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Current Exhibitions: Gateway Galleries

Image of crying baby by Flore Gardner

Flore Gardner: Picture in a Picture

Everywhere we look we are surrounded by photographs, from holiday snaps to the glossy pictures in magazines. We are often tempted to see them as unaltered representations of reality. We might think that unlike a written text a photograph cannot deceive its audience for it can only show the image that was captured by the camera. However, the matter is far more complicated than it initially appears. 

Every picture is taken with an agenda in mind. Photographs are frequently staged, with the sitters presenting themselves in particular ways. In addition, it is the photographer who decides what we are able to see in an image. These agendas give a photograph a story. We can learn a lot about an anonymous figure in an old picture by looking at what they are wearing or doing. 

These stories are what interest the Franco-Scottish artist Flore Gardner, who has always been intrigued by old photographs. She originally collected them from flea markets, old houses and car boot sales and later began to incorporate them into her art. 

Flore alters photographs digitally or through embroidery, a process which she describes as “recycling, reappropriating and manipulating these images to create new ones.” For example, she might take a group photograph and cover the sitters’ faces with black silhouettes, therefore undermining the original, commemorative purpose of the image. Alternatively, she might poke fun at this agenda by enlarging their heads to a comical size. 

In other cases, the artist adds ghostly figures to an image or uses a needle and thread to alter or heighten the emotions of the depicted individuals. The changes she makes challenge us to see these pictures in different ways, by revealing new stories, enhancing old ones and transforming the way we perceive photographs. 

Having already created a large body of work using French photographs, Flore has now returned to her Scottish roots by working with images from the University’s Photographic Collections. Through this collaboration she has created several new series of work which will be showcased at the Gateway Galleries from 10th January to 28th February.  An events programme will accompany the exhibition, including a children’s drama workshop and an adult photography masterclass. We hope you will take the opportunity to engage with the work of Flore Gardner and transform the way you look at photographs.


 ‌‘Journeys – 600 Years of the University of St Andrews’

This exhibition aims to celebrate the University’s long and distinguished history, placing key events in the context of other world events and examining this history from the point of view of students (both past and present), staff and the general St Andrews community.

The exhibition is laid out in four display cases, with one theme per case being examined:

  • Journeys Through Time
  • Journeys Around the World
  • Journeys of the Imagination
  • Armchair Journeys

Objects from across the University’s collections and from a broad range of time periods are displayed to help visitors examine these themes, and personal responses to (or recollections of) these objects form a basis to help visitors connect with them.

Two large wall spaces contain a timeline of University events, placed in context of Scottish and world events and a wall graphic based on benefactors to the University.