Open Eye Gallery are delighted to be a part of this years Edinburgh Art Festival Partner Programme. In it's 15th edition, Edinburgh Art Festival comprises of 36 exhibitions presented across 25 venues across the city. The Open Eye Gallery presents a large-scale exhibition centring on John Bellany’s output during his most turbulent period in the 1980s. Featuring many previously unseen paintings, all held by the artist’s estate, the exhibition shows Bellany’s work undertaken during the decade to include some of the most fervent examples of the ideas and iconography that preoccupied him throughout his incredibly prolific career.
Although many critics and curators have named Bellany as the most significant Scottish painter of the twentieth century, the very distinctive body of work produced during the mid-1980s is often overlooked in summaries of his career. Bellany’s paintings from this period are his most difficult, with seemingly indistinguishable subject matter and fragmented brushstrokes undertaken with a frenetic energy at a time of great personal struggle for the artist.
The exhibition includes a set of paintings undertaken whilst Bellany was Artist-in-Residence at Victoria College of Arts, Melbourne. These Australian works offer particularly pertinent examples of the abstract, highly gestural style in which Bellany was practicing at the time. Presenting an extensive collection of Bellany’s painting from his ‘wild days’ shows it to comprise some of the most densely symbolic and poignantly confessional examples of his work.
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