Popular exhibition goes virtual, in art’s lockdown landscape
Thursday, May 14th, 2020
on behalf of Project Work and Other Clients
Show of landscape painter’s work gets a boost, thanks to Scottish PR agency
A FORWARD-thinking gallery has launched its first virtual exhibition – to save an annual fixture which is one of the most popular in its calendar.
Lockdown forced the cancellation of the annual solo show by renowned contemporary landscape artist, Scott Naismith, which is a highlight at Morningside Gallery in Edinburgh.
Now the Scottish abstract artist, has recorded a series of frank and insightful messages about each of the 21 paintings involved, so that art-lovers can still get the chance to immerse themselves in his work, even from home.
To personalise the online event even further, the venue will also host a launch event via Zoom, allowing gallery-goers and art lovers to rub shoulders online with Naismith and the gallery staff and to put their questions to the artist.
Eileadh Swan, owner of the popular gallery in the capital’s Morningside Road said that creating the virtual exhibition had been an exciting challenge for her and gallery manager, Sally Pattrick.
She added: “Scott’s annual show is a big deal for the gallery and we were sad to miss out on the usual fun that the opening afternoon brings. Every year we host a meet the artist event in the gallery and it is an opportunity to catch up with friends and visitors.
“So, we decided to source some virtual gallery software that would allow us to show Scott’s paintings ‘hung’ in a virtual gallery space. To make the whole thing more personalised and immersive, Scott has even provided audio recordings about each of the paintings which are also part of the virtual exhibition.
“If someone wants to know more about a particular painting, they can click on it and the artist can be heard talking. We will also do some handheld filming of our gallery interior with the paintings hung to provide another way for people to engage with the paintings.”
The mum-of-one, who has worked in the gallery since 2006 and became owner in 2018, said she and colleague Sally had used their lockdown time to get familiar with the software and to customise the exhibition.
That makes it as simple as possible for exhibition goers to easily view Naismith’s highly colourful works – in a style described as “atmospheric abstraction” – while also getting access to technical descriptions and the artist’s own audio description of what inspired each work.
Eileadh added: “Being able to speak with or hear from the artist is so important, particularly for launch events. So, on opening day, we’ll also host an informal webinar using Zoom. That will let clients pop in and out to have a chat with Scott in his studio and with one of us at the gallery.
“Scott will be able to answer questions about his work and his experience of lockdown as an artist and we can also provide more information and close ups of particular paintings hanging in the gallery.
“Mainly though we are looking forward to catching up with some of our gallery friends. We can all bring a cup of tea or a glass of wine and just enjoy ourselves. There are bound to be technical blips but that’ll be part of the fun.”
Naismith, who is based in Lenzie, near Glasgow, graduated from Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2000. He quickly became known for the eye-catching style that has led to his work being found in private and public collections worldwide and earned him a devoted, international following.
He takes his inspiration from the lochs, glens and skies of Scotland and has developed a style in which he seeks to depict not only the landscapes themselves, but also the unseen elements and forces which formed them.
With a palette that communicates both his emotional response to the scene and its atmosphere, he vigorously applies various layers to the canvas, sometimes blocking the composition in with spray paint before working with a combination of acrylic and oils to represent the inherently fast changing light that illuminates the Scottish landscape. T
Despite the challenges of lockdown, Morningside Gallery, has innovated to keep in touch with art lovers, including letting passers-by curate the window exhibition by sending requests via text, email and messaging services. The window display changes daily.
Eileadh and Sally have also developed a new “room visualisation” service. This allows clients and customers to submit photographs of the room where they want to display a painting, and Sally creates visualisations showing how the artwork would fit in – a virtual home approval service.
The exhibition, Scott Naismith Solo Show – Light on the