The Undertow Review

It's really the struggle, the argument with oneself, that interests...
― Robert Dessaix.

Edition Seven: Hard Slabs and a Few Conifers 

Jessica Kirkpatrick is an artist and teacher originating from California and living in her adopted home Edinburgh, Scotland.  Her work is in private collections across the United States, Europe and Australia.  As an Abbey Award Fellow and RAIR Grant alumna, she has developed her work in vital art communities.  Teaching both young and old, she loves to support adventuring artists. 

She believes that painting is a visceral anchoring into living sensation.  She is currently working on new series, indulging a burgeoning interest in film-making whilst spending time with her baby boy, Calder. 

Artist Statement:

Space is what we move through in the world; however through painting I explore space as psychic, pictorial, digital and temporal.  Our minds create order out  of a series of relationships between shapes and colours   This notion that experience is subjectively cohered provides a backbone for my art.  Painting is an engagement with sensation—a play of form. It carves memories of places and dreamscapes. I define painting as a contemplative image-form which projects from the artists mind. I paint to engage my own mental space, to seduce my subconscious out into a material plane—to mirror my own nightmares, fantasies and narcissism. 

Technique is a gimmick— a series of methods and rules which guides the artists hand to create an image out of stuff. Technique without intelligence means nothing. One can rely on technique to connect a painting to an array of historical  precedents.   As a technique junkie, I use a lack of style, a refusal to commit, to dance with the language of painting and perhaps even undermine myself as author.  My voice emerges in its cumulative effect, cutting through jungles of diverse material in pursuit of an unveiled expanded visage.

Woman is a body, but she is also a multifaceted collection of principals and conventions.  I engage in the battle of representing the feminine, but also allow her to guide me as a philosophy of being and making.  The feminine embodies values of relatedness and cooperation, nurturing, magnetism, sensuality and creative manifestation.  My recent entry into motherhood provides a framework for structuring an artistic life, a lifestyle and a psychic lens, that is both sensible yet disarrayed— fractured yet ever so tender.  

Chora I


The Structure of Being



Adrian Barry born in Johnstone Scotland, was given a Polaroid instant camera when he was 11 years old, which he still has it to this day. From that moment a love of photography, alongside his other interest in music, developed. Music took him in a different career path until much later in his life when he returned to the still image and the possibility of becoming a professional photographer.

“That day arrived and what I can tell you now is that I really love what I do and I spend a lot of time refining, perfecting and even obsessing over my work... It is a passion”.

After leaving school he worked many jobs during the day, but he was cultivating a musical career by night. He had played in various bands over the years in Scotland but made his reputation in the 90’s as a bass player with a band called The High Fidelity. They were signed to Arista Records and released two albums: “Demonstration” and “The Omnichord Album” to critical acclaim. They had a cult following in the United Kingdom and the USA. After The High Fidelity came to an end, Adrian formed a band called The Poems in early the 2000s with his close friends in Glasgow. They released one album entitled “Young America”. Once again he found critical acclaim in the United Kingdom, USA and Japan. After a few years he felt that he had achieved all that he wanted to do in music. It was time to change careers.

In 2003 Adrian decided to act on his life long passion of photography by enrolling in The Glasgow College of Building and Printing. Here he developed his skills with a camera and soon found his true passion in life. So he swapped his guitar for a camera and set out on a journey as a photographer. At first he stayed with music photography. Most notably doing work for Martin Taylor, Justin Currie, Uncle Devil Show, Kevin McDermott, and Make Model. His portraiture work has seen him work with likes of Gerard Butler (300, Olympus Has Fallen), Emily Mortimer (Hugo, Shutter Island) and Jim Lambie (Artist).

In 2009 he had the opportunity to move to New York where some of his favourite photographers had lived and worked. Along with commercial photography this is where he developed his passion for street photography.  In 2015 Adrian released a limited edition book of street photography called 'There And Then'.

Edition Six: Still in Miami

Sarah Donley is a Northern Irish photographer based in Edinburgh. She studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and has since worked in various gallery-based roles across Edinburgh. She has recently embarked upon a freelance career in both Commercial and Fine Art photography. Sarah also works as Production Manager and Picture Editor with The Skinny Magazine.

                                            All Love Stories Are Death Stories.


I envy you people with real lives, you people with hope.


The Beauty of Her Under Electric Light.

