Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh
Exhibition running until March 4
Jackie Anderson: Shimmering, filmic portraits and landscapes
The Open Eye gallery offers the visitor a regularly changing, well curated range of art and crafts, featuring two or three exhibitions throughout its spacious rooms.
Currently on show is the extraordinary, refined work of Jackie Anderson, who followed a degree in Sociology at Aberdeen with studying for an MFA from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee. One of her many prestigious awards was the Alastair Salvesen Travel Scholarship which led to a trip to the Caribbean, observing the colourful life of islanders on Trinidad and Tobago.
Her work continues to specialise in figurative studies within a sense of place. Instead of inviting someone to sit for her in a studio, she takes photographs of pedestrians out and about in a city street, passers-by looking in a shop window and unwitting travellers at a bus stop and on public transport.
A series of paintings combine the art of portraiture within the landscape. In paintings such as Aberdeen Line and West Coast Mainline, Anderson captures a fleeting glimpse of a stranger on a train, snapshots of a facial expression or profile reflected on the window. Like a superimposed image, we see the blurring streak of trees and fields outside to illustrate movement and a brief moment in time.
“The speed is so easy, and the train disturbs so little the scenes through which it takes us, that our heart becomes full of the placidity and stillness of the country.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Using oil on cotton on board, the use of transparent washes of paint creates a delicately sheer and shimmering misty light. This minimal technique, toning down, distilling the detail, is so intimate and realistic, its soft filmic quality brings the unknown traveller to life.
Other movie-inspired paintings are entitled M8. The viewer becomes the driver (or front seat passenger) on a car journey, with translucent droplets of rain splashing on the windscreen through which there’s a hazy view of grey and murky weather. Jackie Anderson is certainly an astute observer of Scotland’s industrial landscape with its towering electricity pylons and gasometers, the scenic view along motorways and train track.
Also on view at the Open Eye are the Etchings and Wood Engravings of Frederick Carter (1883-1967), which depict his interest in theatre, music and mythology. In the back room there’s a mixed show of gallery artists well worth seeing, such as the beautifully atmospheric “Melting Snow, February” by Christine Woodside and “Lady with Lobster” by John Bellany. Also a fine selection of gold plated art deco brass jewellery by Lily Read. The Print Room has works by Barbara Rae, Paul Furneaux and Eduardo Paolozzi.