Sunday, 7 December 2014

Many thanks to Georgina Coburn for her latest blog about our winter exhibition. She is, as always, very perceptive. 

for more of her blogs look at

Kilmorack Winter Exhibition

29 November 2014 – March 2015
James Newton Adams,Summit Fever
Kilmorack’s Winter Exhibition features some exciting work by established artists and those new to the gallery including; James Newton Adams, Paul Bloomer, Patricia Cain,Sam Cartman, Kirstie Cohen, Peter Davis, Helen Denerley, Henry Fraser, Leonie Gibbs, Gail Harvey, Liz Knox, Allan MacDonald, Charles MacQueen, Illona Morrice, Robert Powell and Peter White.
It’s always a pleasure to see work by Shetland based artist Paul Bloomer, particularly his larger scale paintings and woodcuts. View From My Reawick Studio (Woodcut, 65 x 77cm, 1 of 20) with its heightened Expressionistic perspective leads the eye into the composition along a curve of wire to a progression of electricity poles and a tiny cottage in the distance. A squall of marks in which sky, sea and wind are bound together in an undeniable upsurge of energy inform human scale in the image. The angular bisection of the composition creates a psychological edge in stark black and white, with the human dwelling perched precariously on a downward slope of ground. Two curlews drift above the turbulence in ascension, while another sits stationary on the pole in the foreground; at home in their environment, pitched against the gouged physicality of sky.
Paul Bloomer,View From My Reawick Studio
Bloomer’s large scale woodcuts are the perfect combination of immediacy and deliberation; the spontaneity and intensity of the drawn mark in brilliant counterpoint with highly skilled formal design. Drawing and painting out of doors in all weathers, at the mercy of nature in the UK’s most Northerly Isles gives Bloomer’s work a unique dynamism and perspective on humanity. Charcoal drawing onto board provides the foundation for his consummate skill as a printmaker. Woodcuts demand an assured hand and mindful, hewn precision in their making, qualities which have always been present in this artist’s work; from the powerful social critiques of his Black Country figurative works to his current focus on the natural world.
Paul Bloomer Gannets at Noss
His depictions of birds, particularly those in flight such as Gannets at Noss (Woodcut, 95 x 64cm, 1 of 20) or resting Yellow Warblers (Woodcut, 1 of 20, 50 x 64cm) are invested with life and light. In the former we see the aerodynamic velocity of gannets plummeting into the ocean, their design in perfect harmony with their natural drive to feed. The spiral like composition of Yellow Warblers exudes luminosity and natural order, the cyclical nature of life and vulnerability in bold silhouette. These are medium sized works compared to the expansive scope of Bloomer’s Art in Oils, Watercolour, Mixed Media and Printmaking; however their distinctive style and execution make them among the most striking works in the exhibition.
Peter Davis Watch House Loch
Another Shetland based artist Peter Davis demonstrates his adeptness with watercolour, creating contemplative images with enviable economy. In Watch House Loch(Watercolour, 47 x 68cm) a basin like field of washes bled into progressive depths of ultramarine create a sense of emotional depth. The stillness of sky, water and reflective cloud in Davis’s lyrical image Smalla Waters at Dusk (Watercolour, 47 x 68cm) is a highlight in a suite of paintings by the artist which extend into abstraction. The most convincing of these are bridges between representation and abstraction, where the artist’s command of the medium is finely balanced in calculated fluidity. The suspension of pigment gives these works delicacy, revealing distinct qualities of light found only in the far Northern landscape.
Allan MacDonald,   A Dense Accumulation
Allan MacDonald has contributed some truly celebratory works to the exhibition. A Dense Accumulation (Oil on Board, 50 x 60cm) is a work of beauty with life in every mark. It’s a joyful celebration of nature in full bloom reaching towards an affirmation of blue sky. This quality is also present in Storm Cloud, Wheatfield, Oil on Board 25 x 30cm) where a thick impasto field is aglow and the threat of storm clouds are subtly contrasted with the brightness of blue above. The paint handling is fully invested in the subject, reinterpreting the landscape and our place within it. Sound of Many Waters (Oil on Board, 17 x 61cm) is another beautifully realised marriage of colour, texture and gestural mark; the rough edges of the board complementing the yellow of unfurling waves, deep oceanic greens and steadfast purple headland. Calm water, tide and ocean swell meet in a single evasive moment captured by MacDonald’s intuitive response to his environment and masterly paint handling.
Charles MacQueen’s work celebrates intense associations of colour, form and place. Pool Essaouira ( Mixed Media, 71 x 73cm) is a symphony of blue where overlapping fields of colour create depth in a supremely balanced composition of form and feeling. Heat Marrakech (Mixed Media, 102 x 76cm) is a furnace of orange and red, while Heat (Mixed Media, 70 x 60cm) contrasts the cool interior arch of the doorway with the glow of incandescent cadmium red. We rest in a space between shadow and light in MacQueen’s evocation of place and memory.
Liz Knox, Object Troves
A new addition to the gallery’s established artists is Liz Knox, whose best oil paintings are an intuitive rather than literal interpretation of the Northern Scottish coastline. Although the high octane palette sits on a formulaic edge, her nuanced paint handling is extremely sensitive and demonstrates great promise. Object Troves (Oil on Canvas, 71 x 102cm) is a good example, with the under painting emerging from shifting sands and receding tide. Within this fluid environment we see reliquaries of memory; gathered shells, a shoe and a bucket and spade presented in precious alcoves of sand and remembrance.
Liz Knox, Near Rispond, Sutherland
Near Rispond, Sutherland (Oil on Canvas, 71 x 102cm.) with its expanse of beach, depth of colour and emergent light on the horizon also presents an interpretative space rather than a pictorial scene. The rocks in the foreground feel like a mountainous microcosm of Sutherland, heightened by wedged accents of brilliant red. The curvature of a tide like stain in the lower right hand corner reveals the ebb and flow of the artist’s own rhythm and way of seeing; a distinctive voice which becomes somewhat lost in a work like Helmsdale Masts where the handling and palette are too uniform. What separates and elevates exponents of landscape painting in the UK is the artist’s ability to mindfully inhabit the landscape rather than simply look at it. Whatever the style may be if the artist is invested in such a way then inevitably the audience will feel it.
James Newton Adams, The Milk Round
In Summit Fever James Newton Adams’ Summit Fever (Acrylic on Board, 76 x 76cm) the frozen ground is flattened into a promontory that extends into the icy blue sea beyond. With an economy of mark the artist portrays the human state of activity in each tiny figure, a quality which extends to a rare interior scene Highland Wedding (Acrylic on Card, 76 x 101cm). There is humour and pathos as we enter the austere expanse of a hall populated with tiny figures at a wedding reception, each one expressive of their own inner state. The naïve style is immediate and the perspective emotive. The Milk Round (Acrylic on Card, 76 x 76cm) is another fine example where the winding street of a seaside village dwarfs the lone figure bent double like the warning of an “aged” street sign, carrying home a dead weight of loneliness in a bag of shopping. The isolation of the human being is present in all of these works, but there is also life and humour in the artist’s keen observation. Although reminiscent of Lowry, these latest works are very much branded by Adams’ unique vision of humanity and the psychological territory of Northern Scotland. Until the daffodils begin to appear Kilmorack is a great place to fill the winter months with colour, light and insight.
Georgina Coburn

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 naïve, 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