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Robert Powell

Bound for other Isolations

Robert Powell

Bound for other Isolations 28th September - 26th October 2019

The Pale King or Diogenese Reassembles a Wise Man | 13cm x 10cm


You put the magnifying glass up to a Robert Powell etching and what do you see? It’s always eye-poppingly detailed and enlightening: an over-crowded island after the flood, Daphne escaping Apollo’s advances by turning into a laurel, wildmen, a city of mirrors, an oligarch on tour, a vain architect. These are some of the best stories ever told, and in them Powell shows us fantastical follies and strange human achievements. It is hard not to smile. Powell’s unique visionary gift and technical brilliance have global reach. This latest body of work, “Bound for other Isolations,” is another wonder. It consists of over twenty etchings, watercolours and sculptures, which explore travel, exile and solitude. Here Powell, the ultimate artistic polymath, has compiled Scheherazade-like a collection of works which show movement in time, space and imagination. Powell is an artist who knows no borders, and we are very honoured to celebrate these latest works of this significant Scottish artist with this catalogue and exhibition.

Tony Davidson, August 2019

Bound for other Isolations

This exhibition includes work from my recent residency in Shetland, where worked I on themes of exile and ghosts (societal memories, vanished utopias, objects that were supposed to be used but never will be - an abundance of past stuff haunting us). Also present is work dealing with maps, the mapping of space and the mapping of time. I’ve been thinking about the poet Ovid and his own metamorphosis in exile, from an urbane socialite to a misery-guts who wouldn’t (as in the painting by Delacroix) even acknowledge the locals. I’ve been wanting to do a visual version of the Metamorphoses peopled with transforming exiles, knights errant travelling into the unknown, forests turning into cities, robots becoming human and people changing because they are standing so still. Robert Powell, August 2019

Cities of the Plain or Five Styles of Utopia | lithograph and watercolour | 50cm x 71cm

Family Tree

Family trees map time rather than space. However, the destinations depicted in these maps are inaccessible to the map-reader, we can never meet those included on distant branches nor can we step on a boat and end up on the shores of those distant places.

Family Tree | lithograph and watercolour | 50cm x 36cm

Knight Errant

In medieval romance, the hero would prove himself by wandering forth and inflicting violence on other parts of the world. A common set of coming of age tropes.

Knight Errant | watercolour | 25cm x 15cm

Pool of Narcissi

In some senses the internet is like a great pool which we can see the reflection of the world in, only in front of it all are our own big blurry faces.

Pool of Narcissi | watercolour | 23cm x 33cm

The Bridge

This was the first image I made on a recent residency in Shetland. I jotted it down in my sketchbook as the ferry drew into Lerwick at 7am, then that evening I painted it. It seems to mean something, but I’m not quite sure I know what that is yet.

The Bridge | watercolour | 17cm x 22cm

City of Vitrines

In the centre of Fedora, that grey stone metropolis, stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. Looking into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of a different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today. In every age some, looking at Fedora as it was, imagined a way of making it the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature model, Fedora was already no longer the same as before, and what had been until yesterday a possible future became only a toy in a glass globe. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

City of Vitrines | acrylic | 40cm x 30cm

Daphne didn’t want to be raped by Apollo so much that she had her dad turn her into a laurel tree. In Alice Oswald’s Memorial: Like leaves who could write a history of leaves The wind blows their ghosts to the ground And the spring breathes new leaf into the woods Thousands of names thousands of leaves When you remember them remember this Dead bodies are their lineage Which matters no more than the leaves

History of Leaves II or Apollo and Daphne

The History of Leaves II or Apollo and Daphne | lithograph and watercolour | 48cm x 46cm

The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour was a necessary part of growing up for the British aristocrat of the 18th century. It was a checklist of cultural highlights across the continent, standing in these hallowed places would presumably endow the young man with all the wisdom and gravity of Classical Rome. Expert scholars were hired to accompany the youth and to attempt to educate him when he wasn’t busy drinking and whoring.

The Grand Tour | lithograph and watercolour | 25cm x 21m

The Deluge or the Left Behind As the world’s water levels rise, I think of the Biblical Flood and those who stood on the dwindling land and watched the Ark disappear over the horizon. We are told in the narrative these people were sinners, but presumably we only have Noah’s account.

The Deluge or the Left Behind | etching and watercolour | 31cm x 10cm


The forests are filled with wild men trying to get away from the artificiality of it all.

Woodwose | acrylic | 17cm x 23cm

Anthropolis | photogravure | 21cm x 48cm

+44 (0) 1463 783 230 art@kilmorackgallery.co.uk by beauly, inverness-shire iv4 7al

Profile for Kilmorack Gallery

Bound for other Isolations | Robert Powell | September 2019 | Kilmorack Gallery  

This catalogue celebrates the work of the visionary Scottish artists Robert Powell. This exhibition, 'Bound for other Isolations.' Exhibited...

Bound for other Isolations | Robert Powell | September 2019 | Kilmorack Gallery  

This catalogue celebrates the work of the visionary Scottish artists Robert Powell. This exhibition, 'Bound for other Isolations.' Exhibited...

Profile for kilmorack

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