat a toffee apple. A whole load of plastic (which stresses me out bc environment, n i don’t care if that is pedantic), there are netting and straws and shit. all brought together to make a sky.

it is a huge work but i think in the scaling up from small modern monet cordial pond to edgey sistine chapel, much has been lost. it is lacklustre, lite, criticality out the window. i used to get migraines a lot during my teens and eventually figured out one of the triggers was the peach flavoured water my school canteen sold; i squinted a little as i walked below Scott’s ceiling because the effect of the displaced colour casting shadows down the four walls reminded me of that weak taste somehow.

I picked up the exhibition handout because i wanted to see if anything had been said about plastic recycling (art gets away with too much) and nada, found instead a long list of ingredients the art had been made out of and it deflated me even more. ‘cigarettes, driftwood, shaving foam, burger sauce’ - but the gestalt only speaks to process-based art making which puts me 2 sleep. Tho if the ingredients in the work were clearer, like bastard raisins in a scone, I think I would only cringe more. the show could fit into the genre of classy litter as art. problematiq or unoriginal, I prefer the handling of Helen Marten when it comes 2 the every day I think.

compared to the transformative portals she has made in the past, Scott’s work at tramway has lost a sense of self. good summer holiday activity but i’mmmm good thanks.

Gabrielle stands in a huge open gallery space broken up with white columns that are holding up big pieces of plastic on top of which the artist has pooled colour and texture in different shapes, so it makes a new colourful ceiling much lower than the gallery’s original one

a close up of some of these colours, red and yellow cracked out like tie dye

another close up of the strange ceiling artwork where it looks like cracked ice has been tinted with different shades of blue, and then dirtied with odd darker marks