Some information about the work on this website:

Penguin_MediumThe Triad of Impairments

This piece was exhibited as part of the Society of Scottish Artists 117th Annual Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh in December 2014, and will form part of a larger exhibition in Fife in 2015.

Autism is a life long neurological condition, often still referred to as a disability. The criteria for a diagnosis of autism are based on a triad of impairments in social interaction, communication, and a lack of flexibility in thinking and behaviour. Latterly, the presence of unusual sensory processing has also been taken into account.

The Triad of Impairments is a narrative about two boys and how their inherent characteristics fit within the triad. Implicit in the literature surrounding the Triad of Impairments is the emphasis upon what is lacking, on what fails to meet normal expectation. Parents who receive a diagnosis of autism for their child may find a focus on what their child will not be able to do, yet the relationship they can have with their child may often transcend this.

This wall-based installation combines panels of printed drawings and text to communicate a story about two boys and aims to offer another way of seeing a complex condition.  The work is a collaboration between Gayle Nelson and Fiona McDonald.The artists, who made the work about their respective sons, found that both boys engaged positively with the drawings and identified them as being about themselves.

WhereTheyWent_DetailFound Photograph Album

The works in this series are reconstructions of small black and white photographs from a found photo album. Together they tell a narrative about a holiday.

The cataloging of printed holiday snaps  is a past-time which has, to a great extent, been lost today for a number of reasons. Digital photography, the results of which often never make it to print, the frequency and ease with which people go on holiday, and the ability to look up other places on the Internet, all contribute to the fact that we no longer create these intriguing physical mementos of our lives.

The works are produced using a series of hobbyist techniques in a contemporary art context, methods such as embroidery, thread and nail pictures, model-making, photography and oil painting. Each image from the album is recreated using a technique normally used to fill time, whilst in itself each reconstructed images denotes a special moment in someones life.

GayleNelson_GlassBottomBoat_Photographicprintsonperspex_5ftx4ftapproxGlass-Bottom Boat (left) consists of a series of photographs taken on a glass-bottom boat trip at Silver Springs, which were then printed onto perspex ovals. The shapes and their arrangement on the wall evoke the once popular portrait-shaped photographs. The ovals are suspended on wall fixings so their images move slightly, casting a shimmering reflection on the white wall behind like ripples on water. This work is now in the collection of Grampian Hospitals Art Trust.

Childhood Influences

This series takes the seaside town of Leven, Fife as its subject. Amongst those are:

SwanSong (left)Methil Power Station opened for coal-fuelled electricity production in 1965 but was run down and placed on strategic reserve as a back-up facility in 2000 with a loss of 70 jobs to the area. The people of Leven were divided in their views of this dominant landmark and its eventual demolition. Older inhabitants of the town fondly remembered a time when their beach-front was not marred by the giant concrete chimney at the end of the promenade. Younger generations on the other hand, had adopted the power station as an icon firmly built into their memories of growing up in this seaside town. To remove it was to dramatically change their childhood home. During it’s time in operation, the surrounding waters were host to a number of exotic birds, attracted to the warmth generated by the building. Ten years on, only the swans remained, strikingly white and graceful against the abandoned concrete remnant of a lost industry.

Holiday Town: This wall-based installation is homage to growing up in the seaside town. An oil painting depicts a single bird on a quiet beach, signifying the change in the town’s identity from a once popular tourist destination during the artist’s childhood. A ceramic white mouse sits atop a shelf cut into the shape of a wave, a reference to the artist’s grandmother who worked in a sweet shop in the town. Two hand-made books contain images of Leven’s iconic Trinity House which was entirely covered in shells and broken crockery, only traces of which now remain.

ThingsThatDidntStayTheSame1Things That Didnt Stay The Same (left): A series of drawings of parts of the town which have undergone changes since the artist’s childhood. The drawings were partly coloured with glass beads and give the impression of things changing or disappearing through use of a media normally employed by hobbyists to pass the time.

Cupar Arts Festival

Gayle Nelson has produced a number of temporary public artworks for the Cupar Arts Festival both independently and in collaboration with the artist, Fiona McDonald. Those have included Always (left), Company (a performance), Dry Clean, Dream House and The Things We Used.

6AlwaysGayle is the creative director of the Cupar Arts Festival, which has received substantial funding from Creative Scotland and Fife Council’s Strategic Events programme.  A selection of images from the festival can be found in the Curated Projects and Events section of this site. To visit the Cupar Arts website go to www.cupararts.org.uk.

The full list of Cupar Arts Festival images featured on this site is as follows:

1. Programme Guidebook 2. Holger Mohaupt, The Last Hole is a Short Par 4 (installation detail), Cupar Arts Festival 2009. 3. Chad McCail, Level Wages, Even Rations, Cupar Arts Festival 2011 4. Joseph Calleja, Lumen, Cupar Arts Festival 2011 5. Kate Downie, Cupar Mural, Cupar Arts Festival 2011 6. Sarah Griffiths, TEA: Temporary Mobile Social Space, Cupar Arts Festival 2009 7. Joanna Foster, Ticket Line, Just Passing Through, Cupar Arts Festival 2011 8. Jenny Smith, What is the most important decision you have made?, Cupar Arts Festival 2013 (Image Credit: Chris Watt) 9. Kenny Bean, Tempting Fate: The Fate of Water, Cupar Arts Festival 2013 (Image Credit: Gill Mair) 10. Kirsty Whiten, The Three Fates, Cupar Arts Festival 2013 (Image Credit: Mairi Anton) 11. Pernille Spence, Not My Tomorrow, Cupar Arts Festival 2013 (Image Credit: Gill Mair) 12. Panini 2 Life, Don’t Walk WALK, Cupar Arts Festival 2013 (Image Credit: Gill Mair) 13. Article by Giles Sutherland in The Times