Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Airborne Creatures

Hello everyone

I hope you have been applying the factor 50 lately!

In our last blog post we presented you with a challenge of finding all the little sandals thoughtfully painted into Janet Melrose's new body of work.
Our challenge for you this, the final week of the Janet Melrose RSW and Jenny Matthews exhibition, is to spot some butterflies.
Now, there's a lot of them! Including Scotch Angus, Small Heath and Small White as observed in this exquisite watercolour:
'Insects from Summer 2011', watercolour by Jenny Matthews.

This painting was secured by a lovely gallery visitor who was keen to buy a special work of art in memory of her mother who sadly passed away last year. 'Insects from Summer 2011', I feel, is a very sensitive and fitting memorial.
However, there is another, solitary 'airborne creature' in the exhibition which, on seeing for the first time, I immediately feel in love with:

'View from my Studio', acrylic and watercolour by Jenny Matthews.
I am sure, given a little time, you will find the tiny 'airborne creature' fluttering around on his (or her) lonesome voyage.
For me, the subtle insect is the icing on the cake of what is a truly beautiful work of art.
The more and more I study Jenny Matthews' work, the more I consider her to be an engineer as well as a brilliant painter - and this painting is a perfect example. I think the drawing work here speaks for itself - how she's captured the heavy rain with her confident and bold mark making requires no words from me. The energetic strokes work superbly with the subtle, yet precise collage work on the bottom and on the left of the work.
Yes, I think it's fair to say that from the Jenny Matthews side of this really special exhibition, 'View from my Studio' is a curator's choice.

Please come back to find out what UG's curators choice is for the Janet Melrose RSW side of the exhibition.....I might need some tissues!

Speak soon x

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Wanderer

Hello everyone,

Those of you who have viewed the current exhibition, new paintings by Jenny Matthews and Janet Melrose RSW, will know that there is a recurring theme of a journey running through Janet Melrose's work.  With titles such as 'Crossing the Desert', 'Making Camp' and 'Following Signs', you can find many symbols related to this journey in these exquisite paintings - such as the lone red-robed figure and, shown below, his sandals:

'Temple Shrine', detail, mixed media, by Janet Melrose.

Now these lovely, simple sandals appear in a number of the paintings, but as is the way with Janet's  subtle, less-is-more style, not all are immediately obvious to the viewer.

So, as a bit of fun, we are offering a bottle of something fine to the first person who comes to the gallery and can find all of the sandals in the paintings.  There will be no help from us, and no clues!

Happy hunting....

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Imperial Yellow

Hello everyone,

Some of you will already have seen it, but for those that haven't, there is a particularly beautiful and intriguingly titled painting by Jenny Matthews in the gallery at the moment, as part of her two person exhibition with Janet Melrose.

And here is is:

'Imperial Yellow', acrylic on paper, by Jenny Matthews.

So where does this title come from?  In China, yellow has been a highly significant colour for centuries.  Yellow is seen as the colour of earth, the most important of the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water and, as an emperor rules the earth, it is the colour of Imperial power.  Emperor's decorated their palaces with yellow glazed tiles, and dressed in robes made from a special 'imperial' tint of yellow silk.  This colourful display of power was the exclusive domain of the emperor, so if anyone else dared to wear it or decorate their home with it, they risked execution for such an insult.  Of course,it is entirely reasonable to assume that the emperor's decorated their vases in the same way.....

Luckily for us, this practice never reached the shores of Scotland, and have in all probability become obsolete on China too.  So there is no punishment for gazing upon the 'sacred' 'Imperial Yellow' that we are lucky enough to have in the gallery at the moment.  In fact, there is only reward for doing so, and we recommend that you find the time to come in and have a look for yourself.

Speak soon.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

One Swallow a Summer Does Not Make

Hello everyone,

Unless you have been extremely lucky, you might well have noticed that so far May has been something of a wash-out. Lucky for us, here at UG we have a truly sublime exhibition of new work by Jenny Matthews and Janet Melrose RSW that is guaranteed to transport you to more favourable climes.

