Contemporary Art Fair’s Big Reveal at the SEC Glasgow

Reveal, Glasgow's Contemporary Art Fair: entrance
Reveal, Glasgow's Contemporary Art Fair: entrance


(20 - 21 May) 10:00 - 17:00

From: 19 May 2023

To: 21 May 2023

Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
G3 8YW

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There has been a building excitement surrounding Reveal – a new name, a new venue, and it’s still a great show! Reveal, Glasgow’s contemporary art fair, is finally underway at the SEC, from 19th to 21st May.

The previously-titled Glasgow Contemporary Art Fair started life in very visible ‘big white tents’ in George Square, before moving to atmospheric but somewhat cramped surroundings in the Old Fruitmarket and then most recently in 2022 the tents were back, after a two-year hiatus, in the grounds of Kelvingrove Art Gallery. From the exhibitors’ perspective I’m sure the SEC offers enhanced facilities over previous locations, and the organisers have worked hard on promoting this year’s event to overcome the potential problem of a less central, less visible venue, so hopefully the viewing audience will take to Reveal in its new home.

Event organiser Gerry Muldoon of GM Events is upbeat about the show’s new name and new location: ‘Kelvingrove was a great venue but there was no room to expand and it was just too busy!’

Reveal has brought together an impressive complement of around 40 galleries and artist exhibitors in its new location – galleries, studios and emerging and established artists, from Scotland, the wider UK and overseas. The show features painters, printmakers, sculptors, photographers, designers, mixed media and glass artists, some of whom have been making work particularly for this event, so it’s a chance to be inspired by some brand new artworks.

The Headline Sponsor of the show is The Alchemy Experiment, Glasgow, and Artmag caught up with their co-founder Pierce Houlihan about the gallery’s involvement in Reveal. The Alchemy Experiment believes passionately in supporting both emerging and established artists and shares Reveal’s ethos of improving the accessibility of art to everyone. Pierce is hopeful that the show will introduce The Alchemy Experiment to a new audience and is excited to have the opportunity to speak to other galleries at the show.

The Friday evening preview provided the first opportunity for Artmag to see work, converse with artists and gallerists and celebrate this varied and exciting show of accessible art. Overall, we must say there is a lot to see, and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming so please allow plenty of time for a visit and a browse. Personally, I was very tempted by several stands and did make a modest purchase – there is definitely something to appeal to all tastes and all budgets (from £40 to more than £10,000), for the experienced collector or a curious beginner. 

There is such quality and variety on show here that it’s impossible to describe all of it, so here are just some of my personal favourites:

Ballater Gallery: David Schofield, ‘The Night Train', oil
Ballater Gallery: David Schofield, ‘The Night Train’, oil

The Ballater Gallery makes a welcome return to Glasgow. Run by David Reid and working with over 50 artists, Ballater is showing still life works by Glasgow-born Colin Fraser as well as David Schofield’s impressive new painted work The Night Train.

Clifton Fine Art: Tom White,-'River Clyde Early Morning', oil
Clifton Fine Art: Tom White,-‘River Clyde Early Morning’, oil

Clifton Fine Art is a Bristol gallery, representing over 50 contemporary artists. When asked what makes such a long journey worthwhile, Clifton’s Tom White replied that they travel all over the country to art fairs, including Edinburgh and Aberdeen – so Glasgow doesn’t seem that far! This reviewer particularly enjoyed Tom White’s own paintings, including streetscapes and buildings of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A Heart of Glass, Allister Malcolm, art glass
A Heart of Glass, Allister Malcolm, art glass

A Heart of Glass is an online gallery representing contemporary glass artists from all over the UK, Czech Republic and USA, and their display is an opportunity for the public to see beautiful contemporary art glass up close, at a time when art glass education is under particular threat in Scotland. Jo Mullins of the gallery confirmed that sadly, the challenge is the same across all of the UK.

Axolotl: Paul Fieldsend, printmaking and photography
Axolotl: Paul Fieldsend, printmaking and photography

AXOLOTL is showing Printmaking and Photography by Sarah Wilson and Paul Fieldsend, both of Edinburgh Printmakers, working in a wide range of media but including Toboyo prints – an innovative new printmaking process, producing results similar to the 19th-century process of photogravure. Paul’s latest works are photographs of amaryllis flowers grown at home, creating abstracted images by deliberate movement of the camera.

Martha Ellis, hand-cut and laser-cut wall art
Martha Ellis, hand-cut and laser-cut wall art

Martha Ellis is inspired by landscapes, nature and architecture. All her work develops from freehand drawing into large scale 3D wood or metalwork, striking hand-cut or laser-cut decorative wall art and free-standing sculptures.

The Alchemy Experiment stand
The Alchemy Experiment stand
The Alchemy Experiment,-Daniel Ibbotson, mixed media
The Alchemy Experiment: Daniel Ibbotson, mixed media

Daniel Ibbotson is a contemporary mixed-media artist based in Carlisle, and just one of the artists being showcased by The Alchemy Experiment. He creates ‘stratified, highly textural, contemporary abstract artworks by fusing discarded and recycled materials with a variety of found objects and other mixed media’. The Alchemy Experiment stand also features the narrative paintings of Brigitte Bregagna, works by landscape and still life painter Fiona Longley, the humorous art of Katie Forbes, and significant pieces from well-established Glasgow artist Gerard M Burns.

Peacock Visual Arts: prints
Peacock Visual Arts: prints

Aberdeen’s printmaking studio Peacock Visual Arts has brought works produced at the studio, notably by John Byrne, Ralph Steadman and Frances Walker, still making work with Peacock in her 90s.

Promotion Gallery: Vladislav Khristenko, 'Duke of Wellington', etching
Promotion Gallery: Vladislav Khristenko, ‘Duke of Wellington’, etching

Special Guest Exhibitor, courtesy of GM Events Ltd, is the Ukraine Promotion Gallery, showcasing artworks by Ukrainian artists, presented by Art Dealer Mykola Zinchenko, now living in Aberdeen. Promotion Gallery aims to assist Ukrainian artists in being able to have their work shown and sold internationally and Mykola is particularly keen to find new opportunities for them in the UK. There is an emphasis on affordable art, and money from sales will go to Ukrainian artists in need of income.

Glasgow School of Art Collective stand
Glasgow School of Art Collective stand

The Glasgow School of Art Collective is an interesting grouping of five artists: Tony Griffin, Peter J. Scott, Andrew Taylor and David Gilliver, plus guest artist Bryan Angus, a lino printmaker from Banffshire.

GSA Collective: David Gilliver, dioramas
GSA Collective: David Gilliver, dioramas

A previous participant in the show and much-highlighted in the pre-publicity, David Gilliver Photography’s distinctive macro photography works are again proving highly appealing, with the Reveal audience much enjoying the ingenuity of the scenes he creates using unexpected everyday items.

The show runs Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May from 10am to 5pm. Tickets are available at the door, or from Ticketmaster (£6.85 plus handling fee). Commendably, children go free and there are concessions for students and over-65s.

Purchased works can be taken away on the day, with a complimentary wrapping service, or shipping can be organised if required.

On both Saturday and Sunday there will be complimentary art classes at 11am and 3pm, lasting an hour, led by Peter J Scott (advance booking required). Suitable for all ages, the aim is to be inspired by the show and have some fun creating your own artwork.

Artmag would like to thank Jill Brown, Gerry Muldoon, Pierce Houlihan and the Reveal exhibitors for their assistance.

With thanks to Gordon Reid for attending Reveal 2023, and for compiling this review.

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