Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Grant Nose, You Know

Hello everyone

As we are moving into the last week of the Audrey Grant solo exhibition, I thought we'd take a closer look at specific parts of her figures....mainly the nose!

There have been quite a few comments that Audrey 'does a good nose', and indeed she does. The one below is my favourite nose in the show:

'Man with Blue Background', oil on canvas, detail.

Now, it's not just the noses that 'stand out', and what also really excites me about Audrey's paintings is her superior handling of paint. For the other paint nerds out, there here's a real treat:

'Man with Blue Background', oil on canvas, detail II.

Cor, I'm not sure it gets much better than that! Impressive and confident sculpting with thick, thick oil paint. On closer inspection these seemingly random and abstract marks do not appear coherent, but step back a little from the painting and they sit together beautifully in unison. Looking closely at this painting, I'm not even 100% sure what Audrey is using here. A brush? The end of a brush? A palette knife? Fingers? Or perhaps a combination of all four. I will enjoy the time I have left with this painting to look on in wonder.
Here's another cracking example of this masterful command of paint:

'Man II', oil on canvas, detail.

Looking at Audrey's noses I am reminded of the classic Rembrandt nose which, it is well documented, was often half a finger thick and his portraits could be lifted from the ground by the nose.

I can't help thinking that if Rembrandt were around to see this exhibition, he'd give a nod of approval to the Audrey Grant nose.

'Man IV', oil on canvas, detail.

Please do come in for a nosy at the noses and to see what is quite simply a sensational exhibition.

Speak soon.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Raw Emotion

Hello everyone,

Something special is going on at UG this month, and if you haven't been in to see it, you are missing out.

We first exhibited work by Audrey Grant back in 2011 along with artist Martyn McKenzie in the hugely successful Being Human exhibition.  Since then, we have been waiting for this, her first major solo exhibition, and we have not been disappointed - this is an exhibition of extraordinary quality.
Have a look at this:

'Woman Holding her Right Arm', oil on canvas, by Audrey Grant.

And this:

'Man with Blue Background', oil on canvas, by Audrey Grant.

These are powerful and beautifully created paintings that have a strong impact on the viewer. Some see Audrey Grant’s paintings austere and somewhat sinister, yet there is sensitivity to the work that leaves her audience deeply moved by the viewing experience. This new body of work has been in the making for some 18 months and continues Audrey's exploration of the human figure and the painted surface. Her figures are mainly solitary and isolated, with her interest being in the presence they evoke in an unspecified space.  These figures often appear ill at ease, and this physical and emotional awkwardness forces us into a powerful sense of compassion.  No names, no possessions and generally alone in the world, they can appear as ‘lost souls’ who need our care and attention.  When viewing Audrey Grant’s paintings, there is an uncomfortable feeling that you know who these strange figures are, or can even see yourself reflected in them.  How interesting, then, that she claims that she ‘doesn’t know who they are’ – they are simply the result of her craft as an artist.

Audrey's paintings take months to develop: she is a 'physical' painter, who fights and nurtures her paintings every step of the way, and that can be an exhausting experience where often the hand to eye coordination can't keep up with the brain.  The result is fascinating – one can feel that intensity and passion in the work.  

But you shouldn't take my word for all this, you should have a look yourself.  Since the Being Human exhibition, Audrey has won the David Gilchrist Memorial Award at the RGI and, just three weeks ago, the Ann Redpath Award at the VAS exhibition currently on at the RSA here in Edinburgh.  So it is clear that it's not just the opinion of Union Gallery that Audrey Grant is one of the finest painters working in Scotland today, and I know you will agree if you come in before the end of the month.

Speak soon.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Openings, Hangings & Shenanigans

Hello everyone

So we have almost recovered from the excitement of Audrey Grant's exhibition opening.
What a great night!

I thought I'd share a few snaps of the hanging, opening and the exhibition generally.
Of course, the best way to experience Audrey Grant's paintings properly is to see them for real so please come in to see for yourself.

Here's a good place to start:

What goes on behind closed doors:

Rob handling administration during the hanging.

My good self 'faffing'.
Does my bum look big in this?!?

One frantic opening!

One happy UG team!
Photo shows Leopold (our wonderful intern from Edinburgh University), artist Martyn McKenzie who exhibited with Audrey last year, Audrey Grant herself and Robert Dawkins.

Leaving you with this:

An outbreak of measels has occured at UG.
Well done Audrey Grant!

Speak soon.