Friday, 5 October 2007

Upcoming Joan Eardley exhibition

The National Gallery in Edinburgh is going to hold a major retrospective of Joan Eardley - a Scottish figurative and landscape artist whose work presents an important contribution to the move towards abstraction in mid-c20th European and Northamerican art.

Joan Eardley, Children and Chalked Wall 3,
Collage on Canvas,

National Gallery of Scotland
GMA 853

I'm very excited about this, as Eardley has been one of the most fascinating artists I discovered during the last year. The exhibition will open on November 6 and last until January 13 in the National Gallery complex.

Eardley's studio was located during the late 1940s in Glasgow's Trongate in the East End, and from here, her works of the children of the East End give powerful testimony to the life in inner-city tenements... a kind of visual urban ethnography of postwar Glasgow.

From the mid 1950s onwards until her death at only 43 in 1963, Eardley divided her time between the small fishing village of Catterline on the Scottish north-east coast and Glasgow.

Joan Eardley, Catterline in Winter
Oil on Board
National Gallery of Scotland
GMA 888

The energy within these landscapes, the palette used by her - just see the neutrals with which she painted Catterline in Winter, and the markmaking and texture within these paintings are terrific.... and I probably leave my attempt at art critique as that for the time being. I've just been to a geography conference, and still need a bit of distance to talk about the complexity of landscape and culture that doesn't run counter with my academic self ;)

As for the Eardley exhibition - they are offering a short course during the exhibition. Called Bits and Pieces, it is based on one's exploration of the exhibition and on experimenting with collage (that's the bits and pieces bit) both for landscape and figurative work. That'll mean trecking across the Edinburgh after work, but it will be more than well worth it, even just for having the opportunity to explore the exhibition four times! I will write more about this in due course and am currently just savouring the anticipation.


vivien said...

oh I would have loved to have seen this exhibition - I love Joan Eardley's work.

Gesa said...

Hi Vivien,
it's only starting in November and will last for three months - so maybe you can make it up to Edinburgh during that time :)

Anonymous said...

i went to see this exhibition
it was amzing to see and i loved it
her work is just wonderful

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I could buy a print of Brother and Sister by Joan Eardley? Please e-mail me at