Monday, 18 August 2014

Review of Eight Sculptors and their Drawings

Many thanks to Georgina Coburn for these insightful thoughts on our exhibition of Sculptors and their Drawings. It's worth clicking to look at the full review on her new website:


Eight Sculptors and their Drawings
15th August to 13th September , Kilmorack Gallery, by Beauly.
It is always exciting to see an exhibition that expands your ideas about what a medium can be. Eight Sculptors and their Drawings featuring work by Mary Bourne, Helen Denerley, Steve Dilworth, Leonie Gibbs, Lotte Glob, Gerald Laing, Will Maclean and George Wylie combines the immediacy of an artist’s first response with the permanence, distillation, monumentality and intimacy of multidimensional sculptural objects. The best works in the show move beyond sculpture/ the Art object and are very much about the living, creative act of making and experiencing work in more than three dimensions.
etchingLotte Glob’s etching “Walking the Faroese Cliffs” (Above) with its shaded chasms and figurative rock formations jutting into the sky feels like a timeless, primordial landscape. The strength of her drawings is consistent with her approach to ceramic sculpture; a.........

Friday, 27 June 2014

Accidentally Deliberate part 1 - a video of Vronskaya

I'm interested in the painting itself; in the proccess and where it will take me. [And] what dialogue I can have with the canvas. Like a director I'm always looking and searching for certain things, situations, scenarios or triggers. 

Here's a great video of Eugenia talking about her work. It's beautiful and well worth a look. 

Many thanks to Sal Redpath for putting this together. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Russian Beginnings - Memories from Eugenia Vronskaya

In the expectations of a Miracle - 40cm x 50cm

Moscow-born Eugenia Vronskaya had an interesting early introduction to the world of art. Here is an excerpt from some reflections she wrote for the gallery. Her next major show is here at Kilmorack from the 11th July - 9th August. 

My very first work of art was made at the age of five. I was on a visit to my Grandfather who was a General in the army and a big scary man with a deep voice. He had large leather armchairs in his study, which was where I was left when the adults did important things. I found a pair of scissors and cut out a silhouette of a wolf from the back of an armchair. Wolves were my favourite at a time and I believed that I was one in a previous life. When grandpa saw me and the holes in the armchairs, he was angry. I thought he was going to murder me. But once he saw the wolf, he was suddenly impressed, asked if he could have it… and spared my life.

 Four years after this, I was sent to a barely legal experimental icon-painting school. I hated it, but that’s where I learned my skills in fresco and icon painting. They taught us how to make our own brushes, paints and grounds in the traditional school of egg tempera, techniques going back to the Middle Ages and earlier. I left this place at the age of 13 and announced to my parents that I was to become an artist. Shortly after this the school was closed and most of the teachers given twenty-four hours to leave the country.
The icon painting I learned there was a disciplined and predetermined type of painting. One to follow a set of very strict rules, so when I finally started to paint my ‘own way,’ it was like opening a flood gate. I was crazed. Painting as all I did and wanted to do, day-in and day-out. My mind was set.

on the river - oil on canvas - 183cm x 153cm

There was this fantastic Art School in Moscow. It was founded in the 1920s by wonderful people like Malevich, Larionov, Khlebnikov and Gancharova, and I was not interested in going anywhere else, even though I was far too young to get in. I applied anyway and had to sit eight rigorous exams in drawing, painting, composition, illustration, history of Art and the history of the Communist Party. Miraculously (and I’m sure by mistake) I was accepted. On the first day of the University, the director asked me to stand up in front of hundreds of students to announce that I was the youngest ever to be accepted in the Moscow School of Art.’
Eugenia Vronskaya, 2012

Vronskaya studied there for six years. After this she took on her own studio in Moscow, had sell out shows, studied in at the Royal College of art in London, and eventually moved to the Scottish Highlands. An extraordinary life for an extraordinary artist. 

more work by vronskaya                                                                       

Saturday, 22 March 2014

In Celebration of the Dead

Skull - acrylic - 21cm x 15cm

I’ve seen it happen many times. First, the image of Henry Fraser’s painting; it appears a little na├»ve, but also charming. It is also dark and loose, with a mystery held back. Why do I like it, you say. Do I like it, you wonder, but you do. And then you see the painting and another spell is cast.

Some things in life we can’t control. The inevitable turns up – struggles, love, stories of hardship and eventually death. The Buddhists call it the first Noble Truth, that life is suffering, and it won’t get better until you accept this. Fraser’s work confronts this dukkha head-on and makes us smile and accept our tribulations, and never more so than in this latest untitled body of work. You will spot a death theme. There are over twenty skulls in around thirty paintings; one of them has the words ‘encore I want more’ scratched across it. It sounds extremely morbid, but the amazing thing is the opposite happens. There are no traces of hammer house of horror or gothic camp. Instead we feel good. How does Fraser manage this?

