Alasdair Gray & Alasdair Taylor: The Two Alasdairs (3 stars)

Alasdair Gray & Alasdair Taylor: The Two Alasdairs

Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow School of Art, until Sat 10 Jan


Underrated for many years, Alasdair Gray is now rightly hailed as an artist of note. This exhibition will bring him further plaudits, but what about the other Alasdair of the show’s title?
Alasdair Taylor, who died in 2007, was Gray’s equally talented friend at Glasgow School of Art. As the exhibition demonstrates, the pair did not share an aesthetic. Indeed, Gray’s ‘The Two Alasdairs’, a beautifully economical pen and ink drawing of himself and his friend, is stylistically light years away from Taylor’s work.

Inspired by Abstract Expressionism and COBRA, among others, Taylor executed large-scale oil paintings as well as smaller assemblages. The gallery space has been roughly divided between the two men, and the contrast between Gray’s early painting, ‘Three People Setting a Table’, and Taylor’s pop-influenced works from 1970 is startling.

This exhibition provides a taste of Taylor’s art, but also shows that he deserves a space entirely his own. It’s hard to follow the links from his early self-portrait, featuring such thick impasto that it is more a sculpture than a painting, through to his collage works with their bright, straight-from-the-tube dashes of abstract colour and snippets of text. A dedicated exhibition would allow the viewer to join the dots.

The Two Alasdairs

  • 3 stars

Exhibition of the work of Alasdair Gray and his long-time friend Alasdair Taylor, who both trained at Glasgow School of Art in the 1950s. The exhibition reunites the work of these two aesthetically divergent artists, a tribute to their life-long friendship and sustained intellectual collaboration.

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