Monday, 30 April 2012

The Darling Buds of May

Coming from a studio near you...

Artist Janet Melrose has a final look over some of her work before it gets framed.
There's some rather nice paintings in there indeed!

And artist Jenny Matthews relaxes with her lovely cat Rosie (who makes an appearance in the exhibition)
after all her hard work.
Leaving you with this:

An all time favourite photo taken during Jenny Matthew's solo exhibition at UG in 2010.

Please come and join Jenny and Janet at Union Gallery this Friday from 6-8.00pm for the opening.
Boy, it's going to be gorgeous!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Incredible Journey

Hello everyone

As the month of April trickles away and the amazing Worlds Apart exhibition heads towards its final weekend, I've been thinking about how both artists, Kevin Low and Stewart Bremner have been on quite an epic journey to have arrived at this show.

I think it's fair to say that all artists are on a journey of some sort when they create a new body of work, and that in doing so they bring with it their inner-most thoughts, observations and life experiences.  I think that artist Stewart Bremner's new work epitomises this often gruelling and emotional process. 

Some of you who have visited the exhibition will know that Stewart's work is largely a response to his relatively new relationship with fellow artist Megan Chapman.  Of course, some of you will have viewed the paintings 'just as they are' with no back story, and simply appreciated them for all that makes a great painting - and that's brilliant too.  Very abstract in form, Stewart's work can pack a punch and trigger the imagination unlike many other styles of painting.  I guess I am in a privileged position as a gallery owner, and indeed I believe it is my business to learn as much as possible about the work we exhibit and the creator.  I find it impossible to separate the two.  Ultimately, what makes the artist 'tick' is revealed in the final product - which makes it all the more fascinating.

So I take my hat off to Stewart Bremner for having the courage to lay down in paint such personal thoughts, and to produce work that is both compelling and beautiful.  I've been wondering what love looks like - perhaps it looks like this:

'Two Worlds Collide', mixed media, by Stewart Bremner.

How do you encapsulate the highs and lows, the uncertainties and the hopes of a relationship in such an uncertain world?  For me, in this strange world, I think this is the one:

'When We Float', mixed media, by Stewart Bremner.

Artists Stewart Bremner and Megan Chapman will be heading to the States, Megan's home, next month.  I'm sure that the journey that played such a big role in Worlds Apart will continue and will flourish in the work.  I wish them both well.

Speak soon.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Welcome to my World

"My world is one of creaking empires, of dancers and circuses, of a time where fashions and eras merge into something that is mine.
It’s all about the atmosphere; my pictures are catalysts for your own flights of fancy. I’ve said before that I know many of my ‘subjects’ very well… but I can never know everything. I draw my work with a digital ‘tablet’ and ‘pen’. The images are then printed using archival papers and inks.
Each print is produced in an edition of 10."

'Mrs Lyle in the Winter Garden', digital painting, by Kevin Low.

If you want to know more about this special world, and watch the extraordinary creative process in action, come along to the gallery tomorrow (Saturday) between 12.00 and 5.00pm.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Behind Closed Doors

Hello everyone,

Some of you regular visitors to UG may already have met one of our closest partners - someone who has already appeared on this blog several times.  The partner in question is artist Stewart Bremner.

We are particularly close to Stewart, as he was one of the artists we showed in our inaugural exhibition, 'Introducing', back in 2009.  He has also been the brain behind all our fantastic videos, and the one behind our better photography moments.  Stewart Bremner has also been very generous with his expertise in graphic design and illustration, giving us pointers with our website and social media efforts - although we are clearly still learning!
It was also Stewart Bremner to whom we entrusted the running of UG whilst we were off having our own 'Union' in 2010.

Here he is the day after our wedding, handling it all in his usual cool and unflustered style:

So our partnership with Stewart works on many levels: he is a partner, a comrade, a total grafter and, of course, now a good friend.

However, if you put all that aside,  and even if he was a total pain in the arse, you cannot ignore the fact that he is a great painter - and that is currently what we are most interested in.  I've mentioned all these qualities that you naturally want to gravitate to, but in the lead up to his 'Worlds Apart' exhibition with artist Kevin Low, and looking at the raw, uncompromising and immaculate work he has produced, I believe that we have found the nerve-centre and indeed the very psyche of Stewart Bremner.

Every artist will tell you that exhibiting their work is akin to baring your soul for the scrutiny of others.  What can I say, Mr. Bremner?  I salute you for doing so with such integrity and spectacular style.

In this body of work there is less of the mild-mannered, gentle Stewart Bremner, and more of the spontaneity, urgency and even aggression that help to make him the man he is.  Yet the sensitivity and fragility of this artist is also there for all to see between the lines and the mark making.  I believe that it is this combination that has so affected those who have seen the work.

Take a look at this:

'Adrift' (detail), mixed media, by Stewart Bremner.
Now that's what I call a serious example of 'physical' painting: the artist is throwing his heart and soul into the work.  When I look at Stewart Bremner's work I can feel that energy 'bleeding' off the walls.

Rumour has it that behind closed doors, in that place of difficult negotiation and sanctuary that is Stewart's studio, he falls into some sort of trance when he works.  I'm sure it would be both enthralling and somewhat unnerving to watch, but perhaps some things are just too private.  Sometimes, it's best to leave a little of the magic to the imagination.

Speak soon.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Worlds Apart

Get ready.....



'Worlds Apart' opens on Thursday 5th.

See you then.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Boys are (almost) Back in Town.

Hello everyone

So at the gorgeous Cathy Campbell exhibition gently winds to an end, and the familiar pangs of anxiety creep in at the thought of taking the paintings down, I am much comforted by the knowledge that the next month will see Union Gallery host the works of 2 inspirational talents.
Ladies and gentlemen.....introducing: "The Boys!"

The month of April will see 2 extraordinary worlds collide in the form of artists Stewart Bremner and Kevin Low and I for one am very excited.

Now, I am well known for my cack-handed skills with the camera, bit in this photo I have excelled myself by managing to snap the only section of artist Kevin Low's portfolio......or perhaps it's a deliberate ploy to get you to come along and see his work for real. Trust me, you wont be disappointed.
And here is the other half in this spectacular show, who some of you regular gallery goers will recognise:

The wonderful Stewart Bremner who, as I think this photo shows, is feeling the strain of working like a demon on the the Worlds Apart exhibition. A bow to you both gentlemen. The fruits of your labour are looking fantastic and will be ready for all to see on Thursday 5th.
You'd be an April Fool to miss out on this one!
Speak soon.