I think it was a confluence of events. Just before starting this body of work Fraser had a troop of Mexicans living with his family and they took the Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, seriously. In Mexico it is a time to celebrate those who have died. The dead are welcomed in. There is colour and laughter. The Mexican God of death La Catrina is applauded as a great leveller. In the end we are all equal, even well-dressed and glamorous ex-ladies like Catrina.

Catrina - acrylic - 61cm x 41cm

Henry Fraser is well-steeped in Catholicism and the incredible images of Italian catacombs, when bodies of long dead monks are dressed in gowns, or bejewelled, or their skulls are built into walls. Like the Day of the Dead and Buddhist dukkha, these are not meant only to be morbid, but are there to be a silent reminder of our swift passage of life on earth and our own mortality

Capuchin Monk ossuary

Fraser takes this long tradition of memento mori and makes it his own using an increasing freedom in his brushwork. He uses paint in the way a spiritualist uses a Ouija-board, delving in with faith and bringing back treasures.  One of the loosest paintings, Skeleton, is no more than a few well-controlled brush marks and yet it is one of the strongest in the exhibition. It shows how less can be more and how far one strong mark can go.

Skeleton - acrylic 61cm x 45cm

There are more complex images too. I sometimes think of Fraser’s work as ecstatic visions. I love the little painting Pilgrims. Here four Capuchin Monks stare out like guardians of an ancient truth. Again, it could be a morose image, but it is not. Why do I like it, I say. Do I like it, and I do. The spell is cast.

Pilgrims - acrylic - 45cm x 61cm

Tony Davidson
Gallery Director.

Henry Fraser’s work can be seen at This exhibition runs from the 22nd March – 3rd May. 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

artistic dates for your diary

The future is difficult to see and I don't want to give away too many details. Works are still being created, but here are some dates for your 2014 diary. 

March 22nd until 3rd May 2014

Patricia Cain - Kirstie Cohen - Henry Fraser

In this exhibition, which opens Kilmorack Gallery's season, landscapes, people and structures are laid bare by three artists with rising reputations.

PATRICIA CAIN won both the Threadneedle prize and the Aspect prize in 2010 and had a solo exhibition in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Gallery in 2011 with architecturally inspired paintings and drawings of Glasgow’s shipyards. Work this March’s exhibition is the result of a three month residency in Wilhelmina Barns-Grahams studio outside St Andrews and her move to a new rural home.

When an artist like KIRSTIE COHEN paints, something greater than ourselves is revealed: a moment of vastness in a changing sky, the roll of the sea. Landscape painting as its best, as with Kirstie Cohen’s work, opens a window to this more powerful sublime world. 

A HENRY FRASER portrait captures something unique. He sees through the chinks in our armour, past our physical bodies, to the soul that lies beneath, and the result is poignant and beautiful. He paints with looseness and confidence. What at first appears naive, at deeper inspection shows subtle mastery of his brush. A single gesture contains everything; the sadness or joy in an eye or a determined jutting jaw. His skill and vision draw you and make you quest for the mystery Fraser has seen. 

contact the gallery for more information

10th May until 5th July

Early Summer Exhibition

At Kilmorack Gallery we have a stable of over fifty professional artists who exhibit regularly with us and the SUMMER EXHIBITION is the prefect opportunity to see these, and every year we bring a few new exciting artists on-board. If you are interested in Scottish art, this this exhibition is a must and maybe to buy the perfect piece.

Please join our mailing list to keep up-to-date. 

11 July until 9th August

Eugenia Vronskaya: accidentally deliberate

Cafetiere by the tap - EUGENIA VRONSKAYA
We are very excited by this exhibition and the work Vronskaya is currently painting for this solo exhibition. Put this date in your diary.

Eugenia Vronskaya was an icon painter at 13 years old, moved from Russia to the UK in 1990 and now works from her studio in the highlands, where she produces some of the most remarkable poignant paintings to be seen.  Her work gives us more than just her skills of observation, painting and drawing. It also has great emotional depth and without this quality, the self-expression, an art work is hollow. Vronskaya’s paintings are always autobiographical and replete with substance.


15th August until 13th September

Seven sculptors and their drawings

GERALD LAING - drawing for Bank Street, London
Some of the finest drawings are made by sculptors. And most of the best sculptors draw. This exhibition will bring together the rare drawings and sculpture of seven renowned Scottish artists. We will release further details shortly but this promises to be a deeply fascinating exhibition. 

