An Tobar Gallery
16 September - 25 November 2017An Tobar Gallery, Tobermory, Isle of Mull. PA75 6PB.
Artist, teacher, curator and advocate for Scottish art, Sam Ainsley taught for twenty-five years at the Glasgow School of Art, including five years in the groundbreaking Environmental Art Course. Subsequent to this she was the co-founder of the GSA's Master of Fine Art course with Roger Palmer, Sandy Moffat and John Calcutt. The list of alumni for her time as a teacher (Douglas Gordon, Claire Barclay, Nathan Coley, Christine Borland, Ross Sinclair etc) could be seen, to a large extent, to define Scottish contemporary art. In addition to time served in education, she has continued to work as an artist, exhibiting internationally. Her influence and ongoing contribution to art and education, has been recognised this year through her election to the Royal Scottish Academy and with a prestigious Saltire award as one of Scotland's outstanding women.
Sam Ainsley has chosen An Tobar gallery in Tobermory as the venue in which to present her first solo exhibition in Scotland for thirty years. Set in a small harbour town in the light and space of the Hebridean Isles, this choice of location seems to reflect the content of her paintings as contemplations of scale from the microscopic to the geographic which she terms "from the micro to the macro". Her images are an exploration of the human relationship with the world and with the experience of living. Notions of human existence are scrutinised and re-formed visually through multiple themes, nature, landscape, the human body, politics and feminism, in an ongoing process that she has described as "emotional mapping".
The intimate nature of An Tobar's gallery lends itself to artists presenting exhibitions of multiple two-dimensional works, enabling them at the same time to occupy the space to form a single installation. Taking full advantage of the gallery's high walls, what the artist gives us here is a unique painted environment. This will include shaped and grouped canvasses climbing from low to high across the room and a red painted wall with a five metre square drawing that imagines islands which reference Madeleine de Scudery’s ‘Map of Tenderness’. A map of an Arcadia where the geography is all based around the theme of love.
"An Tobar is delighted to have the opportunity to present this exhibition of new work by one of the most influential figures in Scottish contemporary art. The themes of many of these paintings are powerful and deeply personal referring to the vulnerability and fears that are so much a part of human life. Sam Ainsley has put in a tremendous effort and produced 45 canvasses for the exhibition, the energy within the work is almost tangible."
- Mike Darling (curator)
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