It seemed fitting to be viewing the work of an artist who explores science and invention in the week that the great science communicator of the modern age, Sir Patrick Moore, departed this mortal coil.
The astronomer exuded a heady sense of excitement in the discoveries of the space age and beyond, into the great unknown.
In Studio Experiments, Moore's namesake, Patrick Jameson, explores intuitive discovery and invention in art and science, creating beautiful photographic images and paintings in the process. Using found objects, he restages earthly and celestial phenomena, ranging from the rotation of the planets to the habits of nocturnal insects.
Newcastle-born Jameson, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art's MFA course, is no stranger to the city's art scene or to curator Patricia Fleming, who has launched her new gallery space in the Merchant City with this display of his work. Fleming has set up her stall in a bright new space on the fourth floor of the South Block building, a WASPS studio which opened last year, with the aim of working closely with emerging and established professional visual artists from the UK and beyond.
Her pedigree as a curator goes back almost 20 years and, in that time, she has worked with some of the biggest names in contemporary art, including Martin Boyce, Roderick Buchanan, Jacqueline Donachie, Douglas Gordon, Jim Lambie and Richard Wright. From artist-led initiatives such as Fly from 1996 to 1999 (now the Market Gallery) and Fuse from 1992 to 1999 (which provided free studios in Glasgow and a small stipend for more than 500 artists), she went on to become the first curator for Wales at the Venice Biennale.
Fleming also curated A Gathering Space, which was Scotland's contribution to the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2008 before, most recently, producing Vault, Glasgow's first contemporary art fair at The Briggait. She is currently researching a second edition, but in the meantime she is relishing the sense of freedom that comes with having her own exhibition space.
In this small but perfectly displayed show of work by Jameson, the photographs, which are printed at the nearby Street Level Photoworks premises, are face-mounted in perspex with telling attention to detail. "I feel Patrick is trying to recreate so he can understand – but in doing this, he offers up another way of looking rather than an explanation," Fleming says. "There is a playfulness in his work, with him following scientific experiments in an intuitive way, making it beautiful. There is an element of craft although aesthetics are not the primary thing. It draws you in at all levels."
The photographic prints in the exhibition were made during the production of a four-part video work, Studio Experiments, but stand alone in their own right. Here, we have a table lamp illuminating a tree at night to attract flying insects. There, we see a discarded balloon as it reaches an equilibrium between the forces of gravity and the effect of its elemental contents. Over by, there is a map of the universe lying crumpled on the studio floor while a flood lamp illuminates a deflated weather balloon which has expelled its contents of copper-coloured glitter.
In the next shot, we see a daylight bulb captured at night against a sodium-lit urban sky. Another image reveals a star map of the universe made with a hot needle. One of my favourites is the geekishly gorgeous Cloud Chamber 1, which refers to the work of Japanese physicist, Ukichiro Nakaya, who grew the first ever artificial snowflake on the tip of a rabbit's hair in a glass cloud chamber at his mountaintop laboratory in 1936.
There is a quietly focused attention to detail in Jameson's work, which is created at the Studio Warehouse in the city's west end. The pieces in this exhibition are for sale, and there is certainly a domestic feel about the scale, which would sit well in a home setting. "There is a commercial aspect to the gallery," Fleming adds. "That is important in this climate. The work in this exhibition, for example, is affordable. These prints, which are signed editions and beautifully crafted, are £250."
The beauty of this work is the way in which the staging becomes part of the story but never clouds it. There is a world-of-wonder feel to it, not to mention a Renaissance clarity in the lines and in the composition, which keeps the imagery fresh in your mind long after you have left the building.
I suspect Sir Patrick Moore would have approved.
Patrick Jameson: Studio Experiments is at Patricia Fleming Projects, Studio 225, South Block, 60/64 Osborne Street, Glasgow (07968 066708, www.patriciaflemingprojects.co.uk) until February 3.