Friday, June 29, 2012

Carlo Rossi RSW RGI Tribute

The Carlo Rossi RSW RGI Memorial Exhibition opens this Sunday.  Carlo passed away in 2010 at the age of ninety.  His family have asked us to pay this special tribute to him.  It was an honour to be asked.

Carlo at work in his studio

Almost sixty paintings are being hung and the gallery is being transformed.  As I look around, it feels very special to get a glimpse of one artist's view of the world through seven decades.

Monteriggioni, Siena

And Carlo's view of the world was beautiful.  It was a pleasure to know him, and it is a pleasure to hold this exhibition as a tribute to a very special man.  The legacy of this beautiful work is quite breath-taking.  I would love as many people as possible to see it. 

Art Nouveau Building, Alexander Parade

The exhibition opens 2pm to 5pm on Sunday with wine and Italian chocolates. Please join us to celebrate the life and works of Carlo Rossi RSW RGI.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Modern Master

I am surrounded by so many beautiful paintings for the Carlo Rossi RSW RGI Memorial which opens this Sunday.

Palazzi on The Canal Grande, Venice  2001

One by one, as they find their place on the walls, the gallery is coming to life with the light and beauty of Italy - the romance of Venice and the warmth of Tuscany.

Monteriggioni, Siena  2004

Carlo was perhaps best known for these beautiful scenes, but he was equally talented when it came to still life.

Duet  1984

I believe that Carlo Rossi was a modern master and looking around the gallery, before the paintings are even hung, I think this exhibition is going to showcase that.  

I'm very happy to say that there have been quite a few noses pressed up against the gallery windows and if someone manages to slip through the doors (we are closed for hanging!) the interest and admiration of the paintings has been a joy to watch.

Still Life, 1983

Carlo worked in all subject matter and explored all media.  We also have a beautiful collection of smaller unframed pieces, little treasures.

Eleganza  1955

Young Girl in Green Dress  1955

Incognita  1954

The exhibition opens this Sunday and can be viewed just now on:

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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Talented Mr Rossi

All the Carlo Rossi RSW RGI paintings have now arrived at the gallery for the Memorial Exhibition opening on 1st July.


I expected a good collection, but nothing like this.  I adored Carlo, and I would exhibit his beautiful works in mixed exhibitions whenever he would let me.  He didn't paint to exhibit, he painted everyday because it was who he was, it was what he loved.  If I was very lucky, he would allow me to choose a couple of my favourite paintings to spirit away to the gallery!

Bomarzo, Lazio

Although Carlo was born in Glasgow, both of his parents came from Italy and the family was steeped in all things Italian.  It was almost as if he knew the sights and sounds before he ever travelled there. The history of the family is intriguing and Carlo's sons Paolo and Mario have written fascinating essays compiled in a beautiful catalogue especially for the exhibition.

The Artist's Mother

Although Carlo continued to live in Glasgow, he met a lovely girl who was visiting from Barga, Tuscany and when they married, he finally got to visit his beloved Italy.  

He and Vittoria spent much time there, and I think it may have become a spiritual home for him. This love and passion comes through in his paintings.  The warm golden light of Italy sparkles in them, even in his scenes of Glasgow! 

Art Nouveau Building, Alexander Parade

A Little Gem-215 High Street

When I went to meet his son Paolo at Carlo's studio, it was quite an experience to go through the many paintings that were there.  I could hear Carlo saying with a smile 'Now just two!'.

I got a lot more than two this time, and I hope Carlo knows how much I am going to enjoy filling the gallery with works of his from 1946 to 2008, so that people can see what an extraordinary talent he was.

La Fornacetta Barga

Having been a little tentative about how I would feel, I am gladdened to say that I feel joy, and not sadness that I get to exhibit Carlo's work when he is no longer here.  The works have already filled the gallery with sparkle and light, and anyone who has seen them peaking out of there bubble wrap has been wanting to see more and more.

Donne Innamorate

The exhibition opens on Sunday 1st July and I can't wait.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Six Degrees of Success!

We have one week to go of our current Six Degrees of Separation exhibition.  I have loved this show.  The idea was to bring together six well known artists whose work is very different, almost incompatible.  But as with most things, there are threads that run through us, binding us together whether we like it or not! 

