Rebecca Appleby: Coplanar 3, Mixed Media on Canvas
Rebecca Appleby: Coplanar 3, Mixed Media on Canvas

&Gallery, Edinburgh: Winter Exhibition

Until 21st December

This is a truly inspirational selection of paintings, drawings, glass and ceramics by twenty six artists who have previously exhibited here. Two adjoining rooms in this Georgian Townhouse, with its corniced, high ceiling, comprise the elegant, spacious &gallery. This is just a brief browse around this marvellous exhibition to highlight a few artists. 

Anna Somerville graduated from ECA in 2000 winning the RSA Elizabeth Blackadder & John Houston Travel Award which took her on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Her captivating land and seascapes were described as akin to ‘ Turner at his most fluid and some of the more abstract American Expressionists’ by Colin Gleadall. Vibrant shades of purple, orange and turquoise create an almost textured tapestry effect in Neon Dusk. A less of an abstract approach in Winter Sunset, with the clarity of coral sky, wispy white clouds above, perhaps, snowy hills and an indigo blue sea: a real dramatic sense of being outside in the open air. 

Anna Somerville, Winter sunset
Anna Somerville, Winter sunset

 

Based at his Sea Loft studio in Kinghorn on the seashore of the Firth of the Forth, Michael Craik is a master of intricately crafted minimalist paintings on aluminium and wooden panels. His methodical, repetitive technique is a gradual application of acrylic paint, layer by layer to create a shining, shimmering sheen with soft, translucent glow, as seen in two works here, Veil 2018 (2) and Veil 2018 (3). Other work by Michael Craik is also on show at the City Art Centre in Beneath the Surface, featuring nine contemporary artists based in Scotland. (Until 1st March, 2020). 

Michael Craik, Veil 2018_3, acrylic on wooden panel
Michael Craik, Veil 2018_3, acrylic on wooden panel

 

Specialising in ceramics, sculpture and painting, Rebecca Appleby is an experimental artist following a theme to explore the juxtaposed contrast between modern structures and nature in our urban landscape. There is extraordinary energy and movement in Coplanar 3 (main image) with its criss-crossing, architectural blocks and grids with sweeping swirls of grey, black and orange. Also on display are her white round mounds of moulded sculptures, Morphology Fragments.

LRobson_group4
Lorraine Robson

 

Simply beautiful ceramics too by Lorraine Robson, from her Precious series of slipcast diamond polished white fired earthenware – as she says, ‘I enjoy the meditative nature of allowing the form to evolve with handwork and imagination, using the most primitive and natural materials available: the earth itself.’ The delicate white bowls and vase shaped vessels stand at a lopsided angle to decorative effect.    

Jo Hummel: Night Owl, acrylic and emulsion on watercolour paper and ply
Jo Hummel: Night Owl, acrylic and emulsion on watercolour paper and ply

 

Jo Hummel’s intricate collage paintings are composed of asymmetric shapes, distorted diagonal lines, triangles, rectangles and wedges, as in Neverland and Night Owl. The surface texture is made by a pared-down, distressed use of acrylic and flat matt with bold colour and contour.  

 

Jeffrey Cortland Jones: Seawaves (Dubfiles), enamel on acrylic panel
Jeffrey Cortland Jones: Seawaves (Dubfiles), enamel on acrylic panel

 

Jeffrey Cortland Jones studied Fine Art in Cincinnati and now lives on a small farm in Southwestern Ohio. His medium is enamel on acrylic panel to create subtle shades within simple geometric squares. Seawaves captures a blend of glossy grey, glistening green and watery waves with Rothko-esque style.  

Fiona Byrne Sutton
Fiona Byrne Sutton

 

Living and working on the Isle of Skye, Fiona Byrne-Sutton hand-crafts freestanding ceramic and crystocal plinth assemblages named The Angel’s Share. This is the term used for the small dram or two of whisky lost in evaporation in the cask barrel. The underlying narrative behind each piece is a clay-sculptured interpretation of Italian Renaissance paintings and frescoes, such as Golden Gate (after Giotto).

 

Elaine Speirs: Last Kiss, oil on board
Elaine Speirs: Last Kiss, oil on board

 

Inspired by Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film Romeo and Juliet (starring a 15 year-old Olivia Hussey),  Elaine Spiers created a series of figurative paintings, Beautiful Regrets,  on the theme of womanhood. With free-flowing brushstrokes, Last Kiss expresses an intimate scene of youthful innocence, the emotional vulnerability of first love. You might also wish to see Speirs’ painting Young Girl which is part of this year’s BP Portrait Award exhibition, the most prestigious portrait competition in the world. Now in its fortieth year, it’s on show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh from 7 December to 22 March, 2020.

3 Dundas Street,
Edinburgh EH3 6QG

Main image: Rebecca Appleby: Coplanar 3, Mixed Media on Canvas

With grateful thanks to Viv Devlin for this review.