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Geoff Uglow Letters from Barra


Geoff Uglow Letters from Barra 2 March – 2 April 2011

The Scottish Gallery 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ Tel 0131 558 1200 Email mail@scottish-gallery.co.uk www.scottish-gallery.co.uk

Front cover: 01.12.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


Foreword

Geoff Uglow was supposed to be a farmer. He was raised on a North Cornish farm between Exmoor and Dartmoor and close to the smugglers’ coast of Boscastle and Tintagel that throngs with tourists in the summer but provides good surf all year round. There is something in Uglow’s mindset as a painter which could be the inheritance of his practical, rural boyhood. He understands that toil is part of the process of making art; that hard work will be rewarded and that there is something in the materials of his craft: his paint, brushes and the clean, rectangular surfaces on which he works that is akin to a farmer’s soil and good seed. He has clarity of vision which helps him know when a picture is working; that he can trust the process of making marks. In the same spirit he has laid out an Italian rose garden beside the fast-rising studio he is building on his father’s farm – planned in the

certainty that what he is doing is valuable. Hard work and vision are the parents of creativity. While he is now back in his native country for most of the last decade he has lived in Scotland and Italy. He has enjoyed considerable commercial success and gathered some of the glittering prizes that his prodigious talent has justified. Most recently he won the Alastair Salvesen Prize which culminated with an exhibition at the RSA in Edinburgh for which he travelled in the footsteps of William Daniell whose great project to record the highlights of the British coastline was published in books of aquatints from 1814. The project was not grandiose being rather rooted in the artist’s love of the drama of the sea. It did however necessitate an extraordinary serial engagement with some of the most dramatic and remote places on the Scottish coast. The results were spectacular and the


experience will yield material, particularly etchings, for which Uglow has plans to publish books of images like Daniell, for many years to come. In the aftermath and with his forthcoming show here very much in mind the artist sought something different – a counterpoint to the frenetic seeing and painting which characterised his coastal journey – a deeper engagement with one place. Through a happy introduction he and his sculptor wife Emma moved into a house at North Bay on Barra for six weeks in November last year and Uglow was able to immerse himself in one magical isle. To walk the island, beachcomb, catch pollock off the rocks, talk to the fishermen in the Castlebay hotel and let the particular light available only in a Hebridean Winter seep into his soul. And he worked; the son of the soil has no time to luxuriate in idleness somehow in anticipation of inspiration, happily or unhappily awaited. No, Uglow understands his subject and sees its poetry revealed through work. Practical considerations meant that it was impossible to paint in oils but Uglow brought instead a giant roll of high quality paper and acrylic paints and blocks of handmade watercolour paper and set to. The eight monumental paintings which form the basis

of this show are made in a confident new language; each has a motif, each belongs to a particular day but they are all far from topographical. In some works elements of the real landscape is apparent; the ancient burial ground at Borve with the Atlantic view opening up beyond, or the brief, brilliant morning sunshine over Seal Bay. Otherwise the work is abstract; the motif is the colour of the wrack against the light, tossed by the breakers, or the brown/purple light of a Hebridean dusk. These paintings are not tentative or imaginative nor are they a reaction against the landscape. They are as certain of their location both emotional and poetic and as confident in their chosen language as Rothko or Pollock. The smaller works are perfectly-formed depictions of a particular moment; when the old crofter next door lights his kitchen window at dusk; Kisimul Castle looming in the twilight bay; the few trees by the burn coming down to North Bay point the way into the interior hills; the shadow masses of off-shore islands mark cool-time on the horizon. These are the artist’s Letters from Barra, each a poetic contemplation of time and place made permanent. Guy Peploe Managing Director, The Scottish Gallery


