Alison Watt: A Kind of Longing
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Alison Watt - A Kind of Longing
You may remember me talking about Alison Watt, one of my favourite contemporary artists and one of the best painters around, about 18 months ago, when her exhibition A Portrait Without Likeness was at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. An exhibition of new work, A Kind of Longing, is going to be on show at the Tristan Hoare Gallery in London from 3 February - 10 March. In it Watt will continue her 'conversation' with the works of portraitist Allan Ramsay which started in the earlier exhibition. In a similar way she interrogates individual objects abstracted from his paintings, sketchbooks and personal collections, almost as if they are clues, or pieces of evidence, carefully considering how meaning is constructed. Each piece sits somewhere between still life and portraiture, and invites us to question how we look, why we look, and what the mysterious quality of painting is that can create such magic.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Tristan Hoare and Paraffin, the gallery which represents Watt, as she has long hoped to show her work in a space designed by Robert Adam. The gallery in Fitzroy Square is the the perfect match, and a direct equivalent to the artist's light and airy studio in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town, one of those ideal products of the Age of Enlightenment.
After a brief introduction to Watt's earlier works, starting in 1987 when she won the National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Award while still a student at the Glasgow School of Art, and including her residency in the National Gallery in London (2006-8), we will focus on the paintings in the current exhibition.
Please remember, I do not record my talks.