Friday, 11 July 2008

Summer Exhibition


Welcome to our new Gallery Blog. I thought I'd start by giving you a review of our current exhibition. The gallery really does look lovely with Bridget's amazing porcelain and Di and Jenny's wonderful paintings. Catch the exhibition while you can as it finishes on July the 27th.

Look forward to seeing you in the Gallery.


Review ~ Summer Arrives at McGill Duncan Gallery

Summer has arrived at the McGill Duncan Gallery with a vibrant three woman show by Bridget Drakeford, Diana Hope and Jenny Richardson.

Diana Hope from Edinburgh is showing extensive new work based on her travels in India and Scotland. Her collection of paintings titled ‘Two Lands’ is both landscape and still life. She says ‘Colour is of primary importance in the work, as is memory and experience.’ One of her central works is ‘The Loch at Glen Roy’. Diana shared her inspiration behind the piece saying ‘The painting is recently finished and is of a loch from my childhood. My memories of going there provide the intensity in the painting, mainly through the colour use. It is therefore a personal evocation of a place and time rather than an observed piece of description’. Another stand out work from the exhibition is ‘Rajasthan Night’ where Diana has used an intense combination of blue hues overlaid with jewel like detail to draw the viewer into an exotic Indian garden scene. ‘Indian Still Life’ is a lively composition using a strong element of pattern and shape. Diana’s distinctive rainbow markings draw the eye to a beautifully crafted painting.

In contract to the exoticism of Diana’s paintings Jenny Richardson from the Beara Peninsula in West Cork has used the landscape and wildlife of the rugged Irish coastline as an inspiration for her paintings. None the less her paintings have a mysterious quality to them, sometimes reminiscent of animal fables. ‘Jimmy’s Bull’ is an unusual head composition of a bull with a knowing look in its eye. ‘Kathleen and her cows’ depicts a farmer with her herd of cows in a wild rocky setting. Jenny’s bird paintings are an important part of the exhibition, presented on box shaped wooden panel. The shapes of the painted board present them in a covetable form. Her bird paintings are full of character and personality without being twee or in any way cute. Closer to home Jenny has included affectionate but unsentimental depictions of her dog Dora. ‘Dora Sleeping 2’ is a composition looking down on a sleeping dog as sunlight streams across the floorboards. The warmth, both from the rays of sun and her emotional attachment to the dog, is extraordinary.

Serenity and high craftsmanship mark out potter Bridget Drakeford’s work as outstanding. The exhibition is something of a homecoming for Bridget and local people may remember her potteries at Laurieston and then Gatehouse. Bridget’s first workshop was established in South West Scotland in 1977. She moved to Hereford in 1994 where she now has a studio at home. An interest in oriental ceramics led her to develop her own style and she works exclusively in porcelain taking her inspiration from Eastern ceramics. She makes a speciality of teapots, incorporating silver and wood in the detailed fittings. Looking round the exhibition the viewer will be struck by the colours used in Bridget’s glazes which she makes herself based on traditional Chinese glazes. The principal colours in her glazes are beautifully muted celadon blue and pale copper green sometimes juxtaposed with an intense copper red. Bridget says inspiration for her pottery is drawn from ongoing study of examples of decorative arts and from other cultures in museums and art galleries and when possible by travelling. Bridget’s work has been internationally acclaimed and she has exhibited in Mashiko in 2006, Tokyo in 2005 and 2007, the World Ceramic Exposition in Korea in 2001 and at the Mashiko International Pottery Contest in 2000. Don’t miss this opportunity to see all three artists work in Castle Douglas at the McGill Duncan Gallery at the bottom of King Street.