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ArtLothian LifeReview

The Ladies of the Line

By 21 May 2012No Comments

The Line Gallery in Linlithgow has a new exhibition running until 8th June and it is headlined by a local artist.
Colin Wilson was born in Falkirk but has spent of his life in Linlithgow.  A graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Colin blurs the boundary between realism and abstraction. 
Nine of the eleven of Colin’s works which are on show are still lives portraying one of his great passions, food and cookery.  These small scale paintings present the traditional subject of bowls of fruit or vegetables, always richly and powerfully coloured and lined up usually with a light-reflecting pot or jar in rounded solidity.  The pot, the glass, the jar are as tangible and as present as the glorious fruit.  The fruit and the receptacle however stand against a flat, mat, abstract background, often in pastel or washed-out but gentle colours.  The result is that the vitality of the luscious, central subject is emphasised and sharpened.
The style of his other two works is similar but the content is contrasting.  Nurses presents, in one corner, a portrait of three nurses, in the style of the 1920s, as if torn from a monochrome photograph.  The remainder of the painting however is an abstract of shapes in that pastel format which characterises his fruit paintings.  The monochrome nurses are smiling.  They appear happy, contented characters but the surrounding abstraction creates an ambiguity.  Similarly, All that Jazz illustrates, in photographic monochrome, a happy, wholesome family, father, mother, pig-tailed daughter, likely from the 1930s.  Again however the seeming contentment is brought into question by the abstract surround.  The emotions these works arouse are not harsh or troubling but they deny simplistic interpretations.  They question our perceptions of the past, of that land of content and security.
Lorna Pirrie is a recent graduate of Edinburgh College Art and her interest in photography and photorealism makes her work ideal for pairing with Colin Wilson’s.  Five acrylics and two watercolours, concentrating on portraiture, make up her contribution to this exhibition.  The Three Musketeers is a smile-inducing portrait of three dogs looking out of the boot of a car.  Angela with an Agate Earring 2012 is a play of The Girl with the Pearl Earring21st Century Knights presents two wonderful young men against a background of Edinburgh Castle on a sunny day.  Their slightly goitrous eyes, the hoodie, the baseball cap, should all suggest an underlying menace or threat, but here the ambiguity takes the viewer in another direction.  The Castle, the bright blue sky, the leaf-filled trees in The Gardens, all suggest that all is well in the world and these are indeed 21st century knights.
Her fresh approach and eye for detail are most keenly illustrated however in The Ladies of The Line 2012, a portrait of Gail and Elizabet, the owners of The Line Gallery, along with CJ (aka the Wee Scunner)one of  their hounds.  Unlike the remainder of the work on display this fine piece is not for sale.
The Line has again proved the capacity of a small, local gallery to show work of distinction and has mounted a fine exhibition which would well repay a trip to Linlithgow.

The above article first appeared in Lothian Life on 16 May 2012:

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