'My written and visual work has always focused mainly upon the women in my life in some shape or form; It appears to be the only truly inspiration for me to create with any sort of conviction. Senses pick up on a still moment in time, and I focus on that particular feeling, how the room looked; what the air smelled like, snippets of dialogue, to create a depiction of the person, almost like recording a hazy memory from a dream, the piecing together of a drunken stupor that I hope never to be forgotten.'


       And the only real thing I held in that moment                                    Was her passing scent                                                                   Mixed with wet paint fumes.                            

Monochrome Splendour


Julia Sophia Sanner was born in Hannover.  She has always painted. In 2005: she had her first exhibition. Since then: she has never stopped painting and creating. In between: she studied fashion-design and became a taylor. Then continued painting. She has exhibited in different cities around Germany.

In her work she uses different techniques. You can find smart illustrations and portraits as well as abstract pieces, painted canvases, mixed media or painted sculptures.

'Usually I have periods where I create things with one technique or topic and continue for a while till I fall in love with another technique or topic. Over the years I built different collections of styles and series of paintings. But when I look backwards I can see the parallels in every direction I chose.'


'The klecksographies you can see here for example, are a mix of giving the accident a chance, composed of very planned colors and freestyle shapes of blots. When you see the result you don`t know which shapes were planned and which came by accident. This mix I really enjoy. I also like to play with associations, so visitors of my exhibitions start to create their own pictures in their mind without realizing the work of their own fantasy and imagination. This technique is perfect to create paintings which inspire people in this way.'

For this edition I chose these paintings because they transfer associations I have of Miami: the colors of summer, the easy character of the technique which fits the wish to have a light life, the dancing shapes, the full of life compositions, the blots which are next to or under or over each other…it's like an abstract portrait of Miami.   Honestly I`ve never been in Miami - until now. But the lifestyle and these feelings of a wonderful, sunny, a bit weird but also inspiring area, full of extroverted people who are able to enjoy everyday`s life I really want to absorb all at once! Until that time I`ll continue dreaming of it, and of course to express that longing in my art.


Edition Five: Empyrean Pleasures

Claire Adams Ferguson is an artist and illustrator based in a sunny studio in Lichtenberg, Berlin. Though not really a photographer, documentation is very important to her practice.  Her preferred mediums include video and sound installation; spoken word, performance, illustration and text, which help produce immersive installations and performances. 

She is interested in cross-cultural archetypes within art, social constructs and literature, and how these images assist in forming and manipulating personal and group histories. She also likes 70's sound effects, mountains and dressing up. Playfulness is crucial. 

Design, illustration, painting and wearables are from Studio YES YES YES: a place for enjoyment, silliness, and pleasure. We celebrate our bodies, celebrate each other and celebrate love. 




White on White.


Nail Paint by Barry M, 150, Red Glitter .


Federica Lucia Vinella is an Italian artist, living and working in Edinburgh with a BA, Honours from the Academy of Fine Arts, in Brera Milan 2011, a scholarship from the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, 2010 after studying in the  Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, 2009.

Naked Aye Collective exhibition, Edinburgh, UK 2015
Pop Up Exhibition, St Margaret's House, Edinburgh, UK 2014
REWORKED:RELOVED exhibition, Edinburgh, UK 2013
St Margaret's House annual exhibition, Edinburgh, UK 12/13
Polish Kolektyw, St Margaret's House, Edinburgh, UK 2012
North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Edinburgh, UK 2012
Pop Up Exhibition, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany 2011
Luci nel Buio, Sculpture exhibition Puglia, Italy 2009

Marcin Krupa has an MA in Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk 2009.

Chest. (pyrography on birch) Federica L Vinella.

See through skin, androgenicity and soul.

Figures in cage, sculptures in plaster                                                                                                                                                    
Federica L Vinella & Marcin Krupa.                                                          Self portrait in clay, Federica L Vinella.

sneak peak of the studio, human body parts and mutilations, Vinella and Krupa

Aggression, wooden sculptures for the Never ending glen festival 2015, Marcin Krupa

Edition Four: Dressed to Kill

Hazel Thompson is currently studying a BA (Hons) in Photography at UCA in Rochester and she has been busy working on a series of various projects; collaborations, exhibitions and commissions around the country. 'Intuition, synchronisation and the multi-faceted nature of perspective are the key elements' that fuel her creative photographic practice.

Lest we regret.


Attempt #167.


And as your toes tried the road, again.


Fabric Restriction: 
a group project by Hazel Thompson,  Jareth Fletcher-Miller, Jade Perry and Annie-Rose Horne-Peddie. 

