The Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery presents City, a mixed-show by five artists who explore, in diverse and challenging ways, different facets of the modern city: its topography, its architecture, its social spaces, its shifting energies, and unexpected congruities.
Here are cityscapes that compel the viewer to revaluate the way in which we perceive metropolitan life.
Tyrone Layne’s oil-painted crowd-scenes, suggest a world in which it is the human-figure that defines the urban space, as opposed to the material forms of buildings and streets.
Barbara MacFarlane uses the aerial-perspective employed both by the desert-painters of Aboriginal Australia and western cartographers to transform familiar city-plans into works of colourful semi-abstraction, alive with meaning and memory.
Emma Haworth’s meticulously envisioned urban scenes – usually of park life – combine elements of naïve simplification with wonderful truth to the light and dynamic of the scene, in both its physical and its human aspects. Narrative lurks beneath the myriad incidents of the surface in a way that (as critics have observed) recalls Breughel and other Northern Renaissance artists.
Roy Wright’s cityscapes, drawn in charcoal or soft pencil, are bravura feats of composition and execution, achieving an extraordinary intensity through their scrupulous accretion of architectural detail.
Alasdair Wallace conjures up a more mysterious metropolitan world, its apparent familiarity saturated, and subverted, with the surrealism of the everyday.
Even more oblique is the work of the ground-breaking digital-artist and print-maker Phil Shaw. Shaw tracks his way across the urban realm with his brilliant series of hyper-real bookshelf prints, each ‘shelf’ charting the length of an Underground line – whether in London, New York, Paris, Hong Kong or Mosco - with books containing the names of the relevant tube-stations arranged sequentially and coloured appropriately.
City – in its variety of unique viewpoints – offers something of the richness and energy of urban life itself.
The exhibition will run at our Charlotte Street gallery from Thursday 3 until Saturday 26 May.