Friday, 12 December 2008

Review ~ The Galloway News

Here's the review, published in The Galloway News yesterday, of our new exhibition, 'Impressions of Galloway Past and Present'.

Galloway in all its glory is being celebrated in a new exhibition which started this week at the McGill Duncan Gallery in Castle Douglas. As is tradition at the gallery in December, the show includes Galloway and Scottish paintings from the 19th Century onwards. This year there is a vibrant new dimension to the gallery theme, as contemporary artists have also been asked to depict their own responses to Galloway.

‘Although none of the other artists knew what the other was creating, when we started to hang the exhibition it all went together beautifully. We especially noticed the glorious Galloway colours: heathery purples, gentle greens and soft light. The exhibition has a definite colour harmony’ said ZoĆ« Blamire, one of the Gallery owners.

The brief given to artists was a broad one; as long as their work depicted Galloway it could be landscape, people, animals or places. Not surprisingly the Galloway Landscape is a source of great inspiration but the wild birds and other animals also feature highly.

SUSAN DOBSON 'Cairn Holy I' Etching £220

Some artists who don’t live in the area went to great lengths to come and work in Galloway including Susan Dobson who slept in a camper van at Cairn Holy, near Gatehouse, so that she could sketch in preparation for making an etching of the iconic Galloway Standing Stones. Kitty Watt from John O’Groats began coming to Galloway to visit her daughter. After touring round the region, using her daughter as a guide, she created aquatint etchings inspired by the Red Kite Feeding station at Laurieston and the sculptures at Glenkiln.

EWAN McCLURE 'Fading Light, Kirkcudbright' Oil on Gesso Panel £950

For some artists the exhibition has been something of a homecoming. Ewan McClure, who now lives in Edinburgh and used to live in Auchencairn, said ‘I hadn’t done any landscape painting for a while and I really enjoyed working for the McGill Duncan Exhibition back in Galloway.’ He chose to depict ‘Rushes by The Dee’ and ‘Fading Light Kirkcudbright’, a landscape of Kirkcudbright viewed from across the estuary, with a Charolais bull grazing in the foreground. His last major exhibition was earlier in the year at Broughton House in Kirkcudbright, where he was commissioned to produce a body of work inspired by E.A. Hornel. 2008 has been a very successful year for him and he has just won the James Torrance Memorial award at the Royal Glasgow Institute (RGI).

This exhibition also celebrates a wealth of local talent including work by artist, poet and author John Threlfall and two beautifully wintry Oil paintings by Alexander Robb. Caro Barlow from Auchencairn has created dynamic stained glass panels and to keep everything local she even melted a Sulwarth Brewery bottle into one of her designs! Potter Christine Smith from Kippford has exhibited some pieces built using a clay ‘extruder’ as opposed to throwing pots on a wheel. This produces long, sometimes wavy, forms, an ideal medium to depict the sea and the people who love to spend time sailing or being in the water. ‘Long Swimmer’ highlights the beautiful flowing form of her clay panel and on a large ceramic piece is ‘Speedy’, a mischievous boy in a Speed boat, whom Christine describes as ‘a boy with an outboard motor, defying the Urr Navigation speed limit!’
The exhibition runs until January the 31st and will be open between Christmas and New Year.

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