Studio Insights | Derrick Guild - Ever After19 Jul 2019
reviews and features
'Derrick Guild, is one of Scotland’s most enigmatic and original artists whose star continues to rise and whose work is sought internationally. He is originally from Perth, and attended Duncan of Jordanstone Art College in the 1980s, a brilliant student who has fulfilled his promise as one of the most brilliant painters of his generation. Until the Gallery closed in 2006 he was represented by Allan Stone at the prestigious Allan Stone Gallery in New York; this is his fifth exhibition with The Scottish Galley.
In this spectacular site-specific exhibition of new paintings, Derrick Guild creates a cabinet of curiosities for the post-modern, digital world. Ever After will surely be one of the most most exciting, talked about exhibitions in the Edinburgh Art Festival this summer.'
'To label someone is to give them a fixed identity, often in terms of class, gender, nationality, or 'type'. Yet physical lables are also associated with mobility: we label our luggage when we are about to move long distances. Some of Derrick Guild's most arresting new works deploy this ambiguity. As if invoking a pun on the word 'label', they make use of the way labelling implies both the fixed and the ever-shifting.'
'The original portrait was painted by Sir Peter Lely in 1661. As soon as we conceive of the woman in Guild's version of the portrait as confined, imprisoned behind bars, we sense the illusory and precarious nature of her condition. Her status of privilege may be read in her posture, her graceful demeanour, her imperious gaze - and materially in her gorgeous silk costume with its abundance of cascading drapery and of course the pearls around her neck and in the teardrop at her ear. But Guild has given her a soulfulness, a hint of sadness not to be found in the original portrait.'
'I originally began these works purely by quoting from Velasquez, but I have come to feel that the societal construct that is referred to by the grid relates to the idea of society and portraiture in a much broader sense. The grid also adds a sense of movement, a restlessness, and theatricality which gives the portraits a new perspective'
'An ongoing dialogue with the history of art is central to Guild's practice. Ever After is the title of a 40-piece individual work that quotes from portraits by artists such as Sir Peter Lely, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Sir Henry Raeburn, Archibald Skirving and Pompeo Batoni. Details and fragments of eyes, mouths, ears, jewellery and clothing are presented within small oval frames, linked by a fine gold chain, reconfigured to create a conversation dwelling upon the sensuality of miniatures, the process of paintingand the act of looking.'
'It is tempting to say that the whole is greater than the sum of its part. However, each part is so meticulously crafted that it asks for consideration as a work of art in its own right. Is the group greater than the individual? Or is the individual to be valued above all in terms of remarkable singularity? These questions are sparked by the works on show here.
Derrick Guild Ever After Installation
On Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 July 2019, Derrick was in The Gallery to install his site-specific exhibition, Ever After, with The Gallery staff.
'The fluidity of styles, fashions and painterly handling that moved freely between countries is something that seems of paramount importance today. Maybe portraiture is a truly European language.'
'In the series of miniature paintings of fragments – eyes, mouths, ears, abstracted from the originals and reassembled by the artist – the sitters have lost their identities. The chains that attach them to each other serve as a visual metaphor for the notion of linkage. Links and associations are what we the viewers are invited to make.'