Click on the images for a lightbox slideshow -

Fabric Restriction addresses the core of fashion breaking the consuming nature of ephemeral trends. In the history of feminism, fashion has been recognised to often 

insult rather than compliment the glossy duplicates of the image projector- and so out of the sexual strait-jackets those women leapt. This project aimed to re-frame the 

interaction between the individual, to smash stereotypes and perpetuate power by offering an afforded autonomy to express the journey of not only being, but also of 

breaking out of the threads that control.

Tessa Berring studied philosophy and cultural history at Aberdeen University, before going on to Edinburgh College of Art Sculpture School. She has shown her work in several galleries and festivals around Scotland, Berlin and  London.  She was recently included in a doll makers pop up event in Amsterdam.  This year she has also had her poetry published in Magma magazine and The Pickled Body journal.

Dolls And Other Imposters:

These are photographic images from Tessa's doll making exploration which in her own words, has taken her "into the uncanny nature of the doll, and the incalculable, and deviant world into which they propel us. Mute, seamless, made in our image, and yet utterly hermetic, a doll is one of the most fascinating and beguiling of inanimate objects. Taken from the site of childhood play, they can pitch us into deeply psychoanalytical territory. A doll is both an object mirror, reflecting our deepest longings and anxieties, while at the same time being an exquisitely crafted illusion of a stability and order missing from real and porous life."

Dolls have made a number of appearances in art. One of the most famous being Hans Bellmer’s ‘Poupee’ a disarticulated and violently investigated puppet, which he photographed in different locations and positions during the 1930s. Surreal, fragmented, and fetishised, Bellmer’s doll raises many of the more disturbing themes surrounding human desire for dolls - fantasy, narcissism, illusions of power and repression, and the overwhelming instinct, as he put it himself, ‘to escape the outline of the self.’  (T.Berring)

“We mixed in the doll, as if in a test tube, everything we were experiencing and could not recognise… The doll was so utterly devoid of imagination that what we imagined for it was inexhaustible. 
                                                                                                                                                                        ( Rainer Maria Rilke; Dolls: On the Wax Dolls of Lotte Pritzel) 

'A doll then is a figure of quietly disturbing ambiguity; comforting and haunting, subversive and silent, idolatrous and diminutive. And they wait, querulously, in the dangerous folds of that partition between dead and living things.'  (Tessa Berring)

anatomical diagram with cross stitch.

Edition Three: Dreaming in Phosphene

Jenny Papalexandris has been the recipient of numerous Art Awards. Her work has been included in various publications and media, a Visual Artist based in Australia with a Master of Art and a Bachelor of Education (Art) from the University of NSW in Sydney.

She explores photography as a subjective response to the world of light and shadow. Her photographs are highly expressive and visually commanding. Thematically rich and diverse, her photography is imbued with a strong sense of poetry, symbolism and metaphor.

She documents the universal themes of loss, identity, and the body. Her work is illuminated with a brooding, introspective questioning of her subjects, the quintessential rhythms and pulses of the world are smothered with a sense of mysticism- her work is her response to the beauty of the world. She instigates the impulse and its flamboyant tendencies to ‘sense’ rather than ‘see’ creating a singular vision explored with rigor and sensitivity, both visually and conceptually.

She continues to exhibit both nationally and internationally.  She participated in the Ten Diez International Art Event, held at the prestigious Magma Galleries in Tenerife, Spain. She has also shown as one of eight photographers specially selected for Album: Telling with Light held at the Garage Bonci in Italy. She has exhibited extensively in the USA, at the Darkroom Gallery and The Center for Fine Art Photography, in Colorado and Gallery 1650 in Los Angeles.

The Undertow  was given glorious free reign to sift through albums of Jenny's work, in light of offering a snippet-showcase of her visionary observations:



Lost Bird.






From the series': Falling Away , Nocturne and the sky opened up. 


Ursula Cheng is a Northern Irish/Chinese born artist and illustrator who also goes under the name Ursula Kam - Ling Cheng. She graduated in Visual Communication at Edinburgh College of Art and since then has mostly been working freelance on installations to album artwork.

Her work explores various mediums combining digital and traditional image making to create something a bit experimental and playful with her cotton candy floss colours and spectacular ink line work. Her last project involved a performative aspect where live projection is utilised to create a wildly exciting environment, it showcase drawing and animated light visuals in a stream-of-conscious live score as she improvises.

Ursula also lends her creative skills and community art experience to local youth projects and hopes to start up a non-profit participation and project-building experience with her work at future events.

