Standing outside his studio in Glasgow city centre, beyond its noise
and smoky breath, Toby Paterson can observe a metropolis in a state of
architectural flux. It isn't difficult to spot this influence in the
Glasgow-born Becks Future winning former skate-boarder's body of work
over the last twenty years. This is reflected too in Paterson's solo
GENERATION show, one of the first out of the traps which opens in
Kirkcaldy before touring to Inverness, Peebles and Dumfries in a
deliberate focus on smaller locales outwith the central belt.
“One of the things about the show,” Paterson explains, “is that there's
a lot going on in terms of texture and scale. That goes right back to
my formative experiences skate-boarding, when you're focusing on a tiny
detail of whichever location you're using, and you occasionally take a
step back and think, 'Oh, this building is interesting'. You're
discovering a way of looking at things.”
Since graduating from Glasgow School of Art's painting course in the
early 1990s, Paterson has continually looked to the botched utopian
visions of post-war modernist architecture that ended up as makeshift
playgrounds for skater-boys like him. His GENERATION show will feature
work drawn from the last decade that can be reconfigured to tailor each
venue. It will also include new work specific to each venue.
For Kirkcaldy, Paterson will draw from a specific spot on the esplanade
and “the complete failure to address a body of water in the landscape,
and how you have to look through several lanes of traffic to see it.
This isn't a representation of what I think Kirkcaldy is like, but is a
specific subjective experience.”
For the other venues, “It will be be off on a wander again and see what
happens. My favourite thing in the world to do is to go to places I've
never been before, get lost and find out about it.
“As I get longer and longer in the tooth, I do start to realise what
I've been doing, which is a subjective form of town planning of the
mind, containing a series of images and experiences that sit together
and build a kind of geography for myself. These spaces sit together in
my head, and I'm able to copy them imaginitively and feel like I'm
engaging with the world. There's idealism in that, but it's a personal
idealism. I kind of hope what comes out of the work isn't something
that's being didactic. It's more saying, this is open as a way of
approaching your environment and positively engaging with it.”
Toby Paterson, Fife Contemporary Arts and Crafts @ Kirkcaldy Galleries,
April 27th-June 22nd, then on tour to Inverness, Peebles and Dumfries.
Paterson's work will also be seen as part of GENERATION: 25 Years of
Contemporary Art in Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art,
June 28th-January 25th 2015, and Urban/Suburban, City Art Centre,
Edinburgh, August 1st-Oct 19.
The List, July 2014