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Raqib Shaw: Reinventing the Old Masters

Also at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s Modern One (until 28th October) is the above titled exhibition featuring the work of Raqib Shaw.

Apparently he could not afford oil paints so started to use enamels. This gives his work the appearance of huge but intricately decorated ceramic tiles. Some of it is a bit “bling”y for me but the effect can be stunning and the detail is extraordinary particularly in the circular area of his reinvention of the Cranach. The reproductions here do not convey just how shiny his pictures are.

To do this must be so time consuming even if he does have assistants to help. I left wondering how on earth he could make a living doing this. Unless every (enamel? can you really call them paintings?) sells for tens of thousands of pounds.

Shaw speaks for himself here:-

Tesco Bank Art Competition for Schools

On the upper floor at Modern One (the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) as part of the NOW exhibition is a series of art works by schoolchildren – the winning entries in the Tesco Bank Art Competition for Schools.

Some of these are just about the best things in the gallery. See the highlights a lttle down the page in the link.

That lino cut by Lucy Clarke (Secondary 1-3) is very impressive and Lucy Cairns’s picture from the Primary 4-7 category could be an illustration from a particularly scary children’s book.

NOW at Modern One

Meanwhile over Edinburgh’s Belford Road from Modern Two; at the Modern One gallery of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is an exhibition called NOW which mainly features Jenny Saville. It’s on until 12th September.

Most of her paintings are larger-than-life-size portraits – or at least feature human figures.

Some of them verge on – or overstep the boundary of – grotesque:-

This one of what looks like a child is less so:-

The introductory video from the gallery website is below. The eyes of the child in the painting over the artist’s left shoulder are very well done.

“A New Era” at Modern Two

We’ve been to the New Era exhibition of Scottish Modern Art 1900-1950 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two.)

It’s not quite as good as the previous exhibition True to Life (for which I see some of the links to the paintings are no longer working) but there is still some good stuff there.

More so in the first two galleries. The pictures became darker both in tone and appearance as the galleries wore on.

Stanley Cursiter’s “The Regatta” is particularly striking with its bold slabs of colour:-

The Regatta

Cursiter’s “Rain on Princes Street”:-

Rain on Princes Street

J D Fergusson is more usually reckoned a colourist but though not an official war artist he was allowed to paint Portsmouth Docks during the Great War.

Porstmouth Dockyard

Another evocation of war is in Eric Robertson’s “Shellburst”:-

Shellburst

So too does Keith Henderson’s “Camouflage Hangars and Gas Gong”:-

Camouflage Hangars and Gas Gong

The caption for Edward Baird’s “Unidentified Aircraft over Montrose” is odd as it says the bridge at the lower left has since been replaced by a suspension bridge but the one depicted is clearly exactly of that type:-

Unidentified Aircraft

William McCance’s “Study for a Colossal Steel Head” is very modernistic:-

Study for a colossal steel head

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 13: Edinburgh Sports Club

This is a mainly 1930s sports club building situated just beside the Water of Leith off Belford Road near the Gallery of Modern Art. That newer entrance spoils it somewhat. The photo is a stitch to get it all in.

Far end view:-


Strong horizontals and verticals here. The canopy is good, and the blue highlighting. The windows have that “eyes poked out” look though.

Side view:-


The detailing on the main wall is good. That extension is a bit bland though.

Edinburgh Again

We took another stroll along the Water of Leith yesterday and there was the heron again. (I assume it’s the same one we saw before.)

It was quite undisturbed while we were going past, standing stock still, making the photo easier. It only moved up on to the bank after we were along the path a bit.

We browsed the book and charity shops in Stockbridge for a while but I came away empty handed. The good lady picked up two books to add to her to be read pile.

This time we came back via the town and so passed the Dene Bridge at the upper level.

There’s no idea from here of how high above the water the roadway is nor of the immensity of the pillars.

Later we dropped into the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art off Belford Road.

There are sculptures outside; including an unmistakable couple of Henry Moores.

One is at the front.


There is another beside the path which leads down from the car park to the Water of Leith.


Much of modern art leaves me cold but Moore’s sculptures are interesting.

Most of the stuff inside is a bit meh but the figurative paintings by the Scottish Colourists are an exception. (I’m used to these though as the excellent Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery has a fine collection of Peploes as well as some others.)

There were too some pictures by Alasdair Gray on exhibition in the Gallery to tie in with the newly published book of his art work, A Life In Pictures.

Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Last week the good lady and I took another stroll along the Water of Leith.

No herons this time, and we didn’t tarry by Dean Village, the Dene Bridge nor St Bernards Well but since the last time we were there, there have been a few additions to the water in the shape of Antony Gormley sculptures. This is the one nearest Stockbridge.

Stockbridge Gormley Man

Gormley is most famous for the Angel Of The North but has also placed figures on Crosby Beach near Liverpool and on roofs in New York and London.

The Water of Leith seems an appropriate location for these new emplacements as it flows past the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, albeit out of sight in a valley.

We had a look around Stockbridge, the good lady loading up on books from the charity shops and a great second-hand book shop that we hadn’t gone into before.

I liked the look of this one as the facade is Decoish:-

Former bank?

I suspect the projecting frontage may have started life as a bank.

Bank detail

There is some nice detailing on the door surround too.

Bank door

On its left as you look at it in the photo stands the former Woolworths shop (which wasn’t ever Art Deco) and is now a Scotmid.

Former Woolies, Stockbridge

On the way back I photographed the bridge which carries Belford Road over the river.

Old bridge

I’ve no idea whether this is one of Thomas Telford’s (as the Dene Bridge is) but it looks of an age to me.

This is the detail up on the right in close up:-

Detail on old bridge

I believe it depicts the Arms of Edinburgh.

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