15th August until 13th September

Robert McAulay – Illona Morrice – Peter White

While autumn begins to bite we will show work two painters, Robert McAulay and Peter White and a sculptor. Please join our mailing list if you don’t wish to miss-out. 

We will release more information and images when works are completed and exhibitions approach. 

Tony Davidson
Gallery Director

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Winter - the Season of Abundance

Summer is not the only season of abundance. Winter can be replete too. Here at Kilmorack Gallery, winter brings long-time clients, now friends, dressed in scarves, coats and boots. Previews (don't forget 22nd November) smell of mulled wine and wood-smoke, and inside the gallery it is warm in every way. Fifteen years ago people put on layers of clothing before entering the cold building, but now we have heating. Summer is a time for quick mayfly romances. Winter is a time for Eskimo love, fire and bear skins. And the Art? The work in our winter show has a depth. Here are ten highlights from our winter exhibition.

Claire Harkess
It’s fantastic to have Claire Harkess's work in the gallery again. This is one of my favourite, Hoopie and Weavers at the Breakfast Table. Harkess's work is fearless. It takes incredible confidence, skill and bravery to approach painting like this. The results are special. 

Claire Harkess
Hoopie and Weavers at the Breakfast Table
CLAIRE HARKESS - watercolour - 65cm x 81cm

Alan Macdonald
Alan Macdonald (not Allan MacDonald) has been working hard to complete two 8' x 4' canvases for a major show on modern painting (unveiled late 2014,) so we are lucky to get his latest four works... and they're brilliant. Here is Life line, a blend of the ancient, modern and the unchanging unfathomable nature of people. 

Life LineALAN MACDONALD - oil on board - 66cm x 61cm

Caroline Hunter
This is the fist time we've shown Caroline Hunter's work. I love the sophisticated still-lives in particular. Here is Wild Flowers and Garlic. There's a bit of Matisse in it and something else too. 

Caroline Hunter
Wild Flowers and Garlic
CAROLINE HUNTER - acrylic on board - 61cm x 61cm

Kirstie Cohen
Landscape painting is about far more than representing the humps and rivers of a place. If a work is to be art, it must capture vastness and volatility. Cohen brings the richness of paint to fore in her work. Below is Light fall.

Light Fall
KIRSTIE COHEN - oil on canvas - 40cm x 40cm

Robert McAulay
Robert McAulay can produce complete gems and here is one - wee tin roof. It's small on the outside and big on the inside, a trick open to all time-lords and a few special artists. 

Wee Tin Roof
ROBERT MCAULAY - acrylic on board - 24cm x 33cm

Jim Bond
We haven't had Jim Bonds work in the gallery for a few years. This winter we have three new sculptures made from steel and copper. There is something human in Bond's sculpture. They are beautiful objects; delicate and natural, but also connected to the binary, molecular world that joins us all. 

Jim Bond
Wire Skull
JIM BOND - brazed forged steel

Jane MacNeill
These are the first new works from Jane MacNeill this year and I love them. Here is Lapwing. The gold ground sets this beautiful beast giving it a divine air.

JANE MACNEILL - oil on board - 30cm x 24cm

Allan MacDonald
MacDonald paints very much in the northern-romantic tradition. Nature is the sublime storyteller. Here is symmetry, Arkle

Allan MacDonald
symmetry, Arkle
ALLAN MACDONALD - oil on canvas - 61cm x 100cm

Eugenia Vronskaya
Vronskaya is one of the most gifted portraitists in the country, a skill which she brings to all her work. Her affinity with paint and her penetrating eye bring a freshness into all here work. Here in Spirit of Yesterday the ghost of the past stares out.

Eugenia Vronskaya
Spirit of Yesterday
EUGENIA VRONSKAYA- oil on canvas - 76cm x 51cm

Illona Morrice
Not all art must be contemplated with a serious face. Here is Illona Morrice's The Cliff. It's a wonderful thing. I love the repeated forms. This is a great piece for those who like to smile. 

Illona Morrice
The Cliff
ILLONA MORRICE - ceramic - 115cm high

Monday, 12 August 2013

Video of the Making of 'Horse'

Ever wondered how it's done? How does Helen Denerley makes a life-size horse that retains the power and majesty of the real thing; out of something as hard and lifeless as scrap metal? This video (by Ruth Tauber and Emil) goes someway to explain this.

Denerley wanted a piece that showed strength, combined with lightness. It had to bring lots of negative space into the work too. The natural world is wonderfully sculptural in this way, for nature is built upon an artistic economy. Denerley chose a horse as her subject. Then come drawing; lots and lots of them. She does them until she understands the nature of the animal. Then comes the making of the sculpture itself... if you want to know more about it, you must look at the video... video of the making of horse


'horse' a sculpture by Helen Denerley