Getting in Touch: Fred Pollock

We were recently contacted by a relative of Glasgow School of Art alumnus Fred Pollock, who was a student at the School in the 1950s. Ronan Pollock (Fred’s son) very kindly sent us a link to a short documentary film he has made about his father called Portrait of an Abstract Artist. The documentary gives an insight into the work of Fred Pollock, and perspective on what it was like to be an art student in Glasgow in the 1950s.

Fred Pollock, No.1 Sunspots, 150×232 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 1987-1998.

Fred Pollock, No.1 Sunspots, 150×232 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 1987-1998. Image sourced from ‘Abstract Critical’.

While we were aware of artists like John Byrne and Alasdair Gray who were students at the School around this time, and have annual reports, prospectuses and other documentation for these years which provide a flavour of what the School was like then, we don’t have very much in the way of artwork in our collection from this period so it’s exciting to see examples of Fred Pollock’s work in the film. We also know little about what the School was like in terms of its relationship with Glasgow more widely during this period, so it’s interesting to get a sense of the juxtaposition between art and the industrial landscape that must have been so apparent in the city at this time.

You can find Portrait of an Abstract Artist here.

For more information please go to Abstract Critical.

Helen Biggar: Hell Unltd screening tonight at GFT

Tonight sees the rare screening of Hell Unltd, a film by acclaimed director Norman McLaren and less well known director and fellow GSA alumnus Helen Biggar.

Kim Moore (Zoey van Goey) was commissioned to create a live score to accompany the screening

Kim Moore (Zoey van Goey) was commissioned to create a live score to accompany the screening

Glasgow School of Art graduate Helen Biggar (1909–1953) created one of the UK’s most influential anti-war films with Norman McLaren just as the Spanish Civil War began. Hell Unltd (1936) is presented for the first time with a specially commissioned live score performed by Kim Moore (Zoey van Goey) and Gareth Griffiths. Kim Moore visited the Archives and Collections Centre recently to research Helen Biggar using materials from the School’s institutional archives. She also got to see some of Biggar’s work (2 pieces (pictured below) have recently been donated to the Archives and Collections by a family member).

Fawn by Helen Biggar, c1930s

Fawn by Helen Biggar, c1930s

Maime Biggar, the artist's younger sister, c1945

Maime Biggar, the artist’s younger sister, c1945

The live performance will be preceded by a rare screening of Traces Left (1983), a documentary about the Glasgow art and political scene in the 1930s and 40s, which focuses in particular on Helen Biggar.

The event marks International Women’s Day and the contribution of women artists in Glasgow. For more information, visit the GFT event page or this really good blog.

‘Reely’ good fun – BFI Mediatheque to open in Bridgeton, Glasgow

BFIThe British Film Institute (BFI) have announced that Scotland’s first BFI Mediatheque will open on 22nd February at Glasgow’s Bridgeton Library. The Mediatheque is a space in which members of the public can log onto a viewing station to access highlights from the BFI National Archive. Over 2,500 complete films and television programmes drawn from the BFI National Archive and partner collections will be accessible to anyone, and for free!

The BFI Mediatheque in Glasgow is remarkable in that it will showcase a specially commissioned collection of Scottish film and television, entitled ‘Scottish Reels.’ The collection is drawn from the BFI National Archive and Scottish Screen Archive, and encapsulates more than a century of Scottish life and culture. Some of the offerings include early colour footage of tartans from 1906, a political strain of television dramas, as well as some of the big screen classics, from Whiskey Galore! (1949) through to Gregory’s Girl (1980) and Red Road (2006). New titles will be added regularly.

The Mediatheque is a permanent addition to the city and the resources available at Bridgeton Library’s newly redeveloped Olympia building. Use it as a time capsule for exploring British film heritage from the advent of the moving screen image to the present day. For more information visit the website.

This story came to us from GSA’s Learning Resources blog which has lots of information about library and special collection related news.

Architectural Association Archives: Lecture & Open Evening, 5th Feb

Celebrating the Architectural Association Archives’ first birthday in its new home at 32 Bedford Square, a Lecture and Open Evening is being held on 5th February.

Open Lecture: Brief Encounter: From Bedford Square to the Oscars. 5th Feb, AA Lecture Hall, No. 36, Bedford Square, 5pm.
For a period of approximately five years, from c1972-32, a succession of AA graduates embarked upon careers within the British Film Industry. Employed primarily as Art Directors, they dominated the field, setting new standards well into the 1950s, working with directors such as Hitchcock, Powell & Pressburger, David Lean. Lawrence Olivier and Joseph Losey. Using original archival material, this talk will trace their careers, examining the impact and the role of their architectural training at the AA.

Open Evening: AA Archives. 5th Feb, No. 32, Bedford Square, 6:30-9:00pm
A chance to further explore what is one of the most significant collections of original material related to the history of UK architectural education. Displayed within the Archives rooms will be some of the major new acquisitions received over the past 12 months, including the Otto Koenigsberger Archive and work by Peter Wilson (Bolles + Wilson), Robin Evans, Mehmet Konuralp, Bill Greensmith and Paul Shepheard.

More information about the Architectural Association Archives can be found on their website.

Enter the Archive Symposium

 The Glasgow Short Film Festival has organised a symposium looking at moving image archives for 10 February at the CCA Club room. The day will include a series of discussions exploring issues surrounding film archives, and is suitable for artists, filmmakers, researchers, curators, students and anyone with an interest in the moving image. More details are available on the Glasgow Film website.