Sunday, 15 September 2013

Robert Stewart - An Argyll Artist

Described as 'one of the foremost British designers of the second half of the 20th century', Robert (Bob) Stewart was a prolific and immensely productive Argyll artist and designer, as well as Head of Textiles and Design at Glasgow School of Art. His work spans textiles, ceramics, graphics, fine art, murals, mosaics and tapestries - his output was extraordinary. 
Stunning 'Raimoult' fabric hanging in the Burgh Hall
fraction of his extraordinarily diverse and beautiful output can be seen at a small but extensive exhibition at the Burgh Hall, Dunoon. Thanks to the hard work of curator Anne E. Ferguson,herself an artist and ex-student of Bob, this visually stunning exhibition has 'come home' to Cowal.  
Cushions made with Ardentinny (left) and Macrahanish (right) Linen Union fabrics
 The show is a treat for the eyes, with many references to Bob's love of his home environment in Cowal and Argyll, especially his striking textiles named after local places such as Kilmun or Glendaruel.
Anne E. Ferguson introduces Jimmy Cosgrove, a colleague and contemporary of
Robert Stewart who opened the exhibition
Small selection of Robert Stewart's ceramics
Running until 30th September you won't be disappointed if you pop in to have a look at one of Argyll's finest artists.
Detail from ceramic mural (1967), once displayed at the Douglas Academy
now needing a home!
More fabrics! (Top & left), Kilmun Linen Union, small 'Sun Man' cushion (right) &
'Striven' (front)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

It wasn't all tea and cakes....

Miss E does Art #1
Admittedly, we did drink a lot of tea and eat a fair amount of cake on our recent Manchester trip. However, we also managed to cram in some 'culture' as well. Top favourite - the Manchester Art Gallery on Quay Street - a cornucopia of new, old, traditional, avant garde, arts, crafts and more. Highlights included lolling about on benches staring at huge Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite paintings and hiding in dimly lit installations giggling - I never said we were connoisseurs!:
This one was big on drama - Alexander von Wagner's 'The Chariot Race'
Miss E does Art #2
Installation - Casten Höller's 'Drawing Game with Radio'
The Gallery of Craft and Design housed in a former Victorian theatre was filled with some truly beautiful stuff. Not only one of the architectural highlights of the Manchester Art Gallery, this gallery has a fantastic collection of over 1,300 objects from ancient pottery to the latest designs in furniture and lighting. 
Miss E admires the exquisite Harold Raby Collection of  English Enamels -
'dainty and pretty, quaint and curious'
The gorgeous Ultra Fraggola Mirror by Ettore Sottsass
Then we shuffled off to the exquisite and atmospheric late Victorian Gothic building that is the John Rylands Library - housing one of the greatest collections of manuscripts and printed works in the world including some of the oldest fragment of the New Testament, the Guttenberg Bibles, most of Caxton's works, the first edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets and more. This extraordinary building, possibly one of the most beautiful libraries ever, has a modern edifice stitched on to its side, providing visitors with a great cafe that serves a huge and rather good cup of tea....I'm sensing a theme here.....
The hushed corridors, John Rylands Library
Secret stairs, ornamental gates
Carved stone dome  - John Rylands Library
Decorative glass in window at the John Rylands Library
Old and new - buildings cleverly 'stitched' together
So, in summary, Manchester was mainly cups of tea, with the occasional cake thrown in and a delicious smattering of culture. We've already booked our next trip - Liverpool in October. Now, anyone know a good teashop?......

Argyll, photography, words