The Scotts exhibition

Curated by: Emilia Will

The Scotts Exhibition currently installed in the Norman Rea gallery is a vibrant and powerful display. Unlike the previous installations, Michael and Eileen Scott’s works leaves the walls awash with striking and effervescent colouring.

Michael’s paintings are on the whole more abstract than those his wife, Eileen. Some pieces, such as ‘Feden II’ centred around bold, diametric linear lines in addition to contrasting glowing oranges and darker browns, surpass comprehension. In others such as ‘Winter Hill II’, however, representations are more visible through the shroud of fragmentation, and lend more to the initial glance. It is in these such paintings, that the influence of Fauvists that Michael has at times been associated has manifested, and bold colourings reminiscent of Henri Matisse.

But it is the equilibrium between these two extremes that are can be most satisfying, such as ‘Cnut at bay’, in which the title’s subject opaquely looms from the misted background in more than one sector of the canvas. ‘Tree Diptych parts I and II’ are a particularly commanding pair of paintings. The dichotomy of violence and tranquillity in the two paintings is evocative, in part provided by the dissolution of the strict vertical and horizontal axis’s from part I to II.

Eileen Scott’s works, on the contrary, are less intangible. Though never archetypal, her still-life’s are more conventional than some of Michael’s works, but the interest lies in the nuances. She has written how her ambition was to catch the “vital essence” of the subject, and though not paraphrasing her paints, does provide a handle in her works. This glowing quality she seeks is unmistakable in the flourishing pink spray of her ‘White Chrysanthemums”. In these still-life’s, the eye is consistently drawn to a central subject in the painting through its colouring being so remarkably contrasted to the rest of the piece.

Her most powerful ability is to breathe new life into the most mundane of scenes. Her ‘Railway Visit Part I and II’ are saved from being snapshots of the quotidian by single features or facets brought to new levels by inspired alternative colourings. Single pillars are shown to reflect a sparkling blueish sunlight, opposing the grey backdrop.

What can be most fascinating, though, is the way in which Michael and Eileen’s paintings interact with each other. The fragmentation and presence of opposing forces in Eileen’s ‘Red Abstract’ typifies the themes many of Michael’s works adopt. Likewise, parallels can be drawn between Eileen’s still-life’s and Michael’s less abstract works in regards to colouring.

The Norman Rea’s current exhibition therefore provides flashes of vibrancy that are most welcome in the less than drab aesthetic surrounding of Langwith, and the gallery committee must be congratulated for putting on such an exhibition.

Click here for more information on the Scotts Exhibition and the Norman Rea Gallery’s events.

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