The contrast in this exhibition is so striking, people have really been enjoying going from one artist's work to another. It's fascinating for me to see how different people fall in love, or otherwise, with different works.  All of these paintings have been bought by enthusiastic art-lovers.  These exquisite Kirsty Wither's with their vibrancy and lust for life are all going to good homes.

And then the mysterious Kevin Low's have intrigued, sometimes unsettled, but mainly captivated their onlookers.  He creates compelling characters that draw you in and these are some of the ones that couldn't be resisted!

I am a huge fan of Kevin's work and as his work is new to the gallery, I am delighted he has been selling well.  It means he will hopefully return!

The jewel in our crown, our choice of invitation cover, was this exquisite painting by the brilliant Alice McMurrough.  It was unsurprisingly snapped up immediately and it has drawn many people through the gallery doors.  Thank you Alice!

And I had a feeling this little(or is he huge) pooch would find a good home to go to!

There are of course just as many paintings that have been fallen in love with but not purchased.  Here are a few of the most popular.

Hazel Nagl RSW RGI PAI

       Christopher Wood RSW

Kirsty Wither

Alice McMurrough

Kevin Low

It's affirming to see such enthusiasm for creativity, imagination and self-expression when our world seems a little under a cloud at the moment.  We will always need our art to buoy us when other things don't make sense.  We don't always have to understand what we are looking at, but our reactions help us to gauge and engage our thoughts and feelings.  We have no choice but to react - that is what art does, like music and natural beauty.  It encourages you to feel a little different from the way you do right now.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Animal Magic

I love it when a big box arrives at the gallery.  There is always a guarantee of goodies within!

I love to slowly and carefully unwrap the layers of bubble wrap and discover each piece.  This can almost be as good as unwrapping pressies on Christmas morning!

And look what have climbed out of the box! This ceramic rabble are beautiful hand-built sculptures by Lancashire artist Christine Cummings.

I have always loved Christine's work.  She lives in the countryside, so source material and inspiration are never far away - a cow in a field, sheep and their lambs, a scratching chicken, or a dog lolloping down the street!

I confess to being a massive animal lover and I like Christine's work so much because it manages to avoid the twee element that sometimes creeps into animal sculpture.

Sketching from life is also an important part of her work.  She observes from nature, and manages to capture the life and character of the animals without anthropomorphising them.

The sculptures are skillfully hand-crafted and raku fired, giving them this beautifully random crackled finish.  The finish is muted and gentle, making way for the movement and character of the animal. The regal pussy cat, the playful puppy, or the soporific sheep.

These beautiful pieces will be residing in the gallery until each and every one of them finds a good home!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hazel Nagl RSW RGI PAI

I have wanted to exhibit works by Hazel Nagl for a long time.  In the many renowned annual exhibitions I have visited, her paintings have always sung out to me as something special. 

Summer Morning

Some people say that they are not drawn to still lifes, but like true artists such as Sandy Murphy RSW RGI PAI or Carlo Rossi RSW RGI, Hazel is merely using the objects to 'hang the paint on'.  The objects make up the composition, but it's the artist's use of colour and tone that create a truly unique end result. 

Spring Flowers, Versailles

In Hazel's case, working in difficult water-based paints, she can't rely on texture, but only on tone and colour, and this is where she excels.

Jardin de Colombieres

Of course her work isn't just about still life.  Having graduated in drawing and painting from Glasgow School of Art, she lived and worked at GSA’s Workshop at Culzean Castle where she developed a special interest in gardens and landscape painting, in response to the beautiful surroundings there.

French Antique Shop

She is a beautiful painter, and has many accolades to prove her success. Her elected awards include:
1988 Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW); 1994 Scottish Artists and Artist Craftsmen (SAAC); 1996 Paisley Art Institute (PAI); and in 2000 Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art (RGI).

We are delighted to be showing her work as part of our current exhibition, Six Degrees of Separation.

Please click on the link to view all of Hazel's paintings currently on show.

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Friday, June 08, 2012

Carlo Rossi Memorial Exhibition

I feel honoured to have been asked to hold a memorial exhibition for the late, great Carlo Rossi RSW RGI.  Carlo passed away at the age of ninety in 2010 and his two sons want to pay tribute to their father.  They have chosen four galleries from around the UK that Carlo favoured, and I am touched to be one of them.

