|Where Are We Going To by Annette Edgar |
(Oil on linen 26X26cm)
Annette Edgar: Life Times
45 Broughton Street, Edinburgh
Until June 3
I WROTE THIS AS A FOREWORD TO THE CATALOGUE WHICH ACCOMPANIES ANNETTE EDGAR'S NEW EXHIBITION
IN Annette Edgar’s house in Glasgow, there is a huge (and hugely impressive) painting of a figure; a runner.
This runner pulses with energy, bursting out of the canvas like an Olympic athlete escaping from a starting block.
The work dates back to the early 1990s, when Annette – a tiny figure who admits that the very thought of jogging is an anathema to her – was exploring the power of the human spirit in a series of paintings of runners.
Although Annette has an innate feeling for the figure, she moved away from them for several years. Instead, she used colour (and occasionally monochrome) to translate her unique painterly version of the world around her onto the four sides of a canvas.
Her paintings in this interim figure-free period reveal a tightly composed dreamscape which often breaks with the convention of what should and shouldn’t work. She seemed to solve the problem – posed by one of her painting heroes, Picasso – of how a grown-up artist retains the natural artistic flair of a child.
I am lucky enough to own a couple of Annette’s paintings. They have titles which shouldn’t work. Yet work they do. There’s Pink Tree River and Winter Meadow.
Both throb with energy and colour, yet at the same time, I find myself losing myself in them. It’s almost as though the paintings are sheltering me.
If my house was on fire, after I’d made sure that my children were safe, I’d probably try to rescue these paintings.
Annette uses elements on collage in her artworks, which contain layers of meaning and concealed treasures. Annette is a wordsmith as well as a fine artist and if you seek, you will find nuggets of poetry in among the paint.
Recently, the figure has crept back into her work.
In contrast to the restless, energetic figures which once peopled her paintings, the new figures are quieter and more contemplative.
Couples coory in, or laze in the sun; conscious of one another, yet comfortable in each other’s company. There are lone figures too but they have a casual sense of repose. Annette is a master of suggesting a feeling, not to mention a sense of place, with a stroke of vivid colour.
All her figures nestle in a sea of saturated colour. It is the Edgar trademark. One of the many aspects of her work which I love is the fact that if you isolate sections of her paintings, it looks abstract. No mean feat – yet she makes it look effortless.
Annette Edgar is one of these artists who should be better known than she is in her native land. Her work packs a punch and holds your hand at the same time.
Therein lies its strength.