Listed in alphabetical order
Though diverse and varied in his artistic influences, David Martin’s signature style is striking in its originality, clarity and beauty, culminating in work that makes him one of the twentieth century’s most important Scottish painters. Born in 1922, Martin trained at the Glasgow School of Art, working with prominent artists such as Hugh Adam Crawford, Ian Fleming and David Donaldson, all of whom had a strong bearing on his development as a landscape and still life painter.
Originally interested in portraiture, Martin moved on to the sparsely populated Scottish landscapes and strong, pure still life that he is known for, via his interest in textile design taught by the Scottish designer Robert Stewart.Working with Stewart a few years after graduating from the Glasgow School of Art, Martin used his time with the designer to develop his technique as a painter, simplifying and emboldening his portrayal of objects and landscapes, yet maintaining the elegance and visual appeal that is so crucial to the aesthetic success of design work. Such was Martin’s active understanding of this technique, that a textile design of his was selected to be exhibited at the Design Centre, Glasgow by the city’s Arts Council in 1949.
Upon examination, the visual influence of textile design and material is indeed apparent in Martin’s work; the strength of line giving a fabric-like quality to the painting, as if the canvas is swathed in a thick, layered blanket of bright colours and bold patterning. Simultaneously, lighter and more delicate brushwork flickers across the surface of the canvas, adding depth and bridging the gap between abstraction and realism that is inherent to Martin’s aesthetic direction. ‘My work is ultimately based upon what I see, but I extract its abstract qualities and use them to my own ends,’ he says, citing the work of Henri Hayden and Graham Sutherland as important predecessors of this method. Actively drawing out abstraction from landscapes and still life adds a layer of poignant emotional connection to the subject, subtly removed as it is from the physical reality. This technique also echoes that of Cubism, an approach that Martin interweaves with his own perception to put his personal interpretation upon it.
Martin’s still life retains its Cubist feel in its flat, stark, simplification of forms; we are encouraged to notice not the objects themselves but their assembly into something beautiful and whole. Contrastingly, subject matter for such unpredictable landscapes as Scotland’s is sketched and photographed on location, and developed in the studio, allowing Martin to process and transform these everyday settings, though splendid in their own right, into stunning scenes that articulate his appreciation of them.
Rosie Willmot, Lemon Street Gallery 2011
Daphne McClure was born in Helston, Cornwall in 1931. She trained at Redruth Art School, Hornsey School of Art and The Central School of Art and Design in London. During her time in London she worked as a costume designer for the Royal Opera House for five years before retuning to Cornwall in 1976.
In 1976, along with her husband George and their two children Tom and Emma, McClure settled in Porthleven – a small picturesque village on Cornwall’s south coast, which, after taking an aerial view of the harbour, remained a constant source of inspiration for her for almost ten years.
In 1988 McClure moved to a small holding on Tregonning Hill, near Helston, where her new surroundings further influenced her colour palette: her use of sea blues, changing to the more muted tones of sienna, ochre and brown as she began to paint in series – Hayle Estuary, Godrevy Lighthouse, St.Ives and Levant Mine. The Levant Mine series was exhibited with Jonathan Clarke, London in 1994. In 1995 Tate St. Ives commissioned McClure to paint a work for its inaugural exhibition and in 2004 she was the invited Artist in Residence at the prestigious Josef Albers Foundation, Connecticut, USA.
McClure now lives and works in Penzance. She is widely known for her beautifully naïve depictions of life in Cornwall, drawing on its artistic heritage and its working fishing ports.
Paul Murray graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1984. Drawing inspiration from the landscapes around his Gourock home, Murray’s paintings demonstrate an acute understanding of compositional balance, weighing physical space against negative space. Whilst a good deal of his work still focuses on the drawn mark combined with collage, Murray has also increased his use of paint and scale of canvas, continuing to be inspired by the shapes and textures within landscape and still life compositions, though only as a starting point, allowing the drawn mark or brush stroke to dictate what happens next. Murray explains how he tries to make different marks in each piece of work, not repeating things he ‘already knows the answer to’. While it is inevitable that a recognisable style will permeate, Murray believes that his work is continually changing, developing and improving with each passing exhibition. ‘From Places I’ve Been’, examines his foray into these explorative techniques. An energetic mixture of still life and landscape, the show features a variety of wintry scenes with Murray’s bright summery works studded jewel-like throughout. Darker, more subdued colours mingle with his recognisable use of vivid pinks, yellows and oranges, creating warmth and depth, while shades of blue, black and deep red lend an elegance and grandeur to each composition.
