Peter Howson - Andrew: Portrait of a Saint (2 stars)

City Arts Centre, Edinburgh, until Sun 4 Mar

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PAINTING DRAWING

Peter Howson’s recent works have carried a strong religious theme. This exhibition is evidence of that, featuring as it does a large number of paintings, drawings and sketches, all dedicated to the Scottish patron saint. Howson represents the religiously significant figure of Saint Andrew in his signature bold, comic book style - a large painting of the saint and cross as centrepiece to the exhibition.

The large selection of works are evidence of his obsession with subject and technique, the image of the culturally historical figure - neither on or off the cross - resonates throughout the gallery in the number of the works that repeat the same scene in various renderings. The exhibition goes some way to addressing the perceived ignorance toward the Scottish patron saint, but the faded traditions of religious painting prove detrimental to the work.

Howson’s ideals and beliefs seem to be clouded by consumerism in an exhibition that sits on a knife-edge between religious obsession and the comodification of religious iconography.

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