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‘Probably the dirtiest exhibition Glasgow’s ever seen’. Tom McKendrick, maker of a temple dedicated to the city’s industrial past, talks life and iron to Fiona Shepherd.
According to Tom McKendrick. Clydebank artist and former shipyard draughtsman. over the last two decades society has watched the sun go down on the second Iron Age. And as we plough on into the Electronic Age. social history just below the horizon is being rapidly erased from the public imagination. As an artist who has sought to document his life and that ofthe community he grew up in, McKendrick aims to revive memories and stimulate imagination with his latest exhibition Iron, ‘a temple dedicated to the great age of iron’ and to Clydeside shipbuilding in particular.
‘When you talk to kids these days you realise how quickly the experience has died,’ he says. ‘Where I
Iron writing: part of Tom McKendrick’s tribute to Glasgow’s industrial past
live i teach children who don‘t realise that 400 yards exhibition Glasgow‘s ever seen. because the story of beside tap dancers, aircraft builders, poets and away the biggest moving objects on the planet were iron is a dirty one that involves digging and furnaces painters, just doing this till they were discovered.‘ built. You still see the odd crane here or there and get and ﬁlth. When you walk in it should look like a in a city which has already seen its fair share of into the Transport Museum. but somehow it doesn‘t foundry. You can paint shipyards and do drawings of industrial nostalgia and comment in the arts field. capture the intensity and mass of the work and the people at work but this is more intimate. a more such as Bill Bryden’s The Ship or Test Dept's The amazing hardship that people worked in - l0.000. tactile experience. When you actually see how Second Coming, McKendrick makes no bones about 12,000 people working in the same place is almost massive a slab of armour plate for the side of a the tone of the exhibition. unbelievable these days when factories have 300 battleship is, it‘s quite daunting.‘ ‘This is unashamedly romantic. the old Pride ofthe people maximum.‘ McKendrick. who spent six years in the yards and Clyde stuff did exist. It's difficult to be proud if you McKendrick has been working up to this has a IOO-year family history in shipbuilding has make n'ngpulls for beer cans; it‘s something to do soundtracked hands-on homage to iron since his worked his own experiences into the exhibition. ‘In with the actual mass of what you‘re doing and that so Golden River exhibition a few years ago, and Clydebank. going to an school was a pipe dream.‘ he many people contributed. There's photographs of promises virtual reality. says. ‘To get a real job you had to go into the yards. these people lying around and if you pick one up ‘Other exhibitions to do with shipyards are usually so everybody left school at [5 and got an you‘re looking at a life‘. pristine. This exhibition is dangerous-looking and apprenticeship, so if you failed in other walks of life Iron: A Rivetting Experience is a! the Collins Gallery. absolutely filthy. It’s probably going to be the dirtiest that was your parachute and soft landing. i worked Glasgow from 5(1128 Sept-Sat 2/ Dec. NEW PAINTING could be just catching her breath which - once she has powdered her before having a good soak. But it is nose - she will re-ioin. the same with Flannigan’s other ‘People make iudgements very paintings of women and children: quickly,’ says Flannigan, who’s based there’s no knowing what’s really in Edinburgh. ‘I am trying to get going on. beyond that. The figures are Often solitary, her characters are deliberately isolated so there’s a real A woman sits on the edge of a bath. comfortany middle class but they do intensity and an emotional impact. She is wearing a pinkish coloured seem to be juggling a host of But they’re not always easy viewing. petticoat and her lips are painted a anxieties. You get the sense these To be this direct takes some soft red. She seems caught up in are woman who cry at the kitchen courage.’ cleaning many of her ideas thought. The bathroom cabinet is aiar sink but press on with getting the from newspapers and television, revealing a line-up of bottles. Is she supper on the table - on time. In lady Flannigan’s work is an antidote to the ill? She appears to be wearing a an A Bed, a woman sits on the edge glam portrayal of women. These are blonde wig, perhaps she has been ill of a bed. Dressed in a SOs-ster women who are off-guard if not at or maybe she wears a wig lust for the décolleté evening gown, she could ease. Private moments and public glamour of it. Don’t blondes have have walked out of an Anita Brookner pressures, Flannigan’s females more fun? novel. Middle-aged, there’s a fragility occupy a tense psychological tenain. Moyna Fiannigan’s painting, Slip, is about her, and a sense of yearning The work may be free of big-time ambiguous. An intimate scene with tempered with resignation. But drama instead it is the stuff of the numerous narrative undercurrents, it appearances have to be maintained. everyday. (Susanna Beaumont) throws out a flurry of possible You can almost imagine an overflow Moyna Flannigan: paintings is at 00A, scenarios- 0! course the woman Young one: a data" tram Morna of chatter from a drinks party below, Elasgow Sat 28 sent-sat 9 Nov.
82 The List 20 Sept-3 Oct I996