A treasure house of Festive Art – beautiful gifts for friends, family and your home at the Open Eye, Edinburgh
The Open Eye Gallery has launched its Festive Exhibitions and you can be assured of a warm welcome as you step through the arch doorway, with a sparkling Christmas Tree in the hallway.
Every December for 25 years, On a Small Scale a very popular and much anticipated showcase of charming, miniature, affordable “postcards.” Here are over 400 original, unframed works in various media, each measuring 15 x 21 cm, by established Open Eye artists as well as new, young talent.
There is a diverse range of artistic genre and media: wood engravings, oil, acrylic watercolour, with landscapes, animals, birds, fish, portraits . 3D and abstract artworks.
Renowned for perfectly sketched wine corks, fruit and vegetables, here is Thomas Wilson’s meticulous drawing of three spicy chillies.
David Forster has a photographic touch in intricate landscapes with every leaf and blade of grass depicted with fine precision.
Hetty Haxworth presents a series of abstract landscapes composed with block colour, geometric line and shape.
A delightful portrait of a young girl, ‘Cleo’ by Alice McMurrough, portrays sweet, wide eyed innocence with sad, tearful eyes.
…and nature lover Leo du Feu, has captured an evocative winter scene of hares playing in the snow.
With prices from £100, whether for a unique Christmas present or to add to your own collection, this is an exhibition every art lover should not miss.
In contrast, On a Grand Scale celebrates four of our finest contemporary Scottish artists. Here are richly luminous land and seascapes by Barbara Rae, simply but powerfully expressed with patchwork pattern and subtle palette to capture a moody, majestic sense of place.
As one of the New Glasgow Boys, Steven Campbell specialised in figurative narrative, in which his characters appear to be lost and fearful in a fairytale, fantasy world. “The Branch Secretaries” is a humorous play-on-words in a campfire woodland scene.
Taking centre stage, in my view, are several stunning masterpieces by John Bellany, who created his own aesthetic combining everyday scenes of fisherfolk with themes of Calvinism and Celtic mythology.
“His work has that strange combination of visceral realism and the quality of dreams .. never sentimental but always emotive. Damian Hirst
There is such surreal symbolism in his inimitable, iconic portraits of women viewed as muse, temptress and feminine beauty. ‘Queen of the Night’ portrays a red-haired lady, her head tilted with a quirky, quizzical expression. Against a backdrop of the Bass Rock and turquoise splash of sea, ‘Failty’ (meaning loyalty, devotion), a young girl poses proudly beside a slender seabird, sharing the same serious, sombre look in their piercing blue eyes.
A vividly colourful still life, ‘Amaryllis’ placed at a window gives a glimpse of fishing boats in the harbour under the golden glow of sunset.
Bellany’s unique dreamworld evokes mesmerising, haunting images from his personal journey through love and life with passionate, poetic vision.
“He painted what was in his mind’s eye, hopes and lusts .. the threatening sea, harbours, flowers, sunset mountains, a rainbow. His whole art is a life-song” Julian Spalding
The Power of Print includes prime artwork from Elizabeth Frink, Ben Nicolson and Lucian Freud et al. Two linocuts catch the eye – ‘The Race,’ by Colin Wyatt is like a vintage poster for winter ski holidays, and also a fashionable 1950s scene, ‘Coffee Bar’ by Sybil Andrews with cool Cubist style.
Amongst a selection of new acquisitions are panoramic views of ‘Sunrise, Islay’ and ‘Evening Glow, high above the River Dee’ by Chris Bushe with his distinctive use of thickly applied paint for vibrant tone and texture.
Also on display is Archipelago, 25 perfectly painted Matchboxes filled with found objects by Jayne Stokes.
And Christmas decorations would not be complete without a cheeky, cheery, chirpy wee robin as seen in a series by Brent Miller to reflect our winter wonderland.
Sparkling jewellery, ceramics and pottery too, such as lovely bird plates and platters by Ann Ross.
29 November to 23 December 2019
Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6QE
Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm. Sat, 10am-4pm