Kyle McGhee Brings Us Up to Date at Cass Art Glasgow

'Fisher Rd - Ferry Rd, Renfrew, Composition A', acrylic, oil, filler, pencil, mdf, timber, plywood
'Fisher Rd - Ferry Rd, Renfrew, Composition A', acrylic, oil, filler, pencil, mdf, timber, plywood

Waiting To Be Found

During shop hours

From: 7 Apr 2023

To: 16 Apr 2023

The Art Space at Cass Art
63-67 Queen Street
Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
G1 3EN

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“Everything present here has a story, the scenes are all around us, just waiting to be found.”

Kyle McGhee has found his subjects for these new works in and around his home town of Renfrew, just to the west of Glasgow. In this solo exhibition there is work from the last few months – drawings, sculptures and paintings.

Kyle studied at Glasgow School of Art, graduating in Painting and Printmaking in 2019 and his work was selected for the prestigious RSA New Contemporaries exhibition in 2020.

General view of exhibition, Cass Art Space
General view of exhibition, Cass Art Space

Straight away on entering the gallery, the visual impact of the compositions of wall mounted sculptures around all sides of the room is significant.

In these sculptures the materials in the main are plywood, mdf, and timber battens, and there are cutting mats, or rather the painted representation of cutting mats – gridded up, painted in dark blue and dark green. Nicely contrasting is the natural finish of the plywood elements of these constructions.

There are small paintings incorporated into these assemblies and also arranged around their edges. These are abstract in appearance but in fact are ‘fragments’ of landscapes, with muted colours, reminiscent of colours in landscape paintings and those in nature: hints of soil, vegetation, foliage, rock, skies, and water.

This was a first visit for Artmag to Cass Art’s Art Space at their Glasgow flagship store. It is a generously proportioned white-walled space, well suited for the display of Kyle’s larger scale works.

'Landscape Fragment Assemblages on Cutting Mats', acrylic, oil, filler, pencil, timber, mdf
‘Landscape Fragment Assemblages on Cutting Mats’, acrylic, oil, filler, pencil, timber, mdf

There are also separate small painted works here, named as ‘Untitled Landscape Fragments’, painted in acrylics and oils and mounted on ‘cutting mat’ backgrounds. It is easy to imagine these small pieces being details from a larger landscape painting.

The naturalistic paintings contrast strongly with the architectural geometry of the background constructions. There are grids and angles and layers of construction and layering of elements. It is interesting to view these constructions from different angles, not just head on.

'Yoker Ship Yard, No.2 Graving Dock Building, Yoker, Composition 4', acrylic, oil, filler, pencil, mdf, timber, plywood
‘Yoker Ship Yard, No.2 Graving Dock Building, Yoker, Composition 4’, acrylic, oil, filler, pencil, mdf, timber, plywood

Kyle explains that the plan view ‘diagrams’ of the sculptures are originated from architectural layouts and aerial surveys of locations in Renfrew (and one across the Clyde in Yoker) which the artist has researched in the archives of the National Library of Scotland. These buildings and sites are no longer there in this form, but are of the relatively recent past and layered with later footprints of the buildings – this ‘industrial archaeology’ has provided his inspiration.

The surface qualities of the painted landscape elements placed within the architectural forms are distinctive and the artist explained that his techniques have been inspired by those of the nineteenth-century German artist Adolph Menzel (1815-1905) whose work he saw on visiting Berlin.

The artist hopes to re-introduce metalworking into his sculptural constructions in the near future – previous examples of this were in his GSA Degree show and work shown at RSA New Contemporaries.

'THE GUZLER, Meadowside St Lane, Renfrew', graphite on paper
‘THE GUZLER, Meadowside St Lane, Renfrew’, graphite on paper

Flanking the three-dimensional works there are pencil drawings on show too, of unexpected tucked-away corners of urban environments, mostly in Renfrew – ‘urban mundanity’. The artist is interested in the decay and the graffiti tagging of these locations, and has recorded surface and texture skilfully in fine pencil detail.

All the works in the exhibition are for sale, as are prints of Kyle’s pencil drawings.

I enjoyed both his sculptures and drawings very much. They will certainly appeal greatly to people with an interest in architecture and the built environment, but also to a wider audience. The show has a short run, so be sure to get along to see it this week or weekend!

Admission is free. More information can be found on Kyle’s website.

With thanks to Gordon Reid for this review.


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