An Edinburgh Festival exhibition by Joan Gillespie @ Grilli Gallery, 29 July to 16 August, 2017
Calling all art lovers. Exciting news for summer 2017 with the re-opening of the former Edinburgh Gallery. After a few years away, Catherine Grilli is back “home” at her new, beautifully decorated Grilli Gallery, Dundas Street.
For the first of two exhibitions for the Edinburgh Festival, there’s a marvellous solo showcase of paintings by Joan Gillespie. Her artistic training at college started in fine style, being fortunate to study under Alberto Morrocco and also with Sir Robin Philippson. Developing her career, she became inspired by both the Expressionist tradition of The Scottish Colourists and the modern masters of Fauvism – Derain, Matisse and Cezanne.
The Fauves (“wild beasts”), a revolutionary group of French painters were influenced by Van Gogh and Gauguin, to experiment further with the use of intense colour to describe light and space without having to be true to the natural world. “When I put a green, it it not grass. When I put a blue, it is not the sky.” Henri Matisse
The diversity of Gillespie’s work is quite extraordinary. Walk around this light-filled, L- shaped gallery to see an enchanting collection of Portraits, Figurative works, Landscapes and Still Life.
Here are fresh-faced portraits defining the essence of feminine grace and beauty. For example, “Window Seat” captures the cool, calm pose of a young woman through the simplicity of quick, broad brushstrokes with just a couple of lines to depict her expressive eyes and thoughtful mood. Akin to a fashion designer drawing a quick sketch, this is enhanced to bring a sense of realism and depth of emotion.
As a homage to Derain and Matisse, this demonstrates her own individual, bold, vibrant approach to colour, both in palette choice and wild, carefree application; spot the splashes of blue and green on her face and dress, to echo the scenic seascape. Despite the vibrancy of tone and texture, this is a most evocative, quiet composition.
These simple, subtle and serene figurative studies are a visual delight, such as Model in Navy Blue and Night Window and Model in Stripes, each lost in their own thoughts and solitude.
“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity ..” Henri Matisse
Gillespie develops her own manner and interpretation of the female form with a sensual series of nudes to create delicately intimate scenes which are so expressive in just a brief moment in time – a girl drying herself after a bath, another taking off her blue shirt. Bold, thick lines give clarity to body shape, limbs and flowing hair with a vivid sense of movement and life.
A sensual series of nudes create delicately intimate scenes which are so expressive, interpreting a brief moment in time – a girl drying herself after a bath, another taking off her blue shirt. Bold, thick lines give clarity to body shape, limbs and flowing hair with a vivid sense of movement and life.
Here too around the gallery walls, breathe in the fragrant scent wafting around from the vases of gorgeous Sunflowers, slender Tulips, vivacious Irises and sweet Roses. No wonder people love to collect still life paintings such as these joyous images, to bring warmth and the natural world into our homes all year round.
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Henri Matisse
Joan Gillespie, like so many artists across the generations, is drawn to explore the South of France with her paintbrushes and sketchbook, to experience the heat and light along the Cote d’Azur in reality and on canvas.
Like a richly illustrated travel brochure, be enticed by her luscious landscapes which layer white sand beaches and the ultramarine blue of the Mediterranean Sea, under the dazzling warmth of the summer sun.
Do visit the Grilli Gallery soon to view this exuberant and alluring showcase which will certainly brighten your day.. or indeed your home, if you decide to purchase one of these paintings. Joan Gillespie is a most refreshingly imaginative artist who has clearly followed her own private, painterly journey, enriched by Fauvism philosophy:
“We were intoxicated with colour, with words that speak of colour, and with the sun that makes colours live.” Andre Derain
The Grilli Gallery
Festival Solo Exhibition by Joan Gillespie
29 July to 16 August, 2017
20a Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ tel. 0131 261 4624