Friday, 20 May 2011

Ayrshire Artists, Galloway Connections - Exhibition Review

GLEN SCOULLER RSW RGI Tulips and Puglian Cloth watercolour

Published yesterday in The Galloway News, here is a review of our current exhibition.

McGill Duncan Gallery in Castle Douglas is exhibiting the work of a prestigious group of artists from Ayrshire in its new exhibition. The Exhibitors are: James Cosgrove, Michael Durning, Claire Harrigan RSW, Euan McGregor, Sandy Murphy RSW RGI PAI, James Orr, David Palmer and Glen Scouller RSW RGI.

All the artists live and work in Ayrshire, but many have connections with Galloway and come to the region to paint. The exhibition in Castle Douglas shows their work in a place of artistic inspiration.

Ayrshire and Galloway share dramatic coastlines and scenic beauty. Landscapes from both regions are featured including the ‘10th Tee at Turnberry’ by James Orr, ‘Storm, Ailsa Craig’ by Sandy Murphy RSW RGI and, nearer to Castle Douglas, ‘Orchardton Tower’ by Michael Durning.

Each artist works with an assured confidence in his or her chosen medium. This expertise has been recognised by the fact that three of the artists in the show have been elected to the The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour: Claire Harrigan RSW, Sandy Murphy RSW RGI PAI and Glen Scouller RSW RGI.

Glen Scouller RSW RGI’s ‘Tulips and Puglian Cloth’ is a perfect example of his masterly use of watercolour. The colours simply sing and he has produced a painting that will bring great joy to whoever is lucky enough to hang it in their home. Glen Scouller is one of the most notable and collected representational painters working in Scotland today. He studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1968-73 under Donaldson, Robertson and Shanks. His first solo show was in 1977, and he has had over 40 solo exhibitions in his illustrious painting career.

There is only one printmaker in the exhibition – etcher David Palmer. He is exhibiting a collection of his etchings of Jugs. David finds inspiration in simple domestic objects. The Jug has been a recurring theme in his work for some time. He captures their expressions, personalities, moods and emotions as if drawing a portrait. His expert etching technique allows him to create rich textures and atmospheric tones through scraping, polishing and re-etching to create the desired effect. The result is almost three dimensional in appearance. David is exhibiting two etchings which have never been shown before ‘Old Spoon’ and ‘Recess II’

Michael Durning has painted a collection of ‘Galloway’ paintings specially for the exhibition, including local landmarks such as Sweetheart Abbey, Orchardton Tower and Caerlaverock Castle. He says ‘My work values a sense of place, history and cultural identity. I use blighted and broken images of monuments, buildings and landscapes to create powerful statements that question attitudes to Scottish cultural identity.’

Gallery owner Jill Blamire said ‘McGill Duncan Gallery formed most of our connections with Ayrshire artists through exhibiting the work of Sandy Murphy RSW RGI PAI. His paintings are hugely popular in our gallery and we wanted to introduce the work of some of his friends and contemporaries to our customers. Ayrshire shares a rich artistic history with Galloway and this show proves that we have some of the best artists in Scotland working very close to home’ All the work can be viewed at

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