Staff Picks - Spring 201919 Apr 2019
The Scottish Gallery staff would like to share with you on a monthly basis some of our favourite things that we discover and come across here in The Gallery, but are not always on display. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
May Staff Picks
Guy Peploe chose: Archibald Thorburn, Golden Eagle.
My choice is Archibald Thorburn’s Golden Eagle. Thorburn who was born in Lasswade in 1860 is seen as one of the greatest British wildlife artists. He designed the first Christmas card for the RSPB in 1899 and illustrated a dozen wildlife books. He painted exclusively in watercolour, often painting a dramatic or highly detailed setting. Our Golden Eagle looks over his shoulder and transfixes us with a primal, unblinking stare.
Tommy Zyw chose: Frances Walker, Achmelvich Landscape.
Frances Walker is one of the most important artists working in Scotland today. Born in 1930, Frances studied at Edinburgh College of Art before teaching on Harris in 1956 and later at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. Throughout her career she has been drawn to the peripheries of the landscape, finding inspiration from wild places often where the land meets the sea. Subjects have included Elephant Island and Antarctica, St Kilda and the Hebrides. She is a renowned printmaker and is a founder member of Peacock Printmakers in Aberdeen. This work Achmelvich Landscape from 2013 demonstrates her masterly use of line.
Kirsty Sumerling chose: Kayo Saito, Combination Necklace
I love the hidden construction of this necklace by Kayo Saito - petals of silver and 18ct gold are attached to each other to create delicate components that allow the necklace to drape beautifully when worn. The catch is almost entirely hidden too!
Alison McGill chose: Sir William Gillies, Waterfall
I've always been an admirer of Gillies' work and he has greatly inspired my own paintings. This painting is a beautiful watercolour - the ink washes depict flowing water and a hilly landscape with gem like colours.
Christina Jansen chose: Carola Gordon, West Coast
This is a lovely combination of drawing and watercolour painting by Carola Gordon. The pencil drawing of the white bothy house focuses the composition; the watercolor is done with a light touch and describes a changeable spring day on the west coast of Scotland. The stone walls cleverly pick out the foreground and background. Wouldn't it be lovely to spend a day here?
Lisa Muxworthy chose: Hannah Mooney, Across Ballyglass
I love Hannah's paintings, while this landscape is in Ireland, I think it feels quite universal and reminds me of many views in Scotland. The big open sky of simple brush strokes is so effective and I am excited to see her exhibition in November
Ruth Leslie chose: An Alleweireldt, Composition Brooch
Fun, playful and easy to wear. I love the surprising mixture of colourful materials, which make it a great spring addition!
Elizabeth Campbell chose: David Eustace, Bridge IV
I've always loved David's photography - I love that despite the simplicity of his images he manages to capture so much. I particularly like this photo, Bride IV, as it really illustrates what I love in David's work. In a seemingly simple image he has managed to capture the colour, texture and light so brilliantly, to create a subtle yet engaging photograph, which makes you feel transported somewhere else.
Sophie Lawson chose: Paul Scott, Scott's Cumbrian Blue(s) The Fence Series (set of two plates)
I really like the way Paul Scott remixes traditional ceramics with modern themes. Even though there are often political themes in the work they remain beautiful decorative pieces.
Laura Cooper chose: William Wilson, Avila Spain
I love the way Wilson creates a strong geometrical pattern in both the rooftops of the town of Avila and also the natural landscape it is situated in. Despite the etching being black and white you can see the raking light and deep shadows that make you think of strong summer sunshine and hilltop breezes.
Ruth Leslie chose Andrea Walsh, Tiny Faceted Boxes
I love these little boxes, they’re so well crafted and elegant in their simplicity. Ideally a few together would make a nice display, especially in different colour ways - their neutral tones are calming and classy.
Elizabeth Campbell chose Ane Christensen, Mini Cube Bowl
Ane created the tiny sculptural piece for our exhibition The Miniaturists in 2018. I love how Ane plays with negative space, balance and shape in her work, to create wonderful sculptural metalsmithing. She uses base metals with different patination techniques to create fantastic colours and surface finishes – no two pieces are ever the same. This Mini Cube Bowl is particularly special as one of the smallest works by Ane – measuring just 7cm high it is a wonderful piece of metalwork.
Kirsty Sumerling chose Kirsty Lorenz, Selfheal and Clover
I love her delicate use of colour and line to depict two wildflower species that will soon be a welcome sight in grasslands and hillsides as the year progresses.
Lisa Muxworthy chose Angie Lewin, Shoreline
Now Spring has officially sprung, I'm drawn to bright, colourful prints such as this lovely example from Angie. I love her use of colour and intricate details, in this case feathers and shells to create such joyful works. It's like she's spent a wonderful day at the beach and taken some souvenirs home.
Laura Cooper chose Malcolm Appleby, Colliding Galaxies
This piece has to seen to be truly appreciated. It glows from within and draws you closer to appreciate the exquisite engraving on the outside. It is truly a museum piece that people will marvel at in hundreds of years time. Whenever I pass it I have to look at it and I will be sorry when it leaves our exhibition.
Iris Peploe chose Alan Davie, Birth of the Gobbleme
I love Davie’s playful attitude to painting. His paintings always have a real sense of joy in their colour and form. You can really tell he was a musician as well as a talented artist. On further research, I discovered he was massively influenced by Zen Buddhism and India Mythology which perhaps explains the somewhat spiritual title. ‘The Gobbleme’ doesn’t appear to mean anything but instead is an example of Davie’s wistful, creative nature.
