The Scottish Gallery is certainly an open and flowing space, which allows for the most impressive and flattering presentation of the artists’ work. The turnout at the opening established the event as a success from the very beginning, whereby the visitors would feel at ease as they observe the works of various different artists.
Calum McClure’s work delves into the profound and fluid exploration of natural and man-made surroundings, presented to the viewer in the form of elegantly abstract monotypes and silently contained oil paintings. The subjects of McClure’s work are extremely tangible, contributing to the reoccurring evocative feel of the pieces, which is in turn brought about by the artist’s ability to translate emotion onto the canvas. McClure’s style is flexible, ranging from playful abstraction to melancholic, picturesque expression. One example of his intriguing abstract work is the piece “Hothouse Blue, Kew Gardens”, whereby the linear composition is built upon firm foundations of deep blues, underlines by warm yellows and hints of red. There are two distinct aspects of the artist’s view which remain consistent throughout the In These Places collection, namely the complimentary use of colors and the depicted relationship between nature and public spaces. The dominant cool color palette, striking in its Prussian blue hues, is being reinforced by the Cadmium yellow highlights, which create a certain depth and vibrancy in the paintings and monotypes. On another point, the harmonious connection between artificial constructions and natural surroundings can be observed in the piece “The Barbican Conservatory”, whereby the presence of nature is established firmly in the foreground, as the eye wanders off, lost in the intricacy of the work, to discover the subtle, non-intrusive, and apparently symbiotic existence of a public space, that is: the conservatory, in the background. Calum states that painting is a process that came very naturally to him ever since he was a child (being the grandson of the well-known Scottish artist David McClure), while presently he believes strongly in the development and growth of his style, as opposed to repetition and variations on similar subject matters.
The display Place Makers, composed of pieces by Ed Kluz and Vicki Ambery-Smith, showcases the idea that united the artists in their expression and understanding of their works. The focus of Kluz and Smith’s pieces are abandoned buildings around Scotland that perhaps the artists decided would deserve to be resurrected in an unconventional way. The collection comprises of paintings, scraper boards, carefully constructed collages, and miniature precious metals constructions.
The collection Ensemble by Edmond Byrne is an elaborate display of delicate and seemingly fragile vessels. The natural appeal of Byrne’s work arises from both the vessels’ form and color. There is a liquid quality to the artist’s work, provoking the viewer to lean in and have a closer look. The assembling process of “off-cut” glass pieces into transforming novelties is certainly an exciting concept.