Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Latest AiH Artwork Acquisitions

Our charity is very fortunate to own artwork by many of the most exciting artists working in the country today. The last few months have been exceptionally fantastic with new work coming into our 1,400 strong Collection by artists including Alan McGowan, Kittie Jones, Henry Kondracki, Iain Robertson, Caroline McNairn, and Jennifer MacRae, to name just a few! 

We thought we'd take this opportunity to post images of new work by some of these talented artist.

Click on any of the images below to find out more about the artwork, the artist, their artistic processes and inspirations.

Anna on Blue by Alan McGowan

Insignia for the Little White Horse by Alan Davie
Treecreeper by Kittie Jones

Untitled by Therese Kane

Rites of Passage by Caroline McNairn

North East Safari by Ade Adesina

Makin' Whoopee by Iain Robertson
Atlantic Wave III by Audrey Grant
Transition 2 by Jo Edwardson

Island Chaffinches by Kittie Jones
Mirage by Ade Adesina

The Tangled Lattice of Fire Escapes by John Colles

Transition 1 by Jo Edwardson

Artist Uncovered: Gayle Robinson

Natural design 

Although Gayle Robinson’s prints are inspired by the Scottish countryside you will not be able to find their exact location anywhere. The rolling hills, the rows of trees, the earthy furrows have all been carefully pieced together by the artist into her very own imaginary landscape. 
Midsummer Meadows collograph, 68x68cm
Art in Healthcare Collection

Gayle confides that she loves her work and this shows in the vitality of her images, in their composition and colours. Her art form is collograph, a printmaking process based on collage. First you need a rigid board or plate on which to glue your composite elements. These can be anything you like, she explains, fragments of your daily life, string, cut-outs, wrappers and other throwaways, the more textured the better. You can also draw freely on the plate with carborundum, a sand-like compound she mixes with glue. When all these bits and pieces are securely fixed and the glue is dry, you then prepare your paints and apply them with a brush or a roller as thickly or thinly as you like. Thickness is important as it determines the tonal range of the print. The plate is finally pressed onto paper to produce a unique artwork as every print varies in colour. 
Harbour School collograph, 77x77cm
Art in Healthcare Collection

The process sounds like a lot of fun, almost like child’s play. But we should not be deceived by its apparent simplicity, it takes skill and experience to know what tones will work together and how to give depth to the flattened image. Gayle Robinson’s prints are exhibited widely around the UK. They have great feel-good appeal and it comes as no surprise to find that all her works in the Art in Healthcare Collection are out on loan to healthcare settings. 
Pine Tree Panorama collograph, 68x68cm
Art in Healthcare Collection

Gayle was born in Glasgow, the city where she came back to live and work after studying in Aberdeen and Dundee. She works from Glasgow Print Studio where she also teaches. Her early passion for architecture and textiles, for Gustav Klimt and Henri Matisse still inspire her art today, in the linearity of her compositions and her predilection for warm colours. Her technique of choice suits the stunning hues, recurring patterns and abstracted shapes that have become her trademarks. 

 Evening Harvest collograph, 68x68cm
Art in Healthcare Collection

Her interpretation of nature is stylised and at the same time realistic because it is informed by her knowledge of the countryside and its seasonal variations observed during frequent outings with her family. All the time while walking her eyes are storing up information about forms, light and tones which she later brings together into her compositions. 
Spring Fields collograph, 78x23cm
image courtesy of the artist

Gayle Robinson is perfectly in tune with her medium. Balance and harmony are crucial to her practice, not just in terms of composition but also in the synchronisation of life and work. For instance she sometimes notices after she has mixed her colours that they match the clothes she is wearing that day which also happen to reflect the mood she is in and the pretty heart and leaf motifs she currently favours are made with her young daughters’ craft punches. Combined with the shapes she delicately cuts with a scalpel or with pieces of distinctive fabrics like Harris Tweed, they create an ideogram or graphic alphabet that can be readily understood as there is no need of a Rosetta stone to decipher its universal symbols. Her personal language becomes our own. 

With thanks to Gayle Robinson

Martine Foltier Pugh is a freelance writer and visual artist based in Edinburgh


And special thanks to Balfour Beatty Investments and Arts & Business Scotland for their financial support, which has enabled Art in Healthcare to produce 18 Artist Uncovered blog posts and accompanying video productions.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Artist Uncovered: Oliver Reed

At close range

A look at the list of subjects in the Art in Healthcare Collection reveals a predominance of landscapes and nature-related paintings. This is no doubt more than just a coincidence as the benefits to wellbeing of the natural environment have been known for a long time. Over the next couple of months, while nature dispenses its most severe weathers upon us, I shall be looking at the work of artists in the Collection who conjure up the great outdoor for our enrichment and enjoyment in their own distinctive ways.

View from Ben Nevis X  mixed media, 123x77cm
image courtesy of the artist

Oliver Reed’s engagement with nature is as physical as it is intellectual. As a hill-walker, the Munros of the Torridon Hills are favourite climbs of his, particularly at New Year. There, surrounded by some of the oldest rocks on earth going back hundreds of millions of years, the artist cannot but be acutely aware of the passing of time and of his sense of place. The forces of nature that thrust these mountains up and then sculpted them down into the landforms we know today indeed bring to mind the Romantic aesthetic vision of the sublime that put man in its insignificant place. 

Torridon I  mixed media, 120x80cm
image courtesy of the artist

This weathering of rocks and nature’s manipulation of raw materials captivate Reed, not only in their immense scale but also at microscopic levels, in the lichens that cling to the rocks for instance. The challenge for the artist is in the translation of these emotions and concepts onto a two-dimensional surface. 

Reed’s representation of the land comes in a diversity of forms: painting, drawing, filming, and assemblage of objects. His paintings are primarily about drawing which is also the key area of his teaching practice and if his style appears to be always changing this is because it defines itself through process and experimentation. This artist is constantly looking for new ways of making marks and often in an unconventional manner. 

Torridon VII 110x70cm, mixed media
image courtesy of the artist

He is currently painting with natural materials such as graphite and pastels that are more traditionally associated with drawing and often hammers them into the thick paper with granite stones picked up during his walking trips. It is as if, through these gestures, he aspires to depict the hardness and rawness of his very physical encounters with the hills, his direct contact with the surface mirroring his closeness to the rocks. 
His handling of materials is also echoed in his manipulation of the digital images he brings back from his hiking trips in his search for the right shape or mass that will inform his paintings. 

Rannoch Moor XII 123x78cm, mixed media
image courtesy of the artist

Reed likes to combine low-tech with high-tech processes. In his painting in the AiH collection the organic splashes stand out against the minute and barely visible coordinates of longitude and latitude contained within the graph paper. Here he alludes to the paradox that the sophisticated technology that produces this data can never tell us exactly where we are as it is forever progressing towards infinity and therefore the information it gives us is as random and arbitrary as the splatters of paint.

Location  52x56cm
collage part lithograph and photo etching
AiH Collection

Oliver Reed describes his practice as always on the cusp, hovering between two states. And here it is, balanced between the formidably vast and the infinitely small, a fitting metaphor for the sublime of our age.

With thanks to Oliver Reed

Martine Foltier Pugh is a freelance writer and visual artist based in Edinburgh

Related links

And special thanks to Balfour Beatty Investments and Arts & Business Scotland for their financial support, which has enabled Art in Healthcare to produce 18 Artist Uncovered blog posts and accompanying video productions.