Liminal Lives Showcase
AUGUST - SETPEMBER 2020
Collectively, we are in a liminal space; between pre-covid and post-covid, as we move through and out of lockdown. Liminality comes from the Latin word līmen, meaning ‘a threshold.’ Liminal Lives was a postal project aiming to bring individuals together to counteract social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic and socially distancing measures.
Liminal Lives was organised by Isabel McLeish as part of her graduate internship and was an opportunity to be part of a Scotland-wide socially engaged art project. Isabel had been painting during lockdown and using imagery of the remote islands of St Kilda as a visual metaphor for her experienced isolation during the pandemic.
'I've been recording the routes I've taken during my evening walks in lockdown.
Working within the confines of Covid-19 & a tourist map of my new hometown, I traced my walks, building up lines, documenting loops, crossed paths & dead ends.
I've reduced my map to postcard size, making the lines denser & less clear, experimenting with the way the quality of a picture degrades (or evolves) with prints of prints on the photocopier.
Using found materials to print onto adds another element of chance.
I'm interested in exploring the balance between the control of outcomes & of letting go.
The ephemeral nature of Mail Art appeals to me & the way the end result is determined by outside influences once it has set out on it's journey.'
- Catriona Ross, Lanark, South Lanarkshire
'I’ve always enjoyed the quality of simplicity in art, but lately I’ve felt a real need for it.
With Covid in society at the moment, nothing in daily life is simple. Even a wee trip to the local shop brings up a complex range of emotions.
I’m finding solace in simple creative gestures, in drawing with basic shape form and colour. I love the feeling of the wooden pencil in my hand scraping across paper... it keeps me in the present moment, brings me joy and is quietly life-affirming.'
- Suzie Eggins, Edinburgh
'Boo is doing all he is able to combat THE ENEMY…
Boo Simulacrum, performance persona, alter-ego, avatar (and so much more) of the artist Matthew Wickham has, since the advent of THE ENEMY, known as COVID-19, roamed the primordial forests with his fox familiar, voyaged the savage oceans and flown the Four Skies with the Hounds of Heaven. His mystic quest: to locate and vanquish this LURKER ON THE THRESHOLD in somatic form..
Boo is a Shaman, the re-incarnation of a Palaeolithic ‘Sman’: a man of power, a warrior. He perpetually inhabits the boundary state, the twilight, the interstices between this World and the abstract Realm of Thoughts and Dreams. He is a creature of the hypnogogia, or of the liminal, if you will.
Here we see that in the High Wastes of the World, Boo has finally run THE BEAST to ground. Having imbibed potent decoctions of certain herbs and fungi, and having also assayed the normal modus operandi of casting quartzite pebbles into the body of THE DEAMON, and the incantation of certain words of power, he has no recourse but to employ the use of his most powerful tool of all: the Vulpine Wand!'
- Matthew Wickham, Strathcarron, Wester Ross
'From the darkness of my temporary cage, I hear the call of the wild... As I venture out into this brave new world, darling, leave a light on for me...'
- Deborah Wickham, Strathcarron, Wester Ross
'For me, lockdown was a time for inner demons to come out and inner growth to accelerate. Now that we were confined to our homes for most of the day, there was a lot of time for inner exploration and reflection on our thoughts and emotions. My postcard vividly illustrates one of my inner demons stumbling amidst the dizzying swathes of internal turmoil whilst trapped inside. I chose to print my image in the format of a smartphone's "selfie" orientation and dimensions; a nod to the transition to video chat being the main form of face-to-face communication with people outside of our homes during these bizarre times.'
- Hannah Myers, Kyle of Lochalsh
'During lockdown, my youngest daughter was crossing out each day in her calendar on the wall with large black crosses. The feeling of being trapped was scary for us adults but it must have been so much scarier for children. So many questions and confusion. Suddenly we all were behind the windows, counting days and dreaming about escaping this scary and unpredictable reality. The pink planes hold beautiful dreams on their wings. The hope helps to get through everything.'
