Apr 082016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR


Griffin Coe, fine art curator at Aberdeen Art Gallery views Floorpiece, 1996 by Maureen Bell, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections

Four centuries of art – from 17th Century paintings  to contemporary DVD installations – have been unveiled at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire in its latest venture with Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The contrasting exhibition called Northern Lights shines a light on key works on loan from the city gallery while it remains closed for refurbishment.

And it’s hoped that Northern Lights will contribute to another dazzling year for the National Trust for Scotland property which saw visitor numbers grow by a quarter after launching its gallery space last year.

Dr Alison Burke, property manager of Drum Castle, says:

“I am delighted that the partnership between Aberdeen Art Gallery and the National Trust for Scotland has resulted in a second exhibition at Drum Castle. It is an honour to welcome this fascinating exhibition that includes four centuries of art within the historic environment of Drum Castle.

“Last year we did exceptionally well and saw a 24% increase in visitor numbers which means an increase in our income to help us conserve the castle and the estate, but it’s also about more people coming to Drum and finding out about Aberdeenshire’s oldest castle.

“Many visitors said they felt closer to the art in a domestic setting; they felt they could get up close and personal with the works. Other feedback was they liked the juxtaposition of viewing a contemporary collection in an historic location.

“The 2016 exhibition includes some of the most iconic works of Aberdeen Art Gallery and is called Northern Lights, themed around light and I think there is something for everybody.

“From historic art, we move on to influential art from the 20th Century, iconic works by Turner, McIntosh, DVD installations and scultpture; Drum is helping play a part in keeping these iconic works accessible to the public while Aberdeen Art Gallery is being refurbished.”

There are more than 30 paintings, sculptures and digital video including a new addition to the collection, Watercolour by Elizabeth Blackadder and works by Joseph Farquharson, Joan Eardley, John Byrne, John Bellany, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and SJ Peploe and the challenging performance work, Gralloch by Henry Coombes.


Skull portrait at Drum

Its launch comes as some of the castle’s own important art is back in place after undergoing restoration.

The Irvine family were staunch supporters of the Stuart cause, and the Jacobite portrait painter Cosmo Alexander collection at Drum has undergone a refurbishment, revealing a fresh face of ‘The Hidden Laird’ who hid in the tower to evade Government forces.

Alexander Irvine of Drum fought alongside Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden, retreating to the castle after the battle and was hidden in the secret room within the walls of the ancient Tower by his sister Mary Irvine for  three years.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is due to reopen following a major refurbishment in the winter of 2017 and has shared its collections with venues across city and shire to ensure the public can continue to enjoy the works.

Northern Lights showcases many of the Gallery’s iconic paintings in addition to challenging, cutting-edge pieces of the 21st century, side by said, says Olga Ferguson, fine art curator at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

“The overarching theme is Scottish art and artists but each room has its own theme,” says Olga.

“A breadth of art is shown, both works by Scottish artists and those with a Scottish connection, in a display where modern art mingles with earlier, traditional paintings. Each room has its own individual variation upon a theme, subject or style which offers a snapshot of the story of art in Scotland.

“There are 30 works of art and the contemporary pieces in particular contrast with what one would normally expect to find in a National Trust for Scotland castle.”

Deputy Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Marie Boulton added:

“It’s wonderful that while Aberdeen Art Gallery is closed as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment we continue to offer a programme of art and music to residents and visitors to the city, and indeed across the UK and abroad.  By working in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland we are able to offer visitors to Drum Castle the opportunity to see a selection of some of our most popular artwork in a wonderful new setting.”

Last year’s collaboration, an exhibition entitled Human Presence, helped generate increased footfall, with the castle welcoming 33,500 visitors.

The new curated exhibition continues at Drum until March 31, 2017.

Drum Castle is located 10 miles west of Aberdeen off the A93. The castle is set in extensive grounds with walks, picnic area, an historic rose garden, adventure play area, tearoom and shop. Normal castle admission charges apply.

For further information call 01330 700 335 or visit http://www.nts.org.uk/property/drum-castle-garden-and-estate/



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Mar 242016

Sean Wheelan Pop 'round for 15 minutes2With thanks to John Morrison.

Peacock Visual Arts is proud to present an exhibition of works by 4th-year students from this year’s Contemporary Art Practice course at Gray’s School of Art. Albeit short, this 3-day exhibition gives us a privileged opportunity to see artworks from a new wave of artists, created using a wide variety of media.

Michael Agnew, Course Leader, Contemporary Art Practice at Gray’s School of Art said:

“This exhibition is a final external rehearsal for the big event opening on the 17th of June 2016 at Gray’s School of Art. From this point forward each of the 31 exhibitors will have all hands to the pump in producing their first one-person shows.