Guy Peploe chose Stephen Conroy, Life Study III
Stephen Conroy is an artist who specialises in the human form and human narratives. Life Study III from 1987 demonstrates Conroy’s maturity and sophistication as an artist beyond his years. The sumptuous fleshy tones rendered in soft pastel and masterfully handled creates a celebration of the female form (a subject, not an object). The Renaissance Nude which is currently on at the Royal Academy in London also delivers a powerful insight and visual tradition of nude painting which became central to European art and like the Conroy Nude, is a subject which still resonates with artists and audiences today.
Alison McGill chose Grace Girvan, Turquoise Pebble pendant.
I’m lucky to own a couple of her beautiful necklaces and her combination of pebbles along with precious metals and enamel work make her jewellery both a joy to the eye and to wear.
Sophie Lawson chose Victoria Crowe, From the Studio, Dumfries House
I love this mixed media work from Victoria Crowe's last exhibition at The Scottish Gallery: Light on the Landscape. Looking through the blue rectangular wash of paint that serves as her studio window, we see a group of trees. The contrasting yellow and blue set us specifically at early twilight, with focused, capillary-like trees that remind us of Caspar David Friedrich, and out of focus firs. It reminds the viewer of the way early evening light makes it hard to read form and distance. It is a beautiful yet spooky mix of abstraction and romantic realism.
Christina Jansen chose Nancy Sutcliffe, Eclipse
Nancy Sutcliffe had her first solo exhibition with us in The Gallery in 2018 – called The Fabulous Beasts Club and this wonderful optical crystal cube called Eclipse is part of this series. I had initially missed Nancy’s email letting me know about her new body of work and one late evening I took the time to go over ‘flagged’ emails. Once I took in the breadth of the work and the maturity of her engraving and the sheer joy of the work, I raced to give her a call. I offered her a solo exhibition on the spot. Optical glass has a high lead content which means that the glass attracts and reflects light – the subtle and skilled engraving of butterflies and moths have been given Sutcliffe’s signature patterns and motifs with delicate additions of gold leaf and colour. As the viewer looks into and at the cube, the patterns and shapes are reflected through the cube so that it appears animated. Nancy Sutcliffe has the most delicate of touches and her work is truly joyful. I love her work!
Lisa Muxworthy chose Victoria Crowe's, Large Winter Tree Group
There are so many pictures in The Gallery that I love, but this etching never fails to make me smile. I imagine a bouncing Labrador just up ahead and am instantly transported to country walks in the winter time.
Elizabeth Campbell chose Emmeline Hasting's, Susurrus Medium Drop Earrings
I love these earrings because they mix such intense technical skill in a beautifully minimal design. I like the edginess of mixing precious metals with a non-traditional material like the black acrylic – this is a technique that Emmeline has been developing for some time, but the Susurrus collection is her latest work. Each dot is an individual precious metal wire that is inlaid into the acrylic – it’s very time consuming work but worth the effort as it creates an amazing and very unique effect!
Christina Jansen chose Robert MacBryde's, Still Life on Pedestal Table
Robert MacBryde was a superb image-maker and master-printmaker. Still Life on a Pedestal Table is a very rare, late example by the artist – The Tate Gallery own an edition from this work. The image itself could echo the shape of Ailsa Craig in Ayrshire where he originally came from and there are classic MacBryde motifs in the image; the harlequin pattern and sliced fruit turned into a bold pattern. Robert MacBryde was a working-class hero and former Glasgow School of Art graduate. Together with his partner Robert Colquhoun they continue to influence generations of artists after them.
Sophie Lawson chose Christine McArthur's, Blackcurrants and Blackberries
The little glints of light in the blackcurrants are a real show of technical skill in painting with ink – and there is so much humour in the irregularity of the fruits – all isolated with their little stalks pointing in different directions. The blooms of the anemones are beautifully executed - and I think it is so clever how water is implied by the toning down of colour of the flower stems and the background strokes. It is this combination of humour, skill, regularity and irregularity that make this my favourite painting in the current Christine McArthur exhibition.
Kirsty Sumerling chose Adam Buick's, Miniature Moon Jars
Inspired by ancient Korean dal-hang-a-ri vessels, Adam Buick's Miniature Moon Jars each depict a surface unique in its design whilst embodying the same simple form. The unpredictable nature of these Miniature Moon Jars comes from the inclusions and their metamorphosis during the firing process. The term 'Moon Jar' refers to the shape and the milky colour of the glaze, each resembling the moon.
Alison McGill chose Wilhelmina Barns-Graham's, White Circle Series III
I’ve chosen this particular print as I love her use of colour. The abstract shapes are open to interpretation but the eclipsing forms remind me of the moon and the night sky.
Laura Cooper chose James Morrison's, Redford
I love how Morrison captures the clouds on a summer's day.
Guy Peploe chose Alberto Morrocco's Three Sisters of Lucca
It is a monumental work, supremely decorative, from the later period when Morrocco painted direct, alla prima - certain, after a lifetime of study and painting, of what he wanted to do. The colour is gorgeous, the mise en scene delightful, the paint beautifully applied, reminding us of what a fine, original painter he was.
Iris Peploe chose Akiko Hirai’s Wet Kohiki Teapot
Akiko Hirai’s Wet Kohiki teapot is so beautiful and can also be used to make copious amounts of delicious tea.