Joan Eardley: A Sense of Place
National Gallery show traces the life of one of Scotland's most popular artists, from Townhead to Catterline
As one of Scotland's most popular 20th century artists, Joan Eardley's passionate and expressive paintings capture the harsh realities of her ordinary life in the post-war period. This aptly titled exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland focuses on two divergent aspects of her practice; her brutally honest portraits of street children from the Townhead area of Glasgow, and her rugged landscapes set in the small Scottish fishing village of Catterline, near Aberdeen.
Eardley was one of a generation of artists drawn to poverty stricken, urban childhood and she often portrayed Glasgow's children against boarded up shops and buildings damaged by the war. She said of these children, 'They are Glasgow – this richness that Glasgow has – I hope it will always have … as long as Glasgow has this I'll always want to paint.' Eardley's landscapes share this gritty quality, painted onto huge sheets of board on location in all kinds of weather. Her aggressive brush-strokes veer close to abstract expressionism and capture Catterline's raw and unspoilt character.
Alongside the usual favourite paintings on loan from numerous public and private collections, an archive of unpublished sketches and photographs are also on display, giving viewers greater insight into the ideas behind her much loved paintings.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, Sat 3 Dec 2016–Sun 21 May 2017