Paisley Art Institute’s 134th Visits the Maclaurin

General view of the exhibition
General view of the exhibition

Title:
134th Paisley Art Institute Open Annual Exhibition

Times:
Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:00, Sun 12:00 - 17:00

From: 20 May 2023

To: 25 Jun 2023

Venue:
The Maclaurin Gallery
Rozelle Estate
Ayr
Ayrshire & Arran
KA7 4NQ

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The 134th Annual Open Exhibition of the Paisley Art Institute (PAI) is currently showing at the Maclaurin Art Gallery, Rozelle Estate, Ayr, running from 20th May to 25th June 2023. 

General view of the PAI 134th annual open exhibition 2
General view of the exhibition

There are 363 works listed in the show’s catalogue, including a range of paintings, prints, drawings, ceramics, mixed media and sculpture, by many established Scottish artists and from across the UK, including Simon Laurie, Joe Hargan, Robert Kelsey, Carol Dewart, Lindsey Lavender, Hazel Nagl, Alice McMurrough, Neil Macdonald and James S Davis, to name just a few.

The show is here at the invitation of the Maclaurin Trust (an invitation inspired by their late First Patron Helen M. Turner) since the PAI is currently without a permanent location for exhibitions. Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, the long-established home of the PAI’s shows, is currently undergoing major reconstruction, and will re-open with the name ‘Paisley Museum’ with a smaller area identified for pictures, which will not meet the PAI’s needs. The PAI continues to press for appropriate accommodation in its home town and hopefully there can be a suitable resolution in the near future.

In the meantime the Maclaurin’s team and the PAI have brought together a wonderful show in this latest edition of ‘Scotland’s longest running showcase for artists’ work’.

The exhibition is spread across all the exhibition rooms of the Maclaurin galleries. Out of necessity the works, by PAI members and also open entrants, are hung in a concentrated ‘gallery hang’. There are 21 prize-winners on show and the titles of awards are displayed alongside the works.

With such a large number of works in the show, it is only possible to highlight a sample of what is on offer. Here is just some of what I enjoyed seeing:

Michelle Ives, ‘Quayside’, acrylic
Michelle Ives, ‘Quayside’, acrylic

Quayside, just one of a number of works in the show by Michelle Ives, is an acrylic of small open boats, with wonderfully fresh colours, simple forms – a little bit impressionistic and leaves scope for interpretation in its shadows and reflections. 

Hugh McKay, ‘Dream Island’, acrylic
Hugh McKay, ‘Dream Island’, acrylic

Dream Island, an acrylic by Hugh McKay, has an abstract quality, and yet on longer examination one can see all kinds of terrain and bodies of water.

Clare Rennie, ‘Victor Hugo’s Table’, mixed media
Clare Rennie, ‘Victor Hugo’s Table’, mixed media

Clare Rennie’s mixed media work Victor Hugo’s Table is painted over a collaged background of wallpaper. A distinct atmosphere in the room is conveyed, with an interesting effect of daylighting.

Joe Broadley, ‘Villas in Mijas Andalucia’, mixed media
Joe Broadley, ‘Villas in Mijas Andalucia’, mixed media

In Joe Broadley’s mixed media painting Villas in Mijas Andalucia you can feel the hot sunshine reflecting from the white walls of the houses as you view this scene of southern Spain.

Owen Boyle, ‘For Go It’, oil on canvas
Owen Boyle, ‘For Go It’, oil on canvas

Owen Boyle’s oil on canvas, For Go It (from his series called Furgoit) has an interesting palette of cool blues, greens and browns. There is an element of mystery to the uninhabited scene, and whether it is dusk or dawn is open to interpretation, but the reflectiveness of still water is well-handled.

Michael Durning, ‘Grounded Paddle Steamer’, gouache
Michael Durning, ‘Grounded Paddle Steamer’, gouache

Painted in gouache, Michael Durning’s Grounded Paddle Steamer has a limited palette of blues, with interesting placing of the paddle steamer, positioned high in the composition, emphasising the grounding of the vessel.

Robert Richard, ‘A Thought for Giordano Bruno’, mixed media sculpture
Robert Richard, ‘A Thought for Giordano Bruno’, mixed media sculpture

Robert Richard’s thought-provoking mixed media sculpture A Thought for Giordano Bruno (an Italian philosopher of the 16th century) is a wall-hung sculpture mainly of turned and sculpted wood. An engraved plate states ‘Truth does not change because it is or is not believed by a majority of the people’.

Simon Manby, ’Taken Off’, bronze
Simon Manby, ’Taken Off’, bronze

Simon Manby has several sculpted bronzes in the show, of these I particularly liked the sense of forward movement in the figure titled Taken Off.

Christine Callum McInally, ‘Heading for the Slopes’, acrylic
Christine Callum McInally, ‘Heading for the Slopes’, acrylic

In Christine Callum McInally’s acrylic work Heading for the Slopes I enjoyed the indoors and outdoors aspect of the scene and the small figure striding out with skis over the shoulder.

Tricia Irving, ‘Cellardyke Washing Lines’, mixed media
Tricia Irving, ‘Cellardyke Washing Lines’, mixed media

Tricia Irving’s mixed media Cellardyke Washing Lines is an East Neuk harbourside scene. The washing lines are an unusual and distinctive feature of that quayside, and there is lovely warm colour conveyed in the stone roadside wall.

Denise Findlay, ‘Haystack Impressions’, oil on panel
Denise Findlay, ‘Haystack Impressions’, oil on panel

Denise Findlay’s oil on panel, Haystack Impressions includes a painting within the painting, of Claude Monet’s haystacks, very skilfully conveyed and very recognisably from Monet’s celebrated ‘Meules’ series. Monet’s work is depicted in a small part of a room interior, on a wall above a precisely painted ornate single yellow chair.

Karl Stern, ’On the Beach, Saltburn’, shellac, pigments, ink on board
Karl Stern, ’On the Beach, Saltburn’, shellac, pigments, ink on board

Karl Stern’s work, On the Beach, Saltburn has a particularly dramatic cloudy sky. The artist uses an unusual technique to produce a distinctive result; on the artist’s website he describes drawing with a sharp blade and cutting into card and then painting the worked surface using shellac and pigments. The work is then cleaned up but ink deposits are left in the work adding line and some added tone to the final image.

Admission to the exhibition is free and all works are for sale, with prices ranging from around £100 to £25,000, with many in the sub-£500 range. There is lots of excellent and varied work to see, it’s the kind of show where, after a break, you will see works you didn’t see first time round. 

For a refreshment break the adjacent Rozelle House tearoom should be part of your itinerary, their home baking is particularly good! And in Rozelle House itself, the current exhibition is The Love of Print – Glasgow Print Studio at 50, presenting a new opportunity to see the landmark show recently held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow – in fact the show is now shared between Rozelle House and The McKechnie Institute at Girvan.

Web links:

Paisley Art Institute https://paisleyartinstitute.org/134th-opening-and-prize-list/

The Maclaurin Art Gallery https://www.themaclaurin.org.uk/maclaurin-exhibitions

With thanks from Artmag.co.uk to Gordon Reid for this review.

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