La Fornacetta Barga

I met Carlo around five years ago, having always been a fan of his glittering Italian scenes and strong linear still lifes.  I didn't know that when I met him I would like him so much too.  I have exhibited him often in group exhibitions, and I was pleased to see that the admirers of his work were as enthusiastic as I was.

Still Life with Fruit Bowl

Unfortunately Carlo never made it to the gallery.  I would visit him at his home in the east end of Glasgow and be allowed to chose four paintings, perhaps only two, of the array in front of me.  He would smile a little at this, knowing I found it hard to choose.  

San Gimignano

The exhibition promises to be a dramatic array of works spanning  Carlo's seventy year career.

Carlo as a young man

The memorial exhibition opens on 1 July and the exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue commemorating Carlo's life and work.

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Wonder of Alice McMurrough

I love a bit of bunting.  I know I am not supposed to admit that, but there, I said it!  I also love ribbons, forests, small creatures and fairy tales.  What a dream then to be exhibiting works by Alice McMurrough in our current exhibition, Six Degrees of Separation.

The Little Pretender

I loved Alice's intricate paintings from the first moment I saw them.  Full of character and symbolism, they grab you, lure you in and invite you to discover the many mysteries hidden within.

The Balance Between Give and Take

She says it better than I ever could, she says: ‘In my artwork, I create connections. I paint the gap between innocence and experience. I use distortion, metaphor and symbolism, in a context free from chronological time and precise place.  I intertwine memories of personal events with contemporary issues, family legends, cultural myths and religious fables. Objects, colour and scale are employed for symbolic reasons.'

On The Edge of The Kingdom

'I often find archetypes in old children’s books, toys and television programmes. I aim for an attention that children have for the world, before ritual and maturity strips life of its daily magic. The resulting images display theatrical characters on stage- like sets, inviting open narratives and subjective interpretations. Unlike the consistent symbolism in medieval art, my work revels in the absence of an authoritative reading.  I invite the viewer to engage with the paintings and derive their own interpretation.’

The Perilous Passage of The Precious

And engage they do.  People have been studying the paintings, discussing them and telling stories.  I love this.  I love it when the paintings in the gallery inspire discussion.  Most of us can relate to some of the fairy tale symbols in Alice's paintings.  There has been delight, fear, wonder, and always fascination.

Out in The Woods Today

Her outstanding and intricate paintings have deservedly won several awards, including the Joe Hargan Award, PAI (2012); James Torrance Award, RGI (2011); Glasgow Art Club Fellowship Award, PAI (2010) and many others.

Me with Alice and her husband, artist Neil MacDonald

Thank you to Alice and her lovely family for bringing such magic to the gallery and for making this exhibition extra special.  Please click on the link to view all of Alice's paintings currently on show.

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Friday, June 01, 2012

Kirsty Wither

I have been wanting to exhibit the fabulous Kirsty Wither since I opened the gallery.  I have known her for a long time and have been a huge fan of her luscious paintings as well as her personally.  

A Pile of Plums

She's a relative youngster.  She graduated from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen in 1990 and since then, her career has been on an upward trajectory, a rare feat for any artist. 

Time Out

With talent and a lot of hard work, Kirsty has already risen to the point of having regular solo exhibitions in London and Edinburgh, earning a growing fan base that doesn't seem to falter. 

I think people can sense that her colourful, textured paintings are more about the act of painting than the landscapes, flowers and figures they depict.  The subject matter is what the viewer sees, but the passion and enjoyment is what they feel.

Pick Me Up

She says: ‘My paintings are as much about the actual paint on the surface as about the subject matter. Working with oil paint, I build up layers of colour and texture to create an image that will hopefully have some resonance with the viewer. Being in the studio is a mysterious place where the paint takes over from any set ideas I start with and often unexpectedly leads me to a finished work. "

Blustery Country

Her work is part of many private collections all around the worked, and also several
public collections including: Eastwood District Council, Glasgow; Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh; Gleacher & Co, London; Misys plc, London.

Her beautiful work has also been very successfully reproduced as cards and posters.

Right Royal Bunch

The gallery is aglow with her paintings, and we are delighted to be exhibiting her work as part of our current Six Degrees of Separation exhibition.  The point of which was to bring together six very different, very distinctive and very successful artists.

The lovely lady with artist Laura Harrison

Kirsty sums this up and here is the stunning lady herself at the recent private viewing.  All of Kirsty's paintings can be viewed on

Thanks for reading!