03.12.10 acrylic on paper 18.5 x 28.5 cms


05.12.10 acrylic on paper 10.5 x 21.5 cms


06.12.10 acrylic on paper 13 x 22.5 cms


07.12.10 acrylic on paper 19 x 28.5 cms


08.12.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


10.11.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


01.12.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


10.12.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


11.11.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


12.11.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


11.12.10 acrylic on paper 18.5 x 28 cms


12.12.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


14.11.10 acrylic on paper 28 x 38.5 cms


14.12.10 acrylic on paper 19.5 x 28 cms


15.11.10 acrylic on paper 20 x 28.5 cms


15.12.10 acrylic on paper 18.5 x 28 cms


16.11.10 acrylic on paper laid on linen 121.9 x 152.4 cms


17.11.10 acrylic on paper 29.5 x 39 cms


17.12.10 acrylic on paper 19 x 28 cms


18.11.10 acrylic on paper 14 x 19.5 cms


19.11.10 acrylic on paper 14.5 x 18.5 cms


20.11.10 acrylic on paper 14 x 19 cms


21.11.10 acrylic on paper 13 x 19.5 cms


22.11.10 acryilc on paper 28.5 x 38.5 cms


23.11.10 acrylic on paper 28 x 37.5 cms


28.11.10 acrylic on paper 19.5 x 28 cms


30.11.10 acrylic on paper 29.5 x 38 cms


Geoff Uglow Selected Biography 1978

Born, Cornwall, United Kingdom

1997-2000 1996-1997

Educated BA Hons Painting, Glasgow School of Art Falmouth School of Art

2011 2010 2010 2008 2007 2006 2005 2005 2002 2001 1999

Solo Exhibitions Letters From Barra, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh Coda Connaught Brown, London Coda Royal Scottish Academy, Edinbrugh Fathom Connaught Brown Gallery, London Being Here Now The Edinburgh Gallery Fabulae Narrare: Telling Stories Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow Mostra - Recent Works The British School at Rome Ego Sum The Edinburgh Gallery Spent Light The Edinburgh Gallery Nor’Loch Veiled The Edinburgh Gallery Recent Paintings Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow Guyana Paintings Assembly Gallery, Glasgow School of Art

2006 2004 2003

Selected Group Exhibitions Responding to Rome – British Artists in Rome Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London Melt The British School at Rome Arte e Architettura Contemporanea Nel Centro Storico e Nel Paessaggio Academia Nazionale di San Luca Rome Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition Edinburgh


2002 2001 2000

The Laing Art Show The Mall Gallery, London Artists of the British School at Rome The British School at Rome Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition Edinburgh The Hunting Art Prize The Royal College of Art, London The Royal Glasgow Institute Annual Exhibition Glasgow Young Scottish Painters Phillips Art Dealers, Edinburgh The Royal Glasgow Institute Annual Exhibition Glasgow New Scottish Art The Compass Gallery, Glasgow Art and Sound - a collaboration The Changing Room, Stirling

2009 2002-04 2002 2001 2000 1998

Awards and Residencies Alastair Salvesen Art Scholarship, Royal Scottish Academy Sainsbury Scholarship, The British School at Rome Royal Scottish Academy, John Murray Thomson Award Royal Scottish Academy, NS Macfarlane Charitable Trust Award Royal Glasgow Institute, David Cargill Award The John Cunningham Award James Torrance Memorial Award The Murdoch Gibbons Postgraduate Prize The McKendrick Scholarship Royal Glasgow Institute Travel Scholarship RWA Student Bursary Royal Scottish Academy Landscape Award Armour Painting Prize


Collections Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow Royal Scottish Academy Collection Royal Bank of Scotland HBOS Collection Private collections in the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States Published by The Scottish Gallery to coincide with the exhibition Geoff Uglow, Letters from Barra 2 March – 2 April 2011 Exhibition can be viewed online at www.scottish-gallery.co.uk/geoffuglow ISBN 978-1-905146-50-5 Designed by www.kennethgray.co.uk Printed by Stewarts All rights reserved. No part of this catalogue may be reproduced in any form by print, photocopy or by any other means, without the permission of the copyright holders and of the publishers.

16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ Tel 0131 558 1200 Email mail@scottish-gallery.co.uk Web www.scottish-gallery.co.uk



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