Travelling to Europe and the Middle East, Murray returned to the UK in 1999, and has continued to paint and exhibit as much as possible. His work is represented in numerous private collections, including the Bahraini Royal Family and the Education Institutions in Marbella and Bahrain. He has shown annually at the RGI, RSW and the PAI, winning several awards including the University of the West of Scotland Award, The Glasgow Art Club Fellowship, the Mary Armour Awards and first prize in the Scottish Drawing Competition. In 2011 he was elected a member of Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour and a Diplomate of the Paisley Art Institute in 2012.
Rosie was apprenticed variously with sculptors, and studied figurative sculpture in clay, wood and stone at John Cass and City and Guilds Art Schools in London.
She has exhibited widely and many of her pieces are held in private collections. Her early practice as a somatic therapist and in related care fields have helped inform her work.
‘I work with an ancient and beautiful material whose qualities challenge and enrich my experience of making sculpture. I carve limestones, marbles, alabasters, some being formed in the Jurassic age 140 million years ago and each with its own unique character. Stone often holds a profound sense of stillness and presence.
The sculptures I carve invite touch and often express a sense of symmetry that doesn’t seek to challenge but rather to reassure.
I am conscious of being part of an ancient tradition of stone-carvers and draw inspiration from this rich heritage as well as from the world around me.
I am fascinated by form; by its structure, its surface tension, by the shape of the space that it inhabits, by its changing qualities within different landscapes and in different lights. Carving is an endless exploration of these relationships.
Withiel House Sculpture Garden, Cornwall
Coughton Court Gardens, Warwickshire
In the grounds of Buckfast Abbey, Devon
The Garden Gallery, Stockbridge, Hampshire
Moncrieff-Bray Gallery, Petworth, Sussex
‘On Form 2010’ Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire
Ludlow Summer Exhibition, Shropshire
Devon Open Studios
St. Wilfrid’s Hospice 2009 Open Art Competition Pallant House, Chichester, Sussex
Fresh Air 2009 Quenington, Glos.
2009 Brighton Art Fair
Coombe Gallery, Dartmouth, Devon
Millstream 2007/8 Sculpture Garden, Bishopstrow, Wiltshire
Delamore House Cornwood, Devon – Early Summer Exhibition
The Gallery, Dartington Campus with SouthWest Sculptors
The Brownston Gallery, Modbury, Devon
Royal West of England Academy, Bristol – Open Sculpture Exhibition
Quartz Arts Festival Queen’s College, Taunton, Somerset
The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne
Beaford Arts – Art at the Red House, Exeter, Devon
BlindArt Exhibition 2005 Sense and Sensuality at the Royal College of Art, London
Brian Bearne Memorial prize 2002: South West Academy Open Exhibition
O’Casey’s long career saw him master each medium with a painstaking dedication, borne from his constant focus on the creative process itself. Never completely settling on either side of figurative or abstract, his work has always flitted playfully between these two definitions, using each term against the other but harmonising them perfectly. While his abstract paintings remain soft, yet linear and boldly coloured, O’Casey’s sculptures have a figurative grace and presence of their own, whether they are large or small in scale. One of the most important pieces in the exhibition is Acrobat – one of O’Casey’s first ever large sculptures. Deliberately lending itself to outdoor display, Acrobat is almost alive in its scale and supple, organic lines, yet remains gentle and soothing in its posture and texture. Among the paintings, a key piece is Grey Above, one of O’Casey’s last ever works. More subdued than other later works such as Farewell or Slug in the Garden, Grey Above is pleasing in its elegant symmetry and understated hues. O’Casey’s habitual calm reduction of objects to simpler shapes and colours is apparent here – a practice that stayed with him throughout his career.
Breon O’Casey’s time in St. Ives (having moved there in the late 1950s) saw him come under the influence, instruction and occasionally, partnership of some of the region’s most prominent artists, sculptors and jewellers – among them Barbara Hepworth and Denis Mitchell. What O’Casey took from his time with each of them was always different and personal, and often a frank lesson about his method, attitude or practice. More often than not, they allowed this natural craftsman to extend his capabilities, through learning and perfecting the various mediums that each of them had come to preside over.
Breon O’Casey’s long career was as varied and fascinating as the work he produced. Lemon Street Gallery is proud to be hosting this seminal retrospective exhibition for a man who became one of the British art scene’s most important and respected artists.
Become an LSG Member and receive exclusive early access to exhibitions.Find out more.