Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Artery Gallery Celebrates Two Years in St Andrews

Throughout the end of May, Artery Gallery on South Street are celebrating what has been an exciting and enjoyable second year in the town.

The many locals and overseas visitors to have visited the gallery have showed great excitement and support since the opening in the town in May 2006. The continued growth and variety of local, national and international artists has been the major factor in Artery Gallery’s development from the early beginnings of the Crieff gallery to the expansion of the St Andrews branch.

Together with the addition of popular Scottish landscape painters Martin Devine, Jane Duckfield and John Wetten-Brown, Artery Gallery has also introduced two renowned International artists. Italian painter and cloud appreciation society member Alberto Bertoldi was introduced to exhibiting in Scotland last year with great anticipation. His photo-realistic oil paintings of storm building and sunburst clouds transfix the viewer with their immense beauty. Alberto has arranged over 30 exhibitions of his work across Italy and has also had books published based solely on his cloud paintings.

Following on from Alberto Bertoldi, was the arrival of Alexandros Arabatzoglou, a truly renowned sculptor from Crete and heralded by many in the art world as the Cretian Henry Moore. Alexandros’ sculptures have been sold to private collectors all over the world, and demand for his work has been such that he has not exhibited in a gallery for nearly nine years, despite offers from some of the worlds most prestigious galleries. However, after striking up a relationship with Artery Gallery, Alexandros decided to end his gallery exile by exhibiting one of his hand carved sculptures in their St Andrews branch.

The Director of Artery Gallery explains “After meeting with Alexandros in Crete last year, I was amazed at his drive, passion and enthusiasm for his work and his art. For him, creating his sculpture is like breaking down to the bare bones of his inner soul, using his hands to carve into the stone and creating an extension of himself within each individual sculpture”. He adds “Here at Artery Gallery, we are always looking to expand on the superb catalogue of talent we exhibit, and inviting Alexandros to join us, knowing of the interest he has gained, is exciting for the gallery, for St Andrews, and for world art exhibited in Scotland”.

The collection of seascape paintings by Colin Carruthers have gained popularity with every one of his exhibitions, and during the last year this has seen Colin grant Artery Gallery with exclusive exhibiting rights for Scotland.

Handmade Jewellery has continued to show great popularity in the St Andrews Gallery with Artery exhibiting works from over 10 different jewellers, stretching from Brazil to Israel, as well as those from a little closer to home such as Dunfermline, Crieff, Oban and Stirling! All very different and unique in techniques, materials and style.

Artery Gallery has been a major supporter of contemporary Scottish artists over the past few years from the gallery in King Street, Crieff and their award winning website, and continues to boost artist profiles by introducing them to the busy Scottish town of St Andrews where it’s UK and overseas visitors can see some of the best contemporary artwork first hand.

Artery Gallery at 43 South Street, St Andrews (01334 478221) and 22 King Street, Crieff (01764 655722).


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Rob Mulholland - Sculpture for Scotland

Rob Mulholland has been exhibiting successfully at Artery Gallery with his metal work for nearly three years. The vibrancy, and craftsmanship of his bowls in particular proving a real hit all year round.

He has recently had eight sculptures commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and Forestry Commission Scotland. The brief was to create representations of animals and birds as part of the natural food chain in the forest. The brief allowed for a certain degree of abstraction of the forms as long as they were still recognisable to the public.

Rob says, "My proposal aimed to develop each sculpture individually utilising different materials and methodology. I felt that it was also important to vary the scale and placing of each sculpture to add variety and interest to the trail."

The whole project has taken four months from the planning stage in January 2008 to the installation of the work and final completion at the end of April 2008.

The first of Rob's sculptures to be installed at the trail is the giant 'Osprey'. He explains, "With this sculpture I wanted to explore the form and movement of the bird. As the ideas developed I thought that it would be an interesting to construct the bird out of the type of small twigs that they collect to build their nests. I was keen to switch the materials and decided to use 6 and 8mm steel rode. The freedom offered by welding these small interlocking pieces allowed me to create varied masses within the form of the sculpture which makes the shape change as one moves around the Osprey. From certain angles the form becomes more abstracted."

Rob Mulholland was interviewed on BBC's 'Landward' programme which aired in May, by Nick Nairn on the installation of the Osprey sculpture, the first of eight for the new Loch Ard cycle trail in the Trossachs.

Rob's work can be purchased online at http://www.arteryuk.com/artists/Mulholland,Rob/

Friday, 2 May 2008

Buying Handmade Over The Mass Produced

The rapid rise of the large chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us furnishing and dressing alike. It’s almost like the consumer is being told what to buy because the shelves are full with goods of all the same design and colour as the next shop. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost.

Mass production has always been with us, generally speaking as a way of ensuring quality. But this has not always been the case. Taking printing as an example, the earliest printers initially showed perfectionist tendencies, probably because the hand operated press machine and letter stamps were all created by hand to do the job. In the late sixteenth century, printing began to turn into an industry. It was largely considered at the time that these industrial printing practices should never allow commercial considerations to lower the typographical standard of books and printed documents.

But things inevitably went the other way in the nineteenth century after the invention of the steam press. The necessity to produce cheaper books and newspapers meant that standards fell, and mass production began to gain its poor reputation. It was during the nineteenth century that artist and writer William Morris began to worry that mechanised production was taking away opportunities for individual creativity, and to almost dehumanise people's working and social lives. Morris planned to counter these apparent problems with a revival of handicrafts. Numerous craft based associations, guilds and communities were founded, and the idea of something being hand made all of a sudden became rather fashionable. The customers for these hand made products were of course the better off for this change.

A memorial to what became known as the ‘Arts and Crafts Movement’ is now preserved at Standen in Sussex, a grand house decorated by William Morris himself.

It is often considered that buying a handmade gift involves that little bit more consideration and thought. You buy into something that is a unique, one off creation, and in today’s world that is still consumed by mass produced goods, it makes it all the more satisfying.

A handmade craft, whether it’s in the form of a painting, clock, pottery or jewellery, will be chosen for its pure individuality and will instantly reflect the personality of the purchaser.

If it has been purchased for the purpose of a gift, the buyer may well feel the satisfaction of supporting an artist or craftsperson as well as being confident of giving something of quality and uniqueness. Likewise, the recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is clearly absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.

If you are looking to buy, whether for yourself or someone else, buying handmade can help us reconnect with ourselves and therefore certainly better for both maker and buyer.

Above: Allan Craig Arts and Craft style copper clocks, mirrors and sconces
Top of post: Kerry Whittle, John McPhail and Tim Fowler