Listed in alphabetical order
Bruce McLean is one of the major figures of contemporary British Art. Born in 1944 he studied at Glasgow School of Art (1961-63) and at St. Martin’s in London (1963-66), where he was taught by Sir Anthony Caro, Phillip King, Bill Tucker, Isaac Witkin and Peter Atkins. The course was very rigorous and encouraged a questioning enquiry into the nature of sculpture past, present and future. McLean responded by making sculpture out of rubbish, water and other impermanent materials, and by using his own body to make action sculptures- and impersonate sculptures by others. Also produced were photographic works in which he often appeared. McLean lead the development of Conceptual art in Britain in the 1960s, often working outside in the urban and suburban landscape. Some of his works brilliantly sent up the solemnity of the art world and mocked established art forms. In 1972 he was given a one-day retrospective at the Tate Gallery at the age of 27 (King for a Day).
McLean’s work is in a permanent state of movement and invention; from the late 1960s, his range of media has included painting, printmaking, sculpture, film, photography drawing and live work; in all of which humour, scepticism and wit are central. His work seeks to challenge the concept of ‘sculpture’ and indeed of ‘art’ by creating work that questions establishment thinking, materials and methods of display.
After St. Martin’s McLean went on to teach at numerous art schools including The Slade School of Fine Art, where he became Head of Graduate Painting (2002-2010). He has obtained international recognition for his paintings and prints, work with film, theatre and books. McLean’s bold and confident approach to printmaking proved influential to his contemporaries and also to a generation of younger artists. The making of prints and posters has been a central aspect of his work and continues to inform his sculptural investigations.
His work is in private and public collections worldwide including the Tate Gallery, Arts Council of Great Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art, Edinburgh and the British Council. He has had numerous one-man shows in Europe, North America, and Japan.
McLean has participated in many major international exhibitions since the 1960s, highlights include: When Attitudes Become Form, KunstHalle, Bern (1969), Information- Museum of Modern Art, New York (1970), The British Avant Garde, New York Cultural Centre , New York (1971), Documenta 6, Kassel (1977), Art in the Seventies, Biennale, Venice (1980), The 4th Sydney Biennale, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1981), A New Spirit in Painting, Royal Academy of Arts, London, Zeitgeist, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (1982), Documenta 7, Museum Fredericianum, Kassel (1982), Thought and Action, Laforet Museum, Tokyo (1983), New Art, Tate Gallery, London (1983), An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1984), The Critical Eye, Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven (1984), 11 European Painters, National Gallery, Athens (1985), British Art in the 20th Century, Royal Academy of Arts, London (1987), Great British Art Show, McLennan Gallery, Glasgow (1990), Out of Action; Between Performance and the Object, 1949-79, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1997), Bruce McLean and William Alsop, Two Chairs, Milton Keynes Gallery (2002), Body and Void: Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art, The Henry Moore Foundation, Hertfordshire 2014). McLean was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize in 1985.
Now approaching his seventh decade McLean’s energy, vision and work ethic remain undimmed. 2014 saw two major exhibitions exploring his work: ‘Bruce McLean: Another Condition of Sculpture’ at Leeds Art Gallery, and ‘Bruce McLean: Sculpture, Painting, Photography, Film’ at Firstsite in Colchester, both shows included works spanning five decades. McLean’s work featured in the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition in 2016 and can currently be seen in Tate’s ‘Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979’ exhibition. He lives and works in west London.
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.
“I was born and brought up in a coastal mining town in Fife and was influenced greatly by this environment. Due to industry the shoreline was very dark, which highlighted the brightness and intensity of both the sea and the fish I caught there. Fish look very magical against a backdrop of black sand!
I use oil paint in both areas of my work but in different ways. When painting fish I plan and apply the paint in a very controlled and precise manor using soft sable and watercolour brushes. While in order to paint my seascapes I create more textural surfaces with washes of turpentine letting the paint dictate the final direction of the painting.”
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