Festival 2017

31 July - 28 August 2017

Festival 2017

An exhibition of the most celebrated artists represented by the Open Eye Gallery during the Edinburgh Festival month.

Jack Knox RSA RGI RSW | Barbara Rae RA CBE | John Bellany | Alberto Morrocco OBE | Leon Morrocco RSA RGI | Vincent Butler RSA RGI PAI | Andy Scott

With conceptualism and theory now often preferred over life drawing and compositional rigour in Scotland’s art colleges, this Festival Exhibition celebrates the traditional practice of drawing, painting and sculpture from Scotland’s most acclaimed artists. The exhibition centres on the draughtsmanship of the great Scottish masters, with works by John Bellany (1942-2013), Jack Knox (1936-2015), Alberto Morrocco (1917-1998), Leon Morrocco, and Barbara Rae.

Jack Knox was one of the most influential artists to work in Scotland in the second half of the twentieth century. Often considered ‘an artist’s artist,’ Knox forged an individual style in painting that developed rapidly during the half century his practice spanned. Heeding the trajectory of European trends in art and taking influence from Surrealism, Cubism, Tachisme and Pop Art, Knox soaked up a spectrum of stylistic divergences but produced work of firm authenticity throughout his career.

Best known for re-introducing the genre of still life to Scottish painting, Knox adapted the Dutch realist tradition during the 1970s. Many of these highly symbolic, idiosyncratic still lifes will be included in the exhibition. As Head of Painting and Drawing at Glasgow School of Art from 1981 to 1992, Knox taught a generation of artists who remember him fondly, a group of whom would go on to find international recognition as the New Glasgow Boys.

The exhibition aims to introduce the work of this master of Scottish art to a new audience. It includes a cross-section of material from Knox’s long, illustrious career, beginning with the experimental work he undertook in the 1960s influenced by the Abstract Expressionists, through his ‘Dutch still-life period’, to his mature style of the 1990s.

The Festival Exhibition will also feature unseen works by the most acclaimed Scottish artist of the twentieth century: John Bellany. With the mythic status of Bellany’s art and life continuing to permeate the trajectory of contemporary art in Scotland, the exhibition includes paintings from the artist’s estate that exemplify the artist’s dark symbolism of the sea, death, human desolation and displacement. Powerful, large-scale works by Barbara Rae RA CBE will be on show, proving her standing as one of the foremost artists working in Scotland today. Alberto Morrocco OBE and Leon Morrocco RSA RGI will also be represented in the exhibition with evocative drawings and paintings inspired by the artists’ travels.

The exhibition will include bronzes by Andy Scott, the creator of the hugely popular Kelpies project at the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk. These small-scale maquettes show the scope and ambition of the artist’s projects. Working internationally but based in Glasgow, Scott has undertaken over 80 important public art projects worldwide since he gained recognition in 1997 for his sculpture Heavy Horse, which stands beside the M8, east of Glasgow. Scott works with galvanised steel, fibreglass and cast bronze in his figurative and equine sculptures and has become one of the best-known sculptors working the UK since the completion of the 30 metre high, 300 tonne pair of horse heads named The Kelpies. Now the most recognisable public artworks in Scotland, The Kelpies have had almost two million visitors since their inauguration. The exhibition will include a selection of maquettes, offering the opportunity to gain an appreciation of the working process of large-scale public art projects.