“The eclectic nature and diversity of their practices are there for all to see and I know there is enough breadth for everyone visiting this survey to whet the appetite for June and future creativity and sustainability beyond. I am positive that the knowledgeable audience from Aberdeen won’t be departing this show in disappointment.”

Date: 25-26 March 2016
Opening: Thur 24 March 2016, 6-8pm. All Welcome
Location: Peacock Visual Arts

Jan 072016

YWE-24With thanks to Jack Milner.

Happy couples are being urged to take the plunge before it’s too late if they hope to secure a ticket to the North-east’s leading wedding exhibition. Your Wedding Exhibition (YWE), now in its 20th year, will once again return to the AECC on Saturday and Sunday January 16 and 17 with tickets on sale now and selling fast.

Some of the highlights of the event will be a catwalk fashion show, showcasing the latest bridal wear, as well as Highlandwear, mother-of-the-bride outfits, hair and make-up and a display of wedding vehicles – ranging from luxury cars to classic camper vans.

During its time at the AECC, YWE has welcomed around 30,000 visitors and more than 1,700 exhibitors and this year’s event will be the biggest yet in terms of floor space with a list of vendors covering 6,500sq m of the GE Oil & Gas Arena.

Simon M Morgan, director at Your Wedding Exhibition, said:

“Each year we welcome thousands of visitors looking for ideas and inspiration for their big day and we are extremely proud to be able to be a part of making the most important day of their lives that extra bit magical.

“With 222 vendors exhibiting we are sure there will be something for everyone at the event – as well as some added surprises thrown in as well.”

Tickets for Your Wedding Exhibition are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk priced £12.50 for individuals and £45 for a group of four (under 16s go free). Tickets will also be available on the door at the event. Free parking for visitors will also be available at the AECC.

For further information please visit www.yourweddingexhibition.com

Pictures courtesy of YWE.

Oct 292015

waspsthmWith thanks to Keith Byres.

Wasps Artists Studios open their doors this weekend from noon to 5pm.

We have a range a range of events, demonstrations and tours of artists studios. In conjunction with the open weekend we are exhibiting studio work in Under the Hammer.

Wasps Artists Studios provides affordable studio space to artists throughout Scotland and has been established in Aberdeen since 1981.

Come along to to the open weekend and the exhibition and experience a flavour of the creative energy in the city.

Oct 082015

Hugh_Rowson_500featPeacock Visual Arts presents ‘PUTNEY POEMS’ an exhibition by Hugh T. Rowson.

Peacock Visual Arts is delighted to announce ‘PUTNEY POEMS’, an exhibition by Hugh T. Rowson.

The exhibition will include paintings and a new print produced at Peacock.

Rowson has provided a quote from his son to accompany the exhibition:

“Any theory about how the mind thinks or learns should be considered with due care, because thinking and learning are highly idiosyncratic processes and difficult to model without violating their inherent complexity.”
Chess for Zebras by Dr. Jonathan Rowson 2005

About the artist:

Hugh Rowson seeks to bring life to inanimate objects in a variety of mediums. Personal poems are juxtaposed to create watercolour fluidity. The medium of pen and ink facilitates a depiction of detail in architectural subjects. Rowson typically transfers images from thumb-nail sketches to completed paintings; a process full of uncertainty and chance.

Rowson also creates special ambiguity with the use of strong, meaningful, pattern and decoration as common themes in a symbolic language.

Opening: Saturday 10th October, 2-4pm
Exhibition runs from: 10th October – 7th November

More Info: What’s on at Peacock Visual Arts October 2015

Sep 162015

trump closeup 1With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Local artists Neale Bothwell, Graham Murdoch and Suzanne Kelly will show their latest works in Aberdeen’s Under The Hammer from 19 September.

Kelly will display satirical dolls parodying Donald Trump and some of his entourage.

The four dolls include Donald Trump in golfing mode – which will give a selection of Trump’s catalogue of offensive comments when its hand is shaken.

Another Trump doll in Graduation mode commemorates Trump’s controversial honorary degree from Robert Gordon University.

This degree prompted academic Dr David Kennedy to hand his own degree back to RGU in protest.

There is also a Donald Jr doll in safari mode which talks when its gun is squeezed, explaining how his killing animals helps Africans. The fourth doll is the Menie Estate spokesperson, Sarah Malone, or Mrs Malone-Bates if you prefer. She married Aberdeen Journal’s supremo Damian Bates.

Many speculate that this may have some connection to the positive media coverage Trump receives in Aberdeen papers the Press & Journal and Evening Express, which ignore the majority of anti-trump sentiment.

