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In partnership with project ability
grant glennie, sian mather, simon mcauley, bel pye

In autumn 2022 Travelling Gallery partnered with Project Ability to exhibit four diverse artists from their ReConnect programme, an open studio for people with lived experience of mental ill health. Grant Glennie, Sian Mather, Simon McAuley and Bel Pye’s artistic practices brought a wide variety of styles, techniques and mediums to Travelling Gallery, all of which had been explored and nurtured in the ReConnect studio, allowing the artists to discover a sense of themselves.

ReConnect was both the title of this inspiring exhibition and the very notion that we were once again re-connecting, individually and as an organisation.

The exhibition toured between September and December 2022, visiting venues in Ayrshire, Clackmannanshire, North and South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh and Lothians.

Grant Glennie

Grant Glennie is a neurodivergent artist based in Glasgow. He has been part of the ReConnect studio since 2010 when he was first referred there by a community psychiatric nurse. He has a BA(Hons) in Interaction Design from Glasgow School of Art and his work is influenced by both subjective and personal things and often involves exploring the connection between the highly ordered and highly disordered.

For the ReConnect exhibition, Grant is exhibiting some of his sketch books alongside some abstract prints and short films exploring patterns and systems. He says: “I have a methodical approach to art, using sketchbooks as a tool to think, wonder and create. I fill sketchbooks and make art because it can help give me structure, purpose and improve my mental wellbeing. I enjoy researching and learning through art about everything and anything. I work primarily in a number of mediums but retain a computational, rule based and system approach.”

Sian Mather

Sian Mather is an artist based in Glasgow and has been a member of Project Ability for about 25 years, which she says has helped her enormously. She paints and works in clay, having a background in ceramics with an HND in Industrial Ceramics from Staffordshire University.

For Travelling Gallery, Sian will be exhibiting beautiful pots made with a stoneware clay body. The distinctive hand-built pots depict various figures; other ReConnect studio members, busy working on their own practice, special to Sian as now good friends. She says: “I wanted to create these pieces to celebrate the life of the studio and reflect the diversity of work produced within its walls. It is a fantastic organisation to help people from all walks of life deal with mental health issues through art. I love going and being amongst other artists with similar interests.”

Alongside these studio pots, Sian will also exhibit a pot inspired by one of her favourite writers, Alexander McCall Smith, and a series of vibrant tiles inspired by famous impressionist Vincent Van Gogh.  

Simon McAuley

Simon is a research-based artist in Glasgow who explores both material and theory. He has a B.A. in Fine Art Photography from Glasgow School of Art although he work across mediums including painting, drawing, photography and writing. Each medium informs the other, however they rarely crossover physically. For example, he paints in his studio but photography takes him in and out of the darkroom. He says: “In that sense my practice is fairly straightforward. It is within Ideas that I seek unusual contours or weather systems.

For the ReConnect exhibition, we will be showing some of Simon’s abstract paintings which have a minimal, yet layered, quality to them. Simon is a focused artist who persists with his material until he’s happy with the results. He describes his creative experience as: “At times I work on a narrow and reductive parameter. Reducing something out of nothing, or very little or not much.

I sometimes feel at a loss to do more. Yet persevere with, say material or an idea until I can develop a space. Something one step above whatever sits below two or three dimensions.

Bel Pye

Bel Pye graduated from Contemporary Performance Practice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2015. Since then, they have worked as a facilitator, performer, writer and visual artist. Bel is interested in the everyday art we make to survive hostile times. They try to respond to injustice through small acts of accessible protest, often by adding overtly political details to everyday objects, for example embroidering a powerful statement on to a face mask.

For Travelling Gallery Bel will be exhibiting Stitch Nitch the result of a six hour durational performance at CCA Derry-Londonderry where they crocheted themselves into a giant cocoon-like pod. Stitch Nitch is a reflection of Bel’s practice which they say is: “fatigue informed and grounded in the queer, mad and chronically ill communities they live in.”