Joan Eardley: A Sense of Place
Just back from a trip to Edinburgh to see a very special show.
Joan Eardley has fascinated, inspired and influenced me profoundly since I first came across her work at Aberdeen Art Gallery many, many years ago. Like me she was drawn again and again to what appear, at first, to be two very different subjects: social documentary (in Eardley’s case of inner city Glasgow) and wild landscape (North East Scottish coast).
So excited then to see the first major show of her work in a long time at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.
Much of the work on show is familiar from Christopher Andreae’s comprehensive 2013 book, but even then there are some surprises and, as ever, seeing paintings (and drawings, sketches and photographs) ‘in the flesh’ is revelatory compared with reproductions in books.
The beautiful ‘Boats on the Shore’, 1963 (see attached) was completely new to me and whilst the exhibition is full of wonderful paintings any show is necessarily selective so if you want to see the monumental ‘High Tide, A Winter Afternoon’, 1961, you’ll still need to head up to Aberdeen. Of course that means you can pop in to Catterline en route and see the place that inspired so much of Eardley’s landscapes and seascapes.
The show is divided roughly between the two great strands of her work, the street children and tenements of 1950s Glasgow and the remote fishing village of Catterline on the East Aberdeenshire coast.
Here then is a little taster….
….and my own (heavily influenced) picture of the Todhead lighthouse from Catterline made a few years back – part of the series ‘Dreich’