Arts and Culture

Calum McClure exhibition  – Somewhere Becoming Rain


IN his first major solo exhibition with the Glasgow Print Studio, Calum McClure explores ideas of place, transience and nature in his latest series of paintings, monotypes and etchings. The places where he walks and gathers images, through taking photographs, are predominantly parks and gardens, places that can be public or private; once private but now made public in the case of the country estates; places of botanical research or the private celebration of nature.

All inspire differing modes of depiction and evoke contrasting atmospheres. They share in common that they are places we use for specific purposes, even if that is merely recreation, and are not landscapes in the traditional sense of the word, nor are they wildernesses.

What interests him when in these places is usually something apparently simple, the shape of a branch overhanging a pool of water; the way rain falls; changing light or shadows patterning the ground. He does not make preparatory sketches or work en plein air over a period of time; in contrast he chooses to intensify the moment by using photography. These photographs are used as his initial stimulus and manipulated, blended and referred back to throughout his image making process.

During his time collecting source material for the exhibition McClure was reminded of the momentary imagery used by Philip Larkin in his poem, The Whitsun Weddings, its images described as if from a moving train. The pieces in the exhibition are by no means an illustration of the poem; rather, his paintings, monotypes and etchings explore the fleeting way we often perceive nature and place.

The viewer is immersed in a world of bright yellows and various blues with disorientating vanishing points. Although some pieces are abstract, the initial image remains the subject of the piece and McClure never works in complete abstraction. Colour is thought about deeply and in relation to nature.

McClure also looks at the human emotion we attach to certain types of weather. In this exhibition rain is his main preoccupation. Pieces such as Rain, Blue and Orange study rain in abstraction, creating a mood of melancholy and disquiet.

He is an artist who dreams as he sees and concentrates intensely as he paints, hopefully enabling others who view his work to be transported in a similar way. The images are positive, beautiful and lyrical, those of a precious environment to be nurtured, contemplated and celebrated.

Calum McClure was born in 1987 and graduated in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art in 2010. He was the winner of the 2011 Jolomo Painting Award, has had several successful exhibitions with The Scottish Gallery and was an invited artist at the Annual Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy in London in 2012.

Recently, he has been included in an exhibition of prints at the Royal Academy, London; had work in the major Scottish art societies’ annual exhibitions; had work exhibited at the RA Summer Exhibition 2016; won a prize at the inaugural W Gordon Smith Award for painting; and most recently exhibited work at the prestigious Flowers Gallery, London.

The exhibition runs at Glasgow Print Studio at Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD from 24 February – 08 April 2018

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