Art is in the eye of the beholder

Art is in the eye of the beholder

By Tracey Robertson, Urbane Art Gallery

Henri Matisse once said creativity takes courage.

It also takes a certain amount of courage to exhibit abstract art in your gallery, and the more avant garde it is the more daring you need to be. One has to ask oneself, “will the viewing public like this as much as I do, and will they want to buy it?”

There is no hard and fast rule about what people will like because art is in the eye of the beholder. What fascinates and delights some art lovers will not be to other people’s taste. Art is bought for different reasons – as an investment; to flaunt, in the same way as a posh car or designer watch; because the buyer loves it; or simply because it matches their decor. There is nothing wrong with any of these as long as the buyer is happy.

Contemporary art that’s grounded by a classical training or traditional talent is very popular today. Conceptual art, on the other hand, where there is nothing but a plain black canvas or a pile of bricks on the floor, is not to many people's taste. You won't find that at Urbane Art Gallery - although some of our artists' work may be viewed as unconventional or even, in some cases, outlandish.

We try to choose artists who are new to the Edinburgh scene, so we can offer something different and unique. We are just as happy to exhibit emerging artists with a bright future, as we are to display the work of established national and international painters or sculptors.

“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” - Pablo Picasso.

Here’s a little bit about four very different artists who are or have been featured by us in the gallery. So Fu, a French artist whose work has been exhibited all over the world, had his first ever UK exhibition in our gallery here in Edinburgh – a real coup for the Urbane Art Gallery. His work, which has been described as a mix of urban graffitti and classicism, has had a mixed response – it's not to everyone's taste, but some people simply adore it, and he is becoming very popular worldwide. (Image 1)

Louise Giblin MRBS, studied art and sculpture at Brighton and Chelsea Art College. Her subject matter focuses on the human form, incorporating real life body casts of famous - and some not so famous - people. Her models have included well-known politicians, musicians, top sports people, television celebrities, dancers and businessmen. This summer we will be exhibiting for the first time in Scotland the torsos of Olympian and Commonwealth gold medallists Dame Kelly Homes and Kriss Akabusi MBE. Her complex sculptures and drawings have been exhibited in London, the USA and Hong Kong. (Images 2 and 3)

Egyptian artist Hossam Dirar's body of work focuses on the inner beauty of women. Through divergent colour spectrums and varying brushstrokes, he captures the ups and downs of daily life, illuminating the strength of character of the women posing for him. His work is a subtle narrative of intimacy and warmth that is neither abstract nor figurative; the compositions are created and assembled almost in a series of frames and moving images rather than stills. (Image 4 and 5)

Rosie Playfair graduated in Graphic Design at Dundee Art College, and she describes her eclectic and stylised work as more ‘designerly’ than ‘painterly’. Rosie gave up painting and drawing for 25 years in favour of marketing and PR, ultimately running a successful PR company. Persuaded by a friend to revisit her artistic side a few years ago, Rosie is now in demand as an artist, with her work held in collections in Scotland, London, Paris and St Tropez. (Image 6)

We encourage feedback from gallery visitors and listen very carefully to people’s comments – so come on down and take a look and the work we have on display.

Urbane Art Gallery is based at 25 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh. For more information call 0131 556 8379.


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