Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Scott Carruthers Exhibition

Scott Carruthers’ Solo Exhibition

We are pleased to be hosting the first solo exhibition of acrylic painter Scott Carruthers at Artery Gallery, beginning on 18th May! His exhibition will include a new body of work entitled ‘Paintings of Plastic Men’, the name inspired by Lowry’s ‘Paintings of Matchstick Men’.

Scott is a self-taught artist whose work became so popular that in 2009 he devoted himself to painting full-time. In this short time it is clear that his work has found its niche and resonated with people as his collections regularly sell out.

His signature style features child characters on a clean, white background, allowing the subjects to be the sole focus of the paintings. He says, ‘Painting the characters in a na├»ve, cartoon-like style helps represent the childhood aspect of the work, taking the seriousness out of the piece and at the same time accentuating the innocence of children. Scott says he is not sure how this particular style came about, but he knew that he wanted them to be simple, yet have something significant happening in them. ‘Keeping the landscape plain and white means there is no outside interference with the essence of the narrative. The focus is then solely on the characters themselves, all the same (as though they could easily just be one person), yet all painted as individuals.’

He calls his work ‘Nostalgic Observations’ as all of the subjects depict childhood and its simplicity. Scott draws inspiration from his own childhood memories and from his children, noting the similarities and differences between the generations.

His work is also largely influenced by the work of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock, even including tributes to their paintings in some of his work. He pays homage to Warhol in the sense of memories being the foundation for his work and also in depicting modern, iconic subjects such as LEGO people and plastic army men. Scott has created an entire series called ‘Artist Collection’ that pays tribute to some of his inspirations , incorporating aspects of their signature techniques and styles into his work.

Scott’s upcoming exhibition will be comprised of some of his classic work as well as his new ‘Paintings of Plastic Men’ series.

People have said that his figures have a similar look to LEGO people, so in this series, some of his ‘plastic men’ include the iconic children’s LEGO figures as well as other toy figures including plastic soldiers and table football players rather than human figures. His solo exhibition will begin on Wednesday18th May and the viewer will also have a chance to meet Scott and ask him about his work on Saturday 21st May from 1pm onwards. Pop into Artery Gallery at 43 South Street, St Andrews to meet Scott, see his exhibition and even bring home your own nostalgic bit of childhood. We look forward to seeing you!


Monday, 2 May 2011

Mike Hunter- Modern Twist on Traditional Glassblowing Techniques

What began as a childhood fascination for glass artist Mike Hunter became his self-taught profession. His work is proof of his dedication to the traditional techniques of the Italian masters and he is known for creating historically technical, gorgeous modern glasswork that has not been used commercially since the Victorian era. He describes his work as ‘…individual and contemporary blown vessels of elaborate adornment.’

Mike began his training as an apprentice at Wedgwood Glass of Kings Lynn, Norfolk from the age of seventeen. Even there the masters couldn’t answer his questions about the details of how some glasswork was made, and since then it became his mission to learn glassblowing techniques that would otherwise be lost through disuse. Mike views his experience in trial and error learning to have been invaluable to his current work. He said that ‘people’s conception of an artist usually revolve around some form of training’ but for him training is akin to restriction, and being self-taught he is able to set his own restrictions and limitations by what he can achieve in his work.

He now has his own studio, Twists Glass Studio, in Selkirk, which he opened in 1998. His favoured techniques involve cane-working, (working with rods of coloured glass) and he bases his pieces on the traditional designs of glassblowers from 16th and 17th century Italy and 18th century England. Through seven years of experimentation and dedication he has brought back the near lost technique of embedding coloured glass canes into the stems of glasses and tableware, such as these pieces in Artery Gallery.

He is also known for his use of zanfirico glassblowing, for which he has received numerous awards, including twice being named a finalist for the Glass Technology Award, among others, Zanfirico is an Italian decorative glassblowing technique involving intricate patterns of coloured glass canes arranged and twisted to comprise a pattern within a single glass cane. These new patterned canes are then used to create a glass work, such as the Zanfirico Vase displayed at Artery Gallery.

We have several pieces by Mike Hunter, as well as other glass artists, at Artery Gallery. Mike’s vases are consistently popular, especially his Zanfirico vase, and his impeccable technique makes the colour appear to be floating, supported by clear glass. It is the zanfirico technique that gives the smooth glass vase a textured, woven appearance. Another of Mike’s eye-catching vases is his Murrine Vase, which is made of brightly coloured cross sections of canes, forming unique patterns on a smooth surface.

Glass art has the advantage of being both practical and beautiful by nature. At Artery we also have a selection of his glassware and other table art, including a variety of wine glasses, pitchers and decanters, all painstakingly handmade of the finest quality. His wine glasses are made with intertwined coloured rods forming the interior of the stems. Additionally we have a collection of his Milli pieces, which is a term used to describe glass decorated with slices of coloured canes embedded in clear molten glass, which produces a distinctive decorative pattern of glassware that often resembles flowers. The Milli pieces displayed in Artery include tumblers, tall glasses as well as a pitcher, bright and summery, perfect for an outdoor party.

Knowing the techniques and the precision behind Mike’s glass work, one can better appreciate the handmade designs and patterns in each of his pieces. Pop in to Artery and have a look at Mike’s work. You may possibly find your own piece of traditional, modern glasswork.