Edinburgh’s artistic landscape is composed of a broad variety of spaces; established institutions such as The National Galleries of Scotland, artist run spaces, museums, artist’s studios and nestled down Dundas Street sits a string of contemporary commercial galleries. The Torrance Gallery was founded in 1970, being one of the first contemporary spaces on Dundas Street, a street filled with creatives and artistic activity. Recently, the gallery has come under new ownership through the Edinburgh Drawing School, as Jo and Brian Torrance are retiring, Director Fiona McCrindle will now be running the space.
The opening exhibition to mark the takeover features a blend of Scottish artists; Torrance regular Ken Ferguson alongside Nancy Turnbull and Allison Young, both new to exhibiting at the gallery. An intimate space greets the viewer upon entry, with art work on every expanse of wall. Ferguson’s work lines the initial gallery space, his finely executed watercolours depicting regions of Scotland such as Arran and Loch Ard, contrasting with sites in Venice such as the Bridge of Sighs. Set alongside one another, the scenes are composed of a pleasantly restricted colour palette of pale blue and yellow hues. Proportion and perspective are key to the work, with an absence of visible brushstroke marks in favour of a refined painterly execution by the artist.
Taking the viewer through to the adjacent room is Allison Young’s work. A strong contrast to Ferguson’s pieces in terms of technique and scale, Young’s canvases are bold and rich oil colours which hang confidently without a frame. Also depicting places in Scotland, Young’s work documents places such as the Yellowcraigs and Aberlady. Mostly coastal depictions within the exhibition, horizon lines draw the viewer’s eye across the expansive canvases. Yet she has adapted the traditional Scottish landscape to include a daring combination of brilliant pinks and moody purples to depict otherwise dreich scenes. Her oil on canvas rests on a smooth application process, allowing the colours to take centre stage.
Alongside Young’s work, sits Nancy Turnball’s. A marked contrast in terms of technique and brush work, Turnball adopts a far more energetic and textured technique in the application of her paint. Her works are smaller yet contain an energy within her brush strokes alone. Working in oils and through utilising a combination of palette knives, rags and brushes; Turnball works instinctively to capture a feeling of a place through colour combinations and the textures of paint. Although small in scale, upon close inspection the viewer can see the sheer build up of layers that forms the depicted scenes. A quaint painting of Princes Street Gardens hangs in the window and as the light falls over it, the paint glistens and shines with the viewer’s movement.
Distinct in their approach, yet similar in their choice of Scottish depictions and locations, the three artists are an apt combination for what the Edinburgh Drawing School will bring to The Torrance Gallery.
Exhibition continues 23rd March – 6th April 2019, for more information, click here