- Evija Laivina, Inverness
'I began to question our relationship with technology and its use in daily life; questioning positive and negative impacts of an increasing technological world.
Is technology an aid or is it controlling us?
Are we isolating or connecting through technology?
Aiming to connect to the outer world from my own isolation; I step into my binary box, located on the edge. Am I becoming a prisoner to self?
I question if we have become obsessed within our own virtual world; that we put up barriers that prevent us connecting with people face to face in our real world.
I now observe how technology has enabled us to connect with each other during this strange time of isolation.
Initially I explored a stronger, critical view of how technology isolates us from the real world. Following the COVID19 pandemic I think technology has become a life line within our isolated lives. Our only connection to our real lives.
- Emmajane Kingaby, Aberdeenshire
'Questions around isolation as we live within our binary boxes; how could we have survived the last four months without our digital tools? Without our digital eyes? Digital ears? Our digital finger tips?
Technology has become a life line within our isolated lives. Our only connection to our real lives.
Our senses replaced though an extended body of technology; webcams, microphones and touch sensitive screens. Technology was our only way of experiencing the world; we were inside our binary box. As we reach out to connect with others through our devices; our technology evolves. Will we as users evolve? Will the post technology human: only need two fingers to swipe; a USB port to connect their ear?
Has our relationship with technology changed forever?
Was this a moment of evolutionary acceleration?
As we enter a 'New Normal' we have been accelerated into a further digital dependent life.
- Emmajane Kingaby, Aberdeenshire
'I am currently studying contemporary art practice at Grays school of art. When I saw the title of this open call project I was very intrigued as last semester I completed a project about liminality and I was trying to capture liminal moments. Previously I thought of liminality as a still thing, frozen moments in time, however 2020 has changed my understanding of the word. 2020 has been a year of constant change and a sort of continual rapid liminality.
For my postcard design I made a collage of news photos from this year. The collage has two layers to it, a solid layer underneath and then a layer which uses tracing paper as a base for the printing. I wanted to do this so that some of the images were half visible, trying to help convey the idea of a threshold.
Much like everyone else, I am missing life before lockdown and being able to meet up with and see people freely. I think that human contact and social interaction is so important and not being able to have this changes the way we feel and our relationships work. The way we communicate has changed so much over the previous months and I wanted this to show in my postcard. I added the text, sending hugs to the postcard because in a way it is the closest to a physical hug as possible right now.'
- Carla Smith, Edinburgh
'A threshold can be put in place for a many manner of places, objects and subjects. When looking at what is going on with the world’s current situation I feel the threshold for the covid-19 guidelines are too unspoken/disregarded. So while creating this postcard an idea to have a bin truck picking up bags of covid-19 on one side and the other being a bar/club ignoring the guide lines that have been put in place, expect the doorman staff.
The point in doing this is to show no matter how tight a threshold you place on keeping the world safe people will disregard the guidelines with these places still open. To reiterate my idea of how things are taking place currently a simple multiple choice question was placed on the front and back asking the observer “who can fix this".'
- Rory Brown, Aberdeen
'The idea of survival during these times is basic. Grace Ireland has been looking at the simple rules & regulations we were given to survive and how these guidelines were drip fed through complex headlines and misinformed MPs. We were forced to read between the lines instead of watching our Government coming together and working as a functioning society. Normality is a thing of the past, since we left our nurses on the front line and made them pay for parking. Would we still be suffering if the Government enforced restrictions sooner? Or would we still be living in pandemonium?'
- Grace Ireland, Aberdeen
'This postcard is the 3rd in a series created during lockdown, painted with the intention of posting out to my friends and family, providing them with a single fragment of my every day.
In my bleak Glasgow flat, my morning seat in the kitchen would overlook the garden below. During lockdown I'd often find myself mapping the subtle movements of furniture and imagining the events taking place when I wasn't sat there observing them. I became quite fixated on the spot; a visual/social stimulus that romanticised the sight of friends, lovers & teens breaking in late at night. It drew my focus into something less consistent than my flat walls.