To be fair, I have actually spotted a few swallows shivering their way around Inverleith Park.  I can't help thinking the poor fellows are wondering if they've got their dates wrong!

However, I want to show you this rather superb sketch from Janet Melrose's sketch book, which accompanies her little desk containing lots of enchanting items that demonstrate a lot of the thinking behind her new work.  Here is the little desk at which Janet sat many years ago:

It's hard to believe we were ever that wee, isn't it?
And here is that sketch:

Now I've scanned this from Janet's sketch book, so the image doesn't do it justice - which reinforces why it's always best to experience such exquisite drawings first hand.  There a nine swallows here (so it is officially summer), but the one that gets me the most is the one at the bottom left.  In a few masterful strokes of a pencil, with almost Samurai Sword-like skill, Janet has captured the fast-moving swallow with immediacy, precision and delicacy.

I would also like to show you this gorgeous drawing:

This sketch has been done in biro, which personally I have never believed to be the tool to achieve greatness in drawing.  I eat my hat!
What a beautiful drawing: with the 'clumsy', unsympathetic biro Janet has again captured her subject matter with elegance.  That little bird's beak is perfectly captured with a few masterful strokes.  Just brilliant.

Come back soon for some more drawing action from artist Jenny Matthews.

Speak soon.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tulips from Amsterdam

Hello everyone

Some if you will have heard of the expression 'Tulip mania', but for the benefit of those who haven't, here's a quick horticultural lesson on what was once the most precious flower in the world.
Tulip mania erupted in the Netherlands in the 1630's, when visitors to the prosperous cities there were bewitched by the exotic and colourful blooms of the delicate bulbs. As speculation and excitement reached fever pitch, tulip bulbs became one of the most expensive commodities in the world - above spices or gold. The most sought after species were the black variety, at the time known as 'The Viceroy', and which today is commonly referred to as the 'Black Parrot'. Of course none of the flowers produced were pure black, but the trend of the time was 'the blacker the better', and more would be paid for the privilege of owning one.
Here is a particularly fine example of the species:

'Black Tulip Still Life', acrylic and watercolour by Jenny Matthews.

Now this black beauty was snapped up in a heartbeat and I can understand why, Indeed, I was somewhat tempted myself.....I was particularly taken by those 'inky spots'.
Fortunately, for those caught up in the Matthews/Tulip mania there is another damn fine example on display:

Tulips 'Palestrina and Barcelona', watercolour by Jenny Matthews.

Pretty in pink I'm sure you will agree. Better still, these glorious flowers are ever lasting, immortalised and, in modern day terms, a fraction of the price of gold with a life times guarantee of pleasure.
So the 'inky spots' were not meant for me. I leave you with a happy snap of some other 'inky spots'.

Hurry back soon for a closer and very special look at the work of Janet Melrose RSW.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A Pilgrimage

“The work in this show is about a journey. It is more than a journey between two places. It is an interior journey played out on paper and canvas. These paintings are about thoughts and ideas some of which I have had for many years. A pilgrimage and quest to find and connect with something bigger than self.
The characters in the tale come from a variety of sources. The figure in the red robe I saw during a church service. The dog and the horse belong to me and accompany me when I am out drawing. The fox began to appear in my work in 2009 when I remembered a poem “Thought of a Fox,” by Ted Hughes. Fox, like a thought is seen leading the way, or lagging behind not knowing which way to go.
The idea of pilgrimage seems to appeal to an instinctive movement of the human heart wrote Nicholas Shrady. My pilgrim meets other ways of thinking en route; wanders into churches and temples as I have done and sleeps under the stars, thinking of the words of St Francis of Assisi". Janet Melrose, May 2012.

'Sleeping Under The Stars', acrylic and mixed media on paper by Janet Melrose.

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination".  Don Williams, Jr (American Novelist and Poet, b. 1968)

'Following Signs', acrylic on canvas by Janet Melrose.

Speak soon....