In this latest group exhibition, we are displaying new work from a number of our regular exhibitors alongside a beautiful collection of rural Stirlingshire landscapes by our new featured artist, John McClenaghen.
Born in Falkirk in 1964, McClenaghen initially studied Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art (1983-87) alongside the likes of Alison Watt OBE FRSE RSA and Simon Laurie RSW RGI. McClenaghen’s work can be found in private collections the world over. Yet it was only recently that he substantially reduced his teaching commitment after twenty years as Fine Art Programme Leader at Glyndŵr University, in order to focus on painting.
Being the grandson of a ploughman (and nephew to a shepherd and grieve) meant frequent visits from Falkirk to this very different world. And thus an attraction to rural Stirlingshire has been with the painter since childhood.
This collection of intimate landscapes is particularly significant because it took shape during the last few weeks and days of his mother (Maisie’s) life. As he listened to her childhood memories of growing up on the farm, they mingled with his own. The result was a visual celebration of their rural heritage, nature’s abundance and the cycle of life.
The paintings in this collection were largely executed outdoors, close to where his mother’s farm once was. By taking the time to directly absorb what is in front of and around him, he not only captures the energy and dynamism of the living landscape, but also his inherited and half-remembered memories of a world now gone.
To see the breathtaking vitality of McClenaghen’s work is to be reminded of Joan Eardley’s late output. For both artists, painting is a way of keeping pace with nature, spatially, temporally and emotionally. To use McClenaghen’s own words: ‘Through the rhythm of work I am trying to move from the representation of something seen to the reconstruction of something felt.’
Displayed also in this exhibition are new works by some of our regular exhibitors. These include painters Siobhan O Hehir with her inimitable perspective on the landscape, Patricia Sadler’s iconic Borders landscapes, Claire Beattie’s recent small tree studies from her Marchmont House Residency, Gill Walton’s striking work from her Breath series, Karen Stamper’s exuberant and colourful latest flower paintings, Sheila Anderson Hardy’s delicate observation of the natural world , John Onslow’s watercolours of light and shade in the landscape; printmaker, Justine Miller making a comeback to the gallery after a long absence with a series of semi abstracted landscape multimedia prints; photographer, Stephen Whitehorne with a new body of landscape photographs also including some all-time favourites; textile artist and painter Deborah Campbell with a magnificent collection of constructed textile fine art works and paintings; sculptor, Ellen McCann with her quintessential blue oxide stoneware and steel creation, ceramicists Catherine Lucktaylor with her exquisite raku pots, Andrew Major’s quirky work and not to forget beautiful jewellery by Anne Collin.
It has been an amazing exhibition to curate which we hope will be a great summer delight!