Monday, 2 May 2016

Art & Design exhibitions

Over the last 4 days Aberdeen has seen the Look Again Festival celebrating its innovative visual art and design projects. I had the opportunity to visit a few features in the city and came home inspired and actually happily surprised about what Aberdeen has to offer creatively.

The Brutalist Playground by recent Turner Prize winners Assemble and artist Simon Terrill was fabulous for children AND adults.

Copy from festival guide; Brutalist Playground

The pop-up mirrored pavilion literally reflected the historical architecture of the Castlegate, celebrating Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Copy from festival guide; Mirrored Pavilion

 Inside the pavilion a few fellow artists (including Anne who I exhibited with during NEOS last year) showcased their beautiful designs.

Copy from festival guide; Look Inside Design Collective

And in one of the empty shops in town Unreal Estate was set up; a conceptual artist-run estate agent showing work of ten Aberdeen artists and designers who have explored the city's archive to produce an alternative take on Union Street. At the entrance you could pick up a leaflet about each of the exhibited artwork (similar to a real estate agent!) and learn more about the building which was the source of inspiration for that artwork. I loved the whole concept and it's so clever to come up with this!

Copy from festival guide; Unreal Estate

One of the Unreal Estate flyers, front page

One of the Unreal Estate flyers, back page

In the weekend we visited Edinburgh and immersed ourselves in the culture there! First we explored the area Stockbridge where we stayed in a fabulous Airbnb apartment. I instantly fell in love with the village-like atmosphere, coffee shops, restaurants, boutique shops and delicious outdoor market which takes place every Sunday. I will have to come back again as two days are really too short!

When we just arrived and enjoyed our tea in one of the nice coffeeshops, we met Tommy, an artist and owner of Saorsa Gallery in Stockbridge. We had a really nice chat (he gave us some recommendations which is always handy!) and visited his gallery the next day. We love his vibrant paintings and unusual technique (painting on the back of frame glass).

We visited the Botanic Gardens where the Ideal Hut Show had just been opened. We just happened to be there at the right time. Really quirky designs!

The Ideal Hut Show sign

Some of the quicky designed huts on display in Botanic Gardens


Some of the quicky designed huts on display in Botanic Gardens

All elements of this hut taken apart

Inside out...

...and outside in

A room of one's own

Funny jokes about architects and engineers on this one

Press release "The Ideal Hut Show"
In Inverleith House we saw British Art Show 8. Unfortunately that was not my cup of tea!

We ended the first day at The Modern Art Gallery where the exhibition of Modern Scottish Women was shown; "This revelatory exhibition of work by Scottish women artists concentrates on painters and sculptors. It covers the period from 1885, when Fra Newbery became Director of Glasgow School of Art, until 1965, the year of Anne Redpath’s death. The eighty years which lay between these events saw an unprecedented number of Scottish women train and practise as artists."

Dorothy Johnstone by artist Anne Finlay, 1920

The next day we went to RSA Annual Exhibition where we saw Home; a large curated exhibition of leading Scottish and invited international architects exploring the theme "home".

RSA Home exhibition (scan from catalogue)

 In the same building there was also the Academicians Gallery and I was in particular blown away by Kate Downie's mixed media work.

"Walking the Dragon I" by Kate Downie

Also printmaker Barbara Rae and painter Janette Kerr had some beautiful work shown.

"Night Beach" by Barbara Rae

"Twisting and Turning" by Janette Kerr

I'm still buzzing after this wonderful weekend away and have already noted down many ideas for my next art projects. I look forward to getting started with some new artistic explorations and putting a few of these into practice the coming months!

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