Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Flying High!

Hello everyone

I've always said that artist Cathy Campbell is a star so I thought I'd share a nice story with you that I feel is a fitting tribute during the last week of her solo exhibition.
We have a lovely Japanese client who having spent the last few years living and working in Scotland is now returning home to the Empire of The Sun.
He has told us how much he enjoyed Scotland, and the people, and that he wanted to take something really special back to remember his time here.
Here is that special something:

'Star', oil on canvas by Cathy Campbell.

Cathy's painting will arrive in Japan in time for Hanami, the more than a thousand year old custom of celebrating the cherry trees. Hamani, literally meaning viewing flowers, is a major event in the Japanese calendar and people all over the country take time to celebrate and marvel at the wonderful blossoms. What a beautiful thing to do. To take time out with friends and family to respect and appreciate the gifts of nature. This speaks volumes about the Japanese people.

So it pleases me very much to know that such a beautiful painting will be admired and cherished by such an enlightened individual from the other side of the world.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Confessions of a Gallerist

Hello everyone,

I have a confession to make.
I've never really been a great fan of still life painting.  There, I've said it.  But please don't shoot me down in flames just yet, or accuse me of being 'elitist'.  I'm simply being honest, and I'm not going to apologise for being proud of seeking out the best of the best for your perusal.

As an artist and gallery owner my palette and tastes spread pretty wide, but for some reason still life paintings have never seemed to cut the mustard for me.  Perhaps it goes back to boring art lessons at school, or maybe it's because there are an awful lot of 'questionable' examples out there that simply do nothing for me.  Either way, as a gallerist I knew this was the wrong attitude to take to an art form that has been around as long as the hills, and that it was my duty to find the right artist to change my opinion, and possibly that of others.

This issue came to a head with UG's 'Not So Still' exhibition in March 2010, which showcased the diverse and extraordinary talents of 5 painters whose work certainly went a long way to changing my mind.

Here I am hanging that exhibition, and judging from the look of concentration in my face the still lifes were already beginning to work their magic on me.  There was one artist in particular whose work really opened my eyes, and whose work gave me everything that I had previously thought was lacking in the humble still life - and so much more.

That artist was Cathy Campbell, whose gorgeous solo exhibition is currently blessing the walls of Union Gallery.  For me, Cathy Campbell's work, through years of observation and experience with paint and brush, makes the everyday seem etherial and sublime.  It is heartbreakingly good and perhaps offers us a metaphor for human life - these are all familiar objects that we can recognise and connect with.

'The Odd Couple', oil on board, by Cathy Campbell.
I know that it's not just me that responds to Cathy's work in this way: I've seen it time and time again during this exhibition.  It's not every day that paintings draw a gasp from those looking at them, yet Cathy's work is doing just that.  Her paintings strike a chord and stir emotions in all who see them.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that Cathy Campbell's work is often bought by individuals to mark an important occasion - newly weds, as a retiremnet gift and, on a couple of occasions, with money inherited through the passing of a loved one.  I get it completely: what could be a more fitting way to remember a special moment or person than to acquire an exquisite, medative painting to look at and really appreciate?


'East Window', oil on board, by Cathy Campbell.

So I'm going to end by saying that Cathy's work is not in any way attempting to make grandiose statements or to be at all 'faddy'. Her work is simply a great, bloody good example of how to paint, and I salute her for this.

Come in and see for yourself.

Speak soon.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Don't Take Our Word For It......

An insightful review of Cathy Campbell's Solo Exhibition by our local independant stirrer:

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Behind the Scenes

Hello everyone

I thought I would share with you some 'behind the scenes' action in the lead up to Glasgow based painter Cathy Campbell's stunning solo exhibition.

I'm hoping some of the photos will make you smile :)

Lets kick off here:

This is UG hound Tommy on the train beginning his day trip to Glasgow.
I think he enjoyed the journey, although I'm not so sure his fellow passengers appreciated the 'aromas' he shared with them.

In Cathy's studio where all the magic happens. There's a LOT of paint in there I can tell you.
But of course, Cathy is a real grafter. It's one of only a few studios I've been to where there are no
photographs. Everything Cathy ever paints is from a real object.

There's nothing like seeing the fruits of labour, especially like this...fresh off the press and humming of oil paint. A perk of the job!

Sadly I did not take a photo of the most excellent cake that Cathy's daughter had baked. Largely because I was too busy shoving it in my face.
I did however manage this little curiosity which I think sums up Cathy Campbell's great spirit and sense of humour:

I should explain that pretty those these objects are, none of Cathy's new paintings come with PMS.

Leaving you with this:

After a hard day of observation Tommy takes his specs of to catch up on some beauty sleep.

Speak soon.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Cathy Star

Hello everyone,

It was back in March 2010 that UG held its first exhibition of still life paintings.  Entitled 'Not So Still', it was a major success with one artist in particular recieving a great deal of attention.  That artist was Cathy Campbell, a Glasgow-based painter who we had found out about whilst putting together that exhibition.  We were surprised to learn that Cathy had never exhibited in Edinburgh before, and delighted that she agreed to exhibit with us.  I adore her beautiful, colourful work full of delicate touch and clever technique.  Not long after that exhibition, it was a logical step for us to talk to Cathy putting on her very first solo exhibition.

And the result of that conversation is now for all to see at UGCathy Campbell's exhibition of new paintings opened last Thursday, and it has been well worth the wait of around 18 months to see this wonderful body of work  When you consider that she has produced all this work whilst holding down the day job as a tutor at Glasgow School of Art, it becomes even more impressive.

For example:

'Star', oil on canvas, by Cathy Campbell. And:

'Group of Three', oil on board, by Cathy Campbell.

 To Cathy, still life painting is not about making a portrait of the objects, or even about telling their story, it's about shapes, colour, darkness and light, and their relatioship to each other.  Over the last year, her methods have been changing somewhat.  She says:
"I have been less concerned with tone while engaging far more with colour and shape. This new approach involves far less heavy reworking. The paintings are lighter in touch and in tone and I sense that this changing concern has breathed new life into my work. There is a new immediacy and freedom in my work which I feel reflects pleasure in the process".

And the results are for all to see: there is a confidence and an optimism in her work that is highly infectuous.  When people come into the gallery, they smile and feel instantly relaxed by the joyfulness of the work.  It is beautiful, but also extremely calming and very colourful - a real feast for the eyes.  With the turning of the season into Spring, what better inspiration could we all ask for?

I'll leave you with one more example:

'James Stewart', oil on canvas, by Cathy Campbell.

To see the rest, you'll just have to find the time to come into the gallery before the exhibition closes on April 2nd.

Speak soon.