Collaboration with other artists and musicians is cited as one of this illustrator’s main intrigues and ongoing pursuits. Time is also split creating further designs for her independent line of screen printed T-shirts, apparel and prints. These can be seen at pop up events, festivals and regular street markets in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and look out for her online shop coming soon.

The End.



Swinger Girl.

Edition Two: Hebrew After Midnight

Brittonie Fletcher is quietly working through a personality or identity crisis; of which she cannot tell, or decide- either way she isn't sure. She enjoys hiding in the dark. In her massive file of pieces of paper and qualifications she found an MFA from University of Edinburgh, a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art, a licence for PADI rescue scuba diving, a personal licence for alcohol, a receipt for trading her soul in freshman year of high school for a bag of chips (she was hungry), pretty sure theres a certificate for dyslexia, poor grammar and bad spelling in the mail also. In her spare time she collects broken things, and puts them together, not because she wants to fix them, but because seeing the cracks and missing bits makes her feel better.

The inability to deal with sunset.


I threw up.



Rachael Bibby was awarded an Andrew Grant Bequest Award and scholarship to complete her Masters in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art. Her work explores connections between consciousness and paint where artist becomes medium . She has had a number of group and solo exhibitions around Scotland and is currently Artist in Residence at the Royal Scottish Academy for the Ego project.

© stuartolgilvie

Return to New  (oil on board)

Matter    (oil and stainless steel)

Candice   (oil on board)

Hieronymus  (oil on paper)

These are two of my faces.  

There are more, 


Who would know?

This slideshow is composed of never shown before stills from her video and oil on paper piece Reflect: Study of a face perceiving itself, 2013 – another tangible outcome from identifying with the self, its introspective performance and the behavioural gestures transmitted to the audience. The bridge between the viewer, the artist’s self-portrait and perception is dispersed and challenges the traditional views of self-portraiture. Movement is captured by the camera, on the painted surface and in the paused stills from the process. Here the viewer is allowed into the solitary process of the artist studying her own reflection in her own home and interpreting it into painted form. 

Edition One: Issue of the Beast

Charis Stuart is studying Politics and Philosophy (a beautifully depressing course) at Glasgow University.  She likes cats; Japanese cuisine, Ouija boards, travelling, the human psyche and all things Goth.  She has been taking photographs for a while now (but not as a tool to increase her social importance) and has had work published in White Coffee Magazine earlier this year. 

Bamboo Forest, Koyoto.


Bambi in Nara- More Prey Than Predatory Beast.


Anneli Holmstrom graduated from the Edinburgh School of Art with a 1st class distinction. She is full time Arts Tutor for Novia Bildkonst Fine Arts Programme in Finland where she holds current residency- other resdencies include the John David Mooney Foundation: Chicago, Venice Agendas in Italy and Cove Park, Scotland.  She is the recipent of many awards and prizes and has had solo shows in London, Edinburgh and Finland where she is predominantly based at the moment.  Her works in private collections include audio art in the Tate Archives.  Anneli is a story teller, her work blends sculpture, painting and performance into one art form, mapping out journeys of the self through a series of original, thought-provoking pieces that tamper with meaning and multiplicity. 


(oil on canvas 2011)
Anneli Holmstrom


                                                    is about the artist dream. It is a joke about the unfulfilled wishes of the artist where modernist myths are alluded to in Picasso references and the Paris utopia of artistic adventure. The central subject of the painting is a female nude who wants to jump up from her position and join the romantic modernist dream, but something stops her. The picture is framed by abstract characters (pallet wolves) that loom and frame the picture,  The Judgement of Paris about the pursuit of pleasure and its conflicts. 

(mixed media sculpture 2013) 
Anneli Holmstrom

Dragging up the seabed is a series of works that takes Baroque themes of ‘the frozen moment’ emotionalism and the pursuit of beauty as its starting point. The work, in the spirit of the Baroque tradition, incorporates a multiplicity of meanings within the one plot to dazzle and intrigue the viewer.

The first act begins with the dramatic poses of the figurines and refers to strong childhood experiences chosen specifically for their drama and intensity. This referencing of the ‘child world view’ is also present in the cartoon style of the sculptures to draw parallels between the immediacy and melodrama of the Baroque tradition.

The four sculptures on display, like moments of faith or beauty are unstable and vulnerable. They can’t quite stand up by themselves, they could fall apart at any moment; they are both emotionally and physically fragile. Like pampered princes or children they can only survive within a protected sphere. To insure their safety the artworks must exist on special stretchers, to be transported by committed worshippers to their next site of adoration.