Gallery Round up
(An unedited version of what appeared in The Herald Arts section on Sat March 26)
|Marysia in C&A Pyjamas by David Donaldson|
DAVID A. DONALDSON RSA RP RGI LLD: CELEBRATION OF A PAINTER
Maclaurin Galleries, Rozelle Estate, Monument Road, Ayr
April 3-May 8
This exhibition doesn’t open for another week but it is worth making a note of in your diary as it is one of the must-sees of the year for anyone interested in the recent history of Scottish painting.
David Abercrombie Donaldson was born in Lanarkshire in 1916. With no formal qualifications, he entered Glasgow School of Art at the age of just 15 and stayed there until his retirement in 1981 at the age of 65.
Donaldson progressed from student to part-time tutor, eventually becoming Head of Drawing and Painting in 1967 and during his time there, he was one of a group of practioners and tutors whose influence is still being felt today.
Donaldson had a distinguished career, the highlight of which was being appointed the Painter and Limner to Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland in 1977.
Despite this royal approbation, he had little truck with examinations and believed art should be taught by practising artists. Donaldson walked the walk as well as talked the talk. One of Scotland’s busiest portrait painters, he revelled in the sheer joy of paint, as this celebration of his career in Ayr reveals.
He once observed, ‘I paint to find myself’, and his portrait commissions, many of which will feature here, emphasise this point. But there was so much more to this artist than portraits and figurative paintings, as this exhibition also will also show.
For this exhibition, the paintings are grouped in five themes in four galleries; Still Life (Gallery One), Allegorical and Landscape (Galleries Two and Three), Portraiture, France (Gallery Four). A BBC film showing Donaldson at work is also being shown each day in Gallery One.
RSA NEW CONTEMPORARIES 2010
All RSA Galleries
The Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, Edinburgh
0131 624 6671
Until April 13 (Admission £2/£1 concession)
For the third year in a row, the RSA building on the Mound in Edinburgh acts as a showcase to display the best of last year’s degree shows. This exhibition features the work of around 60 emerging artists and has been curated by Sandy Moffat RSA (art) and Dick Cannon RSA (architecture), with assistance from members of the Royal Scottish Academy and representatives from the five main colleges of art and six schools of architecture in Scotland
For the chosen graduates, it represents an opportunity to launch their career at one of the country’s most prestigious galleries. Included in this wide-reaching exhibition is new work in the areas of painting, sculpture, film making, photography, printmaking, architecture and installation.
Most of the works are for sale and offers an opportunity to invest in Scotland’s up and coming talents at an early stage in their career. The RSA is part of the Creative Scotland-backed Own Art scheme too, buyers can spread the cost of an artwork over ten interest free monthly payments.
In addition to the actual exhibition, the RSA has awarded over £11,000 worth of monetary prizes, as well as residency, studio and purchase prizes to 23 artists. The premier prize, of £2000 from the Sir William Gillies Bequest goes this year to Gray’s School of Art graduate, Stephen Thorpe while Lyndsey Redford of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (DJCA) received the RSA Painting Prize, Francesca Miller of Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), the RSA Sculpture Prize, Will Guthrie, (ECA) the RSA Architecture Prize and Lisa Ure (DCJA), the RSA Printmaking Prize.
Susan Gauld of Gray’s won the prestigious Carnegie Travelling Scholarship, which has launched many artists’ careers in the past.
23 Parnie Street, Glasgow
0141 552 6325
Until April 22
This is the first exhibition of paintings in Scotland by the acclaimed contemporary British painter, Chris Gollon who first came to the attention of the art world as a finalist in The Spectator Prize in 1989.
The self-taught artist, who has married into a Scottish family and is a regular visitor to Glasgow, has received critical acclaim for much of his work over the last two decades. HIs highest profile work to date has been a major commission from the Church of England to paint Fourteen Stations of the Cross for a grade-one listed church in East London designed in 1826 by Sir John Soane (architect of the Bank of England). This work, which was originally commissioned in 2000, was finally unveiled to the public in 2009.
Last year, art historian Tamsin Pickeral’s book, Chris Gollon: Humanity in Art was published. Featuring 180 illustrations of his paintings, it tells the story of Gollon’s life and work until 2010. It includes chapters on the Stations of the Cross work and the recent Being Human series of 16 paintings produced during a 10 week period as the first artist in residence at the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University. Gollon was also the subject of an Imagine documentary on BBC1 last year, fronted by Alan Yentob. One of his paintings, Birth, will be used as an integral part of the storyline in a forthcoming Twilight saga movie, Breaking Dawn, released later this year.
Merchant City gallery, Gallery 23, has teamed up with Gollon’s London gallery, IAP Fine Art to produce this exhibition featuring a range of his darkly powerful works, from large figurative paintings to still lifes and small heads.
Unsettling, tactile and bursting with humanity, these are paintings which draw you in and stay in your mind for the duration, like a vivid dream.