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 40th Anniversary Exhibition: St Andrews Photography Festival

Stills 40th Anniversary Exhibition: St Andrews Anniversary
1 Sep 2017 - 30 Sep 2017

For this year’s St Andrews Photography Festival, Stills is presenting a display of exhibition posters from its archive. Dating from 1977 to the present day, these chart the organisation’s rich and diverse programmes of exhibitions over the last 40 years. In that time, Stills has brought work by many of the world’s most celebrated and historically important photographers to Edinburgh for the first time for Scottish audiences to discover and enjoy at home.

Stills’ exhibition posters record the first displays in Scotland dedicated to the work of seminal figures in the history of photography such as: Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, Martha Rosler, Paul Strand, Wolfgang Tillmans or George Washington Wilson. They illustrate the broad range of topics covered by curated projects on themes such as the family, the male nude, photography and the moving image, women photographers and new talent in Scottish photography. The posters also reveal the geographic scope of Stills’ programmes that have showcased work from Asia, the Balkans, Canada, Greece, Morocco, Russia, South Africa, North America and South America.

In its first 40 years, Stills has presented more than 230 exhibitions. The selection represented by these posters illustrates how it has become an internationally renowned organisation at the forefront of developments in photographic practice and learning.

This exhibition is an outdoor exhibition and is open to the public 24 hours a day.

Location: The Scores, next to the castle, St Andrews.

Further information