The handmade dolls come in packaging labelled ‘Donny and Friends’. The boxes are adorned with pictures of pound signs, bags of swag, guns, golf motifs, etc. – as well as newspaper headlines from some of Trump’s debacles.

Suzanne Kelly has kept a close eye on all things Trump related since his earliest association with Menie as a golf course location, and has been involved in many aspects of opposition the controversial development. Of the plight of the residents of Menie, Kelly is particularly passionate.

hunting jr 1Kelly says:

“I’ve written a report on the Scottish Government’s handling of the Menie Estate. The legal environmental protection was stripped away on the promise of millions of pounds and thousands of jobs flooding into Aberdeenshire. The reality is considerably different. A giant bund of earth blocks the former view to the sea of Leyton Farm Cottage’s inhabitants – it serves no purpose but to intimidate as far as I can tell.

“Local farmer Michael Forbes and his family had their water supply damaged, were threatened by police over what were civil issues, and had his access to the sea to fish cut off, with the police warning him not to attempt to take his boats and nets to the sea.

“I’ve also helped the BBC’s Panorama team with their segment on Trump, which proved his links to organised crime. The Scottish Government doesn’t care. Neither do Aberdeen Sports Village, and when I last checked, some Aberdeenshire school children were sporting Trump-sponsored shirts.

“I also had a photo credit or two in Anthony Baxter’s documentary A Dangerous Game; my photos showed huge piles of mixed rubbish on the Menie Estate.

“Aberdeen Voice has also featured a fair quantity of my satirical writings on Trump. Writing about him satirically is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.

“This man is condemned by his own words, which show him to be a nationalist, racist, sexist piece of work. If the serious work I’ve tried to do won’t do the trick, I’ll try and make a few points using some satirical dolls.

“Hopefully people who see them will find them amusing, but also take away some of the serious points. The Scottish government gave up important principles for what proved to be the pie-in-the-sky that opponents knew it to be at the Menie Estate. But now, some Americans are actually considering electing this man as president.”

The work will be displayed for approximately 3 or 4 weeks.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Jul 162015

Bryan_Angus_Goose_Park_GardensBy Duncan Harley

Duff House, Banff is to host an exhibition of new work by North East artist Bryan Angus this summer.
An art book, successfully funded by a Kickstarter project which attracted backers from as far afield as the USA, Germany and Denmark, accompanies the exhibition.

Entitled Bright Coast – Long Shadows, the exhibition will feature Bryan’s images of Banff, Macduff, Gardenstown, Pennan and Portsoy.

The book will explore the methods and creative processes used in the making of the work.

Says Bryan:

“This book will help promote my artwork and I hope encourage other people to make art. It will also promote this beautiful and hidden area of the world.”

Bryan is a visual artist living and working on the Banffshire Coast. Along with wife Carla he teaches art at the Creative Retreat in Gardenstown. His work is firmly based in the tradition of representational landscape art, created in soft pastel, oils and increasingly, lino print.

Influenced by American artist Edward Hopper’s paintings of houses in the blazing Massachusetts sunshine and referencing the low angled lighting typical of film noir, Bryan’s images portray the villages and sea edge of the Banffshire coastline and feature the dramatic lighting and long shadows of the northern winter months.

When asked about his inspiration, Bryan, a graduate from Gray’s School of Art, comments:

“The bulk of my work is inspired by the beauty of the land hereabouts, enriched by the history of the people and their towns. My own family history has a branch along this coast, so my sense of place, and subsequently the rediscovering the images of previous lives, has also informed my work.”

Bright Coast – Long Shadows opens at Duff House on 18th July and runs until 30th August.

Words © Duncan Harley, Images © Bryan Angus.
First published in Leopard Magazine.

Jun 152015

Since last Saturday, June 6, Hell Yeah have taken over Peacock Visual Arts to draw a sugar loaded, popcorn poppin’, over indulgent large-scale illustration installation on the walls of our main gallery.

Poster_FINAL featHell Yeah actively encourage viewers to visit them in the gallery throughout the duration of the installation in order for you to engage with their creative process, with questions and interaction with artists welcomed.

Once the installation is complete the gallery will be closed throughout the day on Friday 26 June to prepare the space for the official Closing Party, which will feature previously unseen work
from the artists hung directly on top of the installation.

The guarded nature of the Closing Party is intended to provoke viewers’ curiosity, urge you to explore the artwork further and also offer a fresh perspective of the exhibition as a whole.

The closing party will take place on Friday 26 June, 6-8pm, all welcome.

The finished exhibition will then run until Saturday 18 July 2015.

