Current Exhibition

Kate Davis: 'Nudes Never Wear Glasses'

Kate Davis, Nudes Never Wear Glasses, 2017, silver gelatin print
28 Jul 2017 - 8 Oct 2017

Nudes Never Wear Glasses is Kate Davis' first solo exhibition in Edinburgh and has been created especially for the context of Stills. Bringing together a new photographic series with drawings and recent moving image works, Nudes Never Wear Glasses includes the first gallery presentation of her Margaret Tait Award film Charity (2017).

Across mediums including moving image, drawing, photography and bookworks, Davis' practice questions how historical narratives are produced and perpetuated. This has frequently involved probing the aesthetic and political ambiguities of particular artworks, and specific historical moments, from a contemporary feminist perspective. Her latest film, Charity, was inspired by the ways in which the work of film-maker, poet and artist Margaret Tait (1918 - 1999), invites us to contemplate fundamental emotions and everyday activities that are often overlooked. Charity takes artistic representations of breastfeeding as its focus, and explores how the essential - but largely invisible and unpaid - processes we employ to care for others could be re-imagined. In seeking to 're-vision' history, Davis' artwork often references the theory and practice of photography, placing it in relation to other mediums such as drawing and the moving image. This is the case with the series of new photographic works developed and printed at Stills for this exhibition. Taking found negatives of archetypal monuments as her starting point, Davis has drawn into, and then printed, these images to redefine the subjects they commemorate. These adaptations have been made in response to a remark made by photographer, writer, artist and educator Jo Spence that 'nudes never wear glasses.' 

The works in Nudes Never Wear Glasses are displayed on three temporary, purpose-built brick walls. Whilst evoking familiar domestic and institutional boundaries, the brick walls also act as a metaphor for the histories which are shaped and hardened within and beyond those boundaries. Davis' practice persistently contests the notion of a 'hard history'; institutional walls are acknowledged here in order to claim the past as a critical and ongoing process of revisioning. 

The wall is a wall that might as well be there, because the effects of what is there are just like the effects of a wall. And yet not: if an actual wall was there, we would all be able to see it, or to touch it. And this makes an institutional wall hard. You come up against what others do not see; and (this is even harder) you come up against what others are invested in not seeing.

Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017) 

A commissioned text by Lauren Dyer Amazeen accompanies the exhibition. 

A limited edition silver gelatin print by Kate Davis will be available for sale.


Special thanks to: Dominic Paterson and Peter Davis Paterson, Ben Harman, Cheryl Connell, Evan Thomas, Luke Collins, Simon Harlow, Maria Fusco, Wayne Williamson, Sandra and Colin Davis, Wendy and Iain Paterson, Colin MacFarlane, Andy Slater. 

Image: Nudes Never Wear Glasses, silver gelatin print (2017) Kate Davis. Copyright the artist.

 Kate Davis funders logos 2017Edinburgh Art Festival logo


Stills at The University of Stirling

Images: David Grinly / Mhairi Law. Copyright the artist.
1 May 2017 - 18 Aug 2017

As part of Stills’ 40th anniversary programme, we are delighted to present an off-site exhibition to showcase a range of contemporary and historic photography in a unique setting during the year of Stirling University’s 50th anniversary.

Location: The Pathfoot building, University of Stirling

Public opening hours: 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday

The exhibition includes new work by Scottish photographers Mhairi Law and David Grinly as well as images by some of the best-known photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including: Ansel Adams, Robert Mapplethorpe, Julia Margaret Cameron and Edward Weston.

Mhairi Law is exhibiting newly produced work made on a research trip to the Faroe Islands in 2016 alongside images from her series Eilean I Island made on the Isle of Lewis in 2014. Law is an award-winning photographer who works predominantly with a medium format camera to make documentary and landscape photographs that explore environmental and social themes.

David Grinly is exhibiting a new body of work from a series called Murmur. Completed in 2017, each of the works consists of a painting on a photograph of a wall. Grinly started making this series in Paris and the title is a play on the sounds of the French words for wall (‘mur’), death ('mort') and love ('amour'). 

Alongside work by these contemporary photographers, we are presenting The Photographic Art: Pictorial Traditions in Britain and America, an exhibition of 25 framed works (photolithographs and rotogravures) featuring images produced between 1843 and 1983. The Photographic Art is a Scottish Arts Council touring exhibition that was conceived and selected by Mike Weaver and first shown at Stills in 1986. The artists and photographers represented are: Roger Fenton, William Henry Fox Talbot, Alfred Stieglitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Clarence White, Peter Henry Emerson, Wright Morris, Fay Godwin, Frederick H Evans, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Paul Strand, Carleton Watkins, David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson, Benjamin Brecknell Turner, Edward Weston, James Craig Annan, Raymond Moore, Frederick H Evans, Alexander Gardner, Julia Margaret Cameron and Ansel Adams.


Associated Events: 

Spring Art Lecture: Photography in Scotland and the mysterious fact: 40 years of Stills

Thursday 25 May, 5.30-6.30pm

Location: University of Stirling, The Pathfoot building

More info and to book a ticket

University of Stirling 50 years logo  Stills 40th logo