'The Gift' by Raydale Dower at The W OR M!

'The Gift' is the inagural show at the new Peacock Visual Arts (PVA) space, W OR M situated at the Castlegate, occupying the former Artist Pad shop. As PVA moves into a new phase 'The Gift' is a perfect symbol for what's to come. Working with Glasgow based artist Raydale Dower, the new space has been stripped right back to the bare stone, revealing the layers and history of the building, also a nod to the areas historical significance. The once tight corridors of the art shop have been transformed into an open and bright gallery space, creating a fitting continuation of the spaces cultural significance. 

Raydale, hailing from Bridge of Don in Aberdeen has worked closely with PVA both on the design and layout of the space but also on 'The Gift'. While visiting his parents house in Bridge of Don Raydale found an old metal iron. Reminded of the infamous Dada artist Manray sculpture which showed an old style iron with nails attached (see here). The chance discovery compelled Raydale to recreate the work, this time using carpet tacks in place of nails. Photographed using his smart phone, the object was turned and photographed again, revealing the tacks and creating a light bulb moment for the artist.

With the help of PVA Raydale set about creating a suite of prints based on his simple phone images. While the prints started to pile up a fresh concept began to emerge from the project, the idea of seeing things everyday, taking them and turning them 90 degrees and re evaluating them as new objects. The concept was scaled up from objects to place, Aberdeen, the home of PVA for almost 40 years. Its impossible to look at place without also including the people, a vital part of the equation and so the concept for the Gift comes to fruition. Armed with his prints (52 of each design, 104 in total) Raydale set off, gifting individual prints and sets to local businesses and leaving prints in different locations around the city and slightly beyond. Delivery of the prints led to interactions between the shop owners and the artist along with John and David of PVA. As they took up residence in their new homes, each location was photographed and shared on PVAs social media, adding another layer of connection.

The project came to completion upon the opening of the new W OR M space. Two large scale prints were created and displayed along with the original iron which inspired the project. A special digital message was set up displaying the famous Marx quote, "All that is solid melts into air". The show is completed by the new door handle designed and created by the artist using the help of the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. As each person reaches for the new handle they create a moment, an engagement with what is essentially an art object. Although this piece has yet to be installed it leads to the final part of the project which is about you, the public of Aberdeen, the shareholders in our public art institutions. The humble act of recreating a famous art object have thrown up a number of questions, some of which Raydale has strived to answer but also some which will be revealed over time like what can a space like W OR M do for the community, what does bringing culture to a place add and who is it for? 

A deep part of the project has involved looking at systems of value across many levels. The prints have a value based on the artist who made them but also inherent in the process of their creation. Hopefully the local business community have found value in the gesture, the simple act of giving and asking nothing in return but also giving the wider public the chance to stumble across the prints, ready to be taken home and hung. And the Gift asks us to do the same, to re evaluate, to look, really look and hopefully to see where true value lies. And surely the answer is in each other. 

The W OR M is open and 'The Gift' is on show until the 2nd of September. Be sure to pop down and speak to the person looking after the space, ask questions and keep your eyes open for those prints! 

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