Open Eye Gallery: Tom Mabon, Anna King and Alfons Bytautas 2018

The exhibition at Edinburgh’s Open Eye Gallery was an obvious success from the very beginning. The space is open and effortlessly flowing while being perfectly arranged and lit up to fully complement the displayed artworks. Five artists were presented at the opening.

Alfons Bytautas’s work is a conceptual and quite exciting visual feast. The artist seems to be trying to persuade the viewer to consider the various notions and implications of our perceived reality. Alfons shares that his method stems from subconscious movement, whereby the piece is created as an episode of a continual stream of thought he is having. The artist’s style resembles a contemporary expressionist allusion to Egon Schiele’s tortured, sensual world. The twisted expressions in works like “Sequel”, “Sure Thing”, and “Encounter II” remind the viewer of an early Jean-Michel Basquiat. Bytautas is a prolific artist, exciting in a middle ground between figuration and abstraction.

Tom Mabon’s Time and Place collection is both soothing and strangely ghost-like. There is a premeditated sense of weightlessness in his work, which one can easily compare to the deprived of temporal and special boundaries spaces of dreams. Mabon’s exhibited works cover the spectrum between photorealistic stillness and a sense of slight pointillist vibration, apparent in his “The path that led to the Island” (which is reminiscent of G. Seurat’s “Le Bec du Hoc”). The artist’s characteristic clean lines, arising from his prolific ability to display tone and color, create pieces that are impressive in their oppositions and contrast. The reoccurring symbol of the crow in Mabon’s works fragments the evocative stillness of the Black Isle settings, giving them silent depth and profoundness.

Anna King’s work in her collection Margins initially captures the viewer with its classically trained clean and precise technique. These qualities of her work are especially apparent in “Edge of Clearfell II”, which has a delicacy of form, which resembles an early landscape by Lili Elbe (“The poplars along Hobro Fiord”). King’s “Monotype” pieces are glowing with their immersive and overpowering energy. Similarly, the three “Iceland Study” pieces, which Anna created after returning from a month-long trip in Iceland, appear both intimate and larger than life simultaneously, underlined by their naturally pure and cold color schemes.

The bronze sculpture work of Jeremy James and Tina MacLeod “The Lorg Series” are also available for viewing in the gallery.