The National Galleries of Scotland have acquired Audrey Grant’s two long durational portraits in charcoal on paper, of the crime writer, radio dramatist and broadcaster Val McDermid. Portrait of Val McDermid I (2017) and Portrait of Val McDermid II (2017-2019) were first exhibited in The Long Look | The Making of a Portrait at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2019.
For full details please follow the link to the National Galleries of Scotland recent acquisitions announcements page here
Inscriptions in Arcadia is a series of 12 site-specific artworks situated in the beautiful and protected landscape around the Bothkennar Pools, near Skinflats. Visitors are invited to walk on easily accessible paths through this real landscape with its pine trees and lagoons, its reedbeds and fields, and imagine another – the semi-mythical land of Arcadia. You will encounter artworks created from found and made objects placed within elements of the land’s rich industrial and cultural past. Each artwork highlights the unique historical environment of the area, transformed through inscriptions from classical mythology evoking the Gods, the Underworld and the pastoral.
Forth Valley Art Beat is delighted to announce its new ‘ArtCycle’ eco-art project for 2021 with four new outdoor based commissions having been awarded.
The following artists and projects have now been selected: Audrey Grant (Inscriptions in Arcadia), Natalie McIlroy (The Allan Blikvangers), Holger Mohaupt (Tea, Soup & Biscuits) and Milk & Two collective (Canada Wood).
‘ArtCycle’ will encompass the exploring of our outdoor local habitats and environments, bringing together the cultural creativity of the Forth Valley, with a series of temporary outdoor artworks along mapped ‘quieter’ routes, together with a series of cycling and walking events held during July 2021 and Open Studios/Gardens Weekend planned for 10/11thJuly.
The individual works will include areas of RSPB Nature Reserve at Skinflats, Nr Grangemouth; cycle ways between Stirling and Bridge of Allan; Canada Wood, south of Falkirk; and a series of participatory cycling events in and around Stirling & Falkirk. Each will involve site specific responses around place and engagement with local landscape. We very much look forward to working with each of the artists in developing their projects.
‘ArtCycle’ is devised and curated by Rosy Naylor (founder of Art Walk Projects, Edinburgh (Portobello) and FVAB designer) and supported by funding from the National Lottery Awards for All and Paths for All (Smarter Choices, Smarter Places fund).
Morgenthau Plan for Creative Renewal has received a generous Award of Scottish Government Funding from the Creative Scotland Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development Programme.
Morgenthau Plan for Creative Renewal is a major new multi-disciplinary research project about real and imagined landscapes. It will explore the complex and psychological nature of transformation as a metaphor for collective and personal renewal.
The project is a personal one, concerned with memory, loss and transition. At its core is a physical engagement with the landscape in which I grew up – the grasslands and industrial sites of Grangemouth – alongside a studio based period of experimentation looking at how the physical landscape might combine with the mythic. It represents a major shift in my practice from one based primarily on painting to a more conceptual approach, utilising mediums new to me such as photography, moving image and installation.
The project exists in three phases: Phase 1 (RSA Residency with Cromarty Arts Trust, completed March/April 2020) – an initial exploration of the project’s potential; Phase 2 – a substantive period of research and development (the subject of this Award to take place between December 2020 and November 2021); Phase 3 (to come) – realisation and presentation.
Paradise brings together notions of Arcadia and Desire (Eros the god of love or Eros the Bittersweet). It explores the longing for that which we seek but can never truly find. It is this longing, this desire, that interests me and which motivates our searching in life and in the creative act.
Audrey Grant July 2020
In this latest exhibition Audrey remains in the realms of German literature and the nineteenth century interpretation of classical mythology. Her style has progressed, as far as possible within the medium, to an even purer form of conceptual expressionism. The path from semi-abstract figurative paint- ings to this magnificent series of large scale canvases has been fascinating to watch.
In many places Audrey seems to lose herself in the canvas, abandoning representation to the joy of full expressionism and the physical pleasure of thick paint. The result is a body of work unlike anything we have exhibi- ted here before, a visceral collection both emotionally and visually, but most of all a very human one.
Matthew Hall August 2020
Written for the Cromarty Arts Trust Spring newsletter:
During my time in Cromarty I have been researching material for my project ‘Morgenthau Plan for Creative Renewal’. This is a major new project which will explore real and imagined landscapes – as a metaphor for personal and collective renewal. Cromarty even in lockdown has provided a rich and varied source of material to feed into my work, from the monumental sculptural oil rig platforms in the Firth to the mesmerising Gaelic Chapel and the ever changing light which is just breathtaking. I have explored these as subjects to investigated through a variety of mediums including works on paper, photography both digital and polaroids and short iphone videos. As well as a long-durational drawing/painting measuring 50cm by 10 metres which is a sort of stream of consciousness for my ideas. On returning to my studio in Edinburgh (whenever it re-opens!) I will try to bring all the threads together to create a major new body of work over the next two years.
A new exhibition highlights opposite views of the artistic tradition
SARAH URWIN JONES
THERE is a long and venerable – if controversial – history of erasure in art. From Renaissance masters rubbing at oils to remove and reapply, to art restorers scraping away “superfluous” layers of paint; from Robert Rauschenberg, who used 40 rubbers to erase a de Kooning drawing in Erased de Kooning in the 1950s to Jonathan Owen’s contemporary Eraser Drawings, artists have long experimented with taking something away to produce something new. The permutations are complex, from simple necessity to a rejection of the past, from the rebuttal of received learning and inheritance to the idea that we can only create something new by studying then rubbing away the old. What is left, if we take everything else away.
In portraiture this is no less relevant. Artist Audrey Grant uses erasure as a key part of her process in working towards a portrait, as shown in this fascinating new exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
The RSA (Royal Scottish Academy) Residency for Scotland panel have awarded Audrey Grant a bursary of £4000 to undertake a residency in 2020 at Cromarty Arts Trust on the Black Isle. To undertake research into a major new painting project – Morgenthau Plan for Creative Renewal – an exploration of real and imagined landscapes, and a metaphor for personal creative renewal.
25 May – 27 October 2019
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JD 0131 624 6200 | Admission FREE #NGSLongLook
The Long Look explores a unique creative exchange between two artists. The painter Audrey Grant and photographer and printmaker Norman McBeath developed an unconventional ‘artist and sitter’ relationship when Grant asked McBeath to sit for a portrait in charcoal. At the end of each sitting, Grant asked McBeath to photograph the drawing she had made that day. She would then erase her drawing at the start of the next sitting and begin the portrait anew. Intrigued by Grant’s working methods, McBeath began to photograph aspects of this process, such as the sitter’s chair, Grant’s hands, and the charcoal she used. Grant completed the portrait after two years of sittings and, in tandem, worked on a separate portrait of McBeath, as well as two long- durational portraits of the award-winning crime writer Val McDermid. The four finished portraits, along with images of all the versions of the drawings that no longer exist, and McBeath’s own photographs, will be on display in this fascinating and revelatory exhibition. Click here for more information.