29 November to 23 December, Mon-Fri 10am-6pm. Sat 10am-4pm
Edinburgh’s Open Eye Gallery has launched its winter exhibitions and you can be assured of a warm welcome as you step inside with a sparkling Christmas tree in the hallway.
Shown every December for 25 years, On a Small Scale is a very popular and much-anticipated showcase of charming, miniature and affordable ‘postcards’: here are over 400 original, unframed works in various media, each measuring 15 x 21 cm, by established Open Eye artists as well as new talent. There is a diverse range of artistic genre and media: wood engravings, oil, acrylic watercolour, with landscapes, animals, birds, portraits, 3-D and abstract artworks.
Take time to browse around this stunning collection such as Thomas Wilson’s meticulous drawing of red spicy chillies, and two green apples in photographic detail by David Evans.
David Forster is renowned for his intricate landscapes with every leaf and blade of grass depicted with intimate precision, Hetty Haxworth presents abstract landscapes composed of strong geometric line and shape, while Paul Furneaux specialises in Japanese watercolour, woodblock printing – Mokuhanga.
A delightful portrait of a young girl, Cleo by Alice McMurrough, is all about sweet, wide eyed innocence, and nature lover Leo du Feu has captured an evocative winter scene of hares playing in the snow.
With prices from £100, whether for a unique Christmas present or to add to your own collection, this is an exhibition every art lover should not miss!
In contrast, On a Grand Scale celebrates four of our finest modern Scottish artists. Here are richly luminous land and seascapes by Barbara Rae, composed with a bold patchwork pattern and colour palette to capture a moody, majestic sense of place. Works by Leon Morrocco also feature.
As one of the ‘New Glasgow Boys’, Steven Campbell specialised in figurative narrative, in which his characters appear to be lost and fearful in a fairytale, fantasy world. The Branch Secretaries is a humorous play on words in a campfire woodland scene.
Taking centre-stage are several modern masterpieces by John Bellany, who created his own aesthetic combining everyday scenes of fisherfolk with themes of Calvinism and Celtic mythology. ‘His work has that strange combination of visceral realism and the quality of dreams .. never sentimental but always emotive’. –Damien Hirst
There is such surreal symbolism in his utterly unique and iconic portraits of women viewed as muse, temptress and femininity. Queen of the Night portrays a red-haired lady, her head tilted with a quizzical expression. Against a backdrop of the Bass Rock and wild splash of sea, Failty (meaning loyalty, devotion), a young girl poses proudly beside a seabird, the same serious, sombre look in their piercing blue eyes.
A vivid still life, Amaryllis at a window with a glimpse of fishing boats in the harbour under the golden glow of sunset. Mesmerising, haunting images depicting the journey through love and life with passionate, poetic vision.
‘He painted what was in his mind’s eye, hopes and lusts .. the threatening sea, harbours, flowers, sunset mountains, a rainbow. His whole art is a life-song’ –Julian Spalding
The Power of Print includes creatively crafted artwork from Elizabeth Frink, Ben Nicolson and Lucian Freud. Two linocuts catch the eye – The Race by Colin Wyatt (main image) is like a vintage poster for winter ski holidays, and a fashionable 1950s scene in Sybil Andrews‘ Coffee Bar, with cool Cubist style.
Amongst a selection of new acquisitions are panoramic views of Sunrise, Islay and Evening Glow, high above the River Dee by Chris Bushe with his distinctive use of thickly-applied paint, vibrant colours and texture.
And Christmas decorations would not be complete without a cheeky, cheery, chirpy wee robin as seen in a series by Brent Miller to reflect our winter wonderland.
34 Abercromby Place,
Edinburgh EH3 6QE
Image: Cyril Power- Runners, linocut
With grateful thanks to Viv Devlin for this review.