My work often deals with the subject of memory and the experience of time. Drawing from philosophical readings into the subject, I develop methods of keeping hold of experiences. The postcards, when placed in sequence, animate the garden into montage.'
- Emily Knight, Glasgow
'This postcard depicts a flower amongst flour, a lino print I created in reference to a photograph I took in a supermarket. I noticed this happening before and during the Covid-19 pandemic; where people just couldn't bring themselves to walk all the way back to where they originally picked up their now unwanted product. But I was surprised even with the supermarket restrictions that this still happens.
To me, it echos the face masks I have seen mindlessly disregarded in the streets. I have heard on multiple occasions that Covid-19 has shown the best and worst of people and although the imagery here may be humorous, it also highlights the reversal of the hard work carried out by key workers, due to those who are unthinking.'
- Sophie Stewart, Glasgow
'Lockdown for me has been an emotional rollercoaster.
High stress at the start while working from home, gradually wound its way down
to a much calmer place.
Living alone and now furloughed from my job, I miss so very much my family and
friends. Quiet tears flow often, yet these down times result in creativity highs.
Poetry, drawings and stories. Feelings. Straight from the heart.
As the rollercoaster rumbles on, I settle down to a “retired” way of life.
A different routine, no daily grind. Just relax and unwind, switch off my mind.
I have worked hard all my days, but now, retirement is just around the corner.
This lockdown has given an unexpected trial run.
Oh my, how I look forward to living it for real.'
- Iris Perrin, Inverness
'A gentle cry for Help'.
Nairn Artist Steve Smith, furloughed from work and "locked" out of the studio
finally has to face up to the interminable Real world.
- Steve Smith, Nairn
'These pivotal moments happen rarely. We are standing at the edge; is it a sunrise or a sunset?
We have been given this pause; unwanted and terrifying as it is as a last chance to heal ourselves, our communities, and our world.'
- Pauline Atkinson, Moray
'My work encompasses, landscape, seascape and collage, often working from observational studies as well as memory I use a combination of mixed media to create layers and texture. I am interested in creating a sense of place and atmosphere rather than a graphic image.
My abstract paintings and collages are wholly intuitive experimenting with colour, shape and texture.
These postcards are inspired by the current situation of being isolated, as well as the sometimes confusing information surrounding the pandemic.
I have lived in the small crofting township of Mellon Charles, Aultbea since 1970 and have exhibited locally and further afield as well as being a member of The Scottish Society of Artists and An Talla Solais, Ullapool.'
- Rosanne Wiseman, Gairloch
'Within correspondence the patina and the intersections of histories collide. Postcards are a spark of poignant and bruising intimacy, both written and unwritten dwelling within boxes of personal, political and historical ephemera.
Personal narratives, the relationship to nationality, politics, sexuality and rural craft, desire and nostalgia are themes that recur and interconnect within my practice.
Through the appropriation, deconstruction and reconstruction of documents and image archives, I invite you into a dialogue between past and present; utilising the motifs and aesthetics of nostalgia as a vehicle to explore contemporary notions surrounding masculinity, queerness and nationalism.'
- Dexter Turriff-Davies, Montrose
'Why the fairy?
Lockdown allowed me to restart drawing and I filled my time with practising figures and tutorials. I didn't however create a complete 'piece'. This postcard is hopefully the beginning of my creations.'
- James McLeish, Kyle of Lochalsh
'The word ‘isolate’ comes from French ‘isolé’ : placed on an island, as well as from Italian ‘isolato’ and from Latin ‘insulatus’ : made into an island. Due to Covid-19 lockdown, I revisited the islands of St Kilda, through the photographs and notes I took during my trip in the Summer of 2018. St Kilda is an isolated archipelago situated 40 miles west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. I re-explored them digitally as I experienced my own enforced isolation during lockdown. I also visited the shore in front of my house on a daily basis which enabled me to witness nature and go cold water swimming - and therefore physically immersed myself in the same body of water that touches St Kilda. I continue to create work from my home as I daydream about wild places and cliffs and waves travelling across the North Atlantic.'
- Isabel McLeish, Kyle of Lochalsh