One of the hallmarks of Scottish art has always been the deep importance of the community which surrounds and supports it. You only have to think of the Glasgow Boys to realise how painters transformed the European art scene of the late nineteenth century with their commitment to depicting the ordinary lives of the community around them – urban scenes, people at work, which cut through the sentimental, parochial renditions of Scottish history with their unabashed, and loyal realism. There are countless memoirs full of vibrant, often hilarious anecdotes depicting Scotland’s cultural figures as flawed and fun, friendly and frenetic. I will always remember reading, in the late Stanley Roger Green’s loyally and tenderly written account of the rich artistic environment of Edinburgh in the 1980s – A Clamjamfry of Poets (Saltire Society, 2008) – about the poet and painter Sydney Goodsir Smith’s legendary visit to the bank, at 9am, to ask for a dram and a half-pint.
Since we believe it to be tales such as these which help us to appreciate fully the human impetus behind the creation of art, we are excited to be beginning our series of regular blogs here at scotlandart.com. Our gallery staff – Sarah, Sam, and Rachel – believe these to be exciting times in the Scottish art world; there is an enormous host of talented painters, sculptors and jewellers out there, and they deserve not only to be exhibited but to be talked about. We want to entertain, to inform, and to alert – to provide a platform which engages our readers in the wider artistic community, and helps them to celebrate the diversity of the creative environment around us.
In this spirit, we are thrilled to announce that Joan Somerville has agreed to spearhead a new venture for us next month. On June 6th,we will be launching our series of ‘Artist Spotlight’ events – these will take place upon the first Saturday of each month, with the featured artist in question appearing to discuss the new work which we will exhibit. It is a triumphant return to painting for Joan after her glittering career has been on hiatus for the past few years; her lively, vivid paintings have, in the past, taken her from Glasgow to New York. Her work is often bawdy, sometimes satirical, and always displaying both great compassion and real comic flare in capturing and communicating facial expression. She has chosen, for the title of this show, ‘There and Back Again’, in light of this return to the fold we have just published a full interview with Joan on our blog, along with further details of the event available to view at http://info.scotlandart.com/
Please save the date of 6th June from 3:30PM for what looks to be a stellar evening.
Finally you are interested by anything we write, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter page or send us an email and keep the conversation flowing. If you are interested in finding out a little more about the writers, you can read more about our gallery staff here.
Sam Reilly, 20th May 2015