I had to be in Embra today and Son #1 wanted me to go to the RSA 2011 Exhibition. He’s a big John Byrne fan and he’d heard there were a few of his pieces, which indeed there were. It is worth going to see, if for nothing else but the wide range of art on show and for sale. Some of it was breathtaking, some puzzling, some just plain weird, and some I’d have bought like a shot if I had a few thousand to spare. A Hunting Lodge by Ken Currie was dark and sinister. The Iain Stewarts studies of Cape Wrath were dramatic, and Bridget Steel’s pieces were almost gruesome but too interesting to be so, if that makes sense. Lots more that I liked but don’t remember the names. I do struggle with modern or conceptual art unless it makes me smile and there were one or two of those.
Then we went on to the Shadows of the Divine exhibition at New College, my alma mater. This incorporates the Methodist Art Collection which I have on postcard but it was great to see in full size. And there were also some paintings by Scottish artists for sale: another John Byrne too. The collection featured art by Graham Sutherland, Georges Rouault, Craigie Aitchison, Elisabeth Frink, Peter Howson and Eric Gill among others. It was mostly quite modern and some abstract and it was really the little Gill which I’d have taken home if I could.
And you know I felt much better at the end of it all. Tired by happy. Really must do this more often. And it made me want to paint. Desperately.