About the Artists

Hell Yeah are two artists who work together on large-scale site-specific illustration installations as well as commercial projects. Their typical Scottish dry wit and youthful enthusiasm for life gives their work a raw yet playful mix, which can leave the viewer feeling both amused and uneasy at the same time.

Live Drawing: 6 June – 25 June 2015

Closing Party: Friday 26 June. 6-8pm. All welcome.

Exhibition: 27 June – 18 July 2015

May 252015

“Are family albums a thing of the past? How do we select mementos of our family life in a digital era?” A new exhibition by a North-East artist explores how we preserve our family memories in a personal and moving collection on display at Seventeen this Summer. Andrew J Douglas reports.

Stephanie Vandem

Stéphanie’s paintings can be found in several international private collections.

Award winning artist, Stephanie Vandem, is fascinated by how people interact at their most personal level. For many years, Stephanie has focused on capturing people’s feelings through her portrait work.
This new collection of artwork goes a step further, investigating how relationships and emotions can be understood through body language, further emphasised by the absence of facial features.

The artist also investigates the idea of ‘visual abundance’ and of what is ‘precious’ in the digital era.

Stephanie said:

“Body language is what locks these characters together and reveals the nature of their emotions and intimacy. Today we find ourselves overloaded by repetitive images of ourselves and loved ones. This made me wonder: do these images still hold any power, or does such visual abundance dilute the concept of a precious and unique family album?

“By selecting images that represent landmark moments, I’m testing the ability of a single image to convey the nature and demands of a relationship and the implications of that moment on the future of the family members. “I hope ‘Family Album’ might inspire others to look at ways of curating and preserving their own memories.”

Brazilian by birth and educated in Paris, London, New York and Florence, she brings a variety of influences to her striking work, be that with her portraits or more thematic projects.

Stéphanie’s paintings can be found in several international private collections, and most recently the artist has painted the Bishop of Aberdeen, oil Tycoon Larry Kinch and the daughters of ‘Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey’ TV director Minkie Spiro.

The eleven paintings in ‘Family Album’ are supported by a film documentary made out of videos captured by the artist on her smart phone. This is a rare opportunity to get a glimpse at the creative process as the artist openly takes us through the stages of creating the artwork and opens the door to her family life, exposing how it has shaped, inspired or gotten in the way of completing the work.

The exhibition ‘Family Album’ will take place from 4 June to 4 July at Seventeen, Belmont Street, Aberdeen.

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Feb 122015

Eric Auld – teacher, artist, source of inspiration for many of Aberdeen’s painters passed away towards the end of 2013. The Rendezvous Gallery on Forest Avenue is holding a retrospective show of his work, organised in part by his daughters. The show opened to a full, appreciative house on Friday 6 February. Suzanne Kelly was in attendance.

Aberdeen Trams, Castlegate, 1950 by Eric Auld. Rendezvous Gallery

Aberdeen Trams, Castlegate, 1950 by Eric Auld. Rendezvous Gallery

Eric Auld will remain one of our area’s most influential and loved artists. He captured Aberdeen’s harbour, day to day life in his still life work, Highland games pageantry, and the natural beauty of his life models.
As a teacher in Kincorth he influenced many students. One such is Keith Byers, local portrait painter/artist. Keith’s life drawing work is being highlighted in the Rendezvous Gallery’s window as part of the Auld exhibition.

Perhaps the most striking of Auld’s work is the large self-portrait which is also shown on the front of the show’s catalogue.

His still lifes with fish and loaves of bread are gentle, pleasing works; his accomplished nudes are natural and unpretentious. Some of the land and seascapes become bold and expressionistic and are very striking works. Clearly Auld was able to work across various styles and traditions.

As the gallery’s website explains:

“Eric Auld, an artist with an inherent talent for painting, was a member of a well-known artistic, Aberdeen family. His father, Alexander, and his mother, Margaret, were both art students at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. Margaret, herself accomplished in the painting of still lifes, encouraged Eric to follow an artistic career.

“Eric’s sister Rozelle, who married the architect Valentino Morrocco (brother of Alberto) in her turn encouraged her own sons, Nicholas and Jack, to become professional artists.

“From 1948 to 1953, Eric attended Gray’s School of Art where, under the tutelage of Alberto Morrocco, Hugh Adam Crawford and Robert Sivell, he immersed himself in art. During his period at Gray’s, he had his first solo exhibition at the then well-known art cinema, the Gaumont, at 181 Union Street, Aberdeen. According to his diaries, this proved a great success.” 

The gallery on the opening night is packed with former friends, students and art lovers. In many ways this show not only charts Auld’s progression as an artist but also shows changing tastes, techniques, and at the same time captures a changing local environment and society. The show is up through 28 February.

It really is a must for anyone who is interested in the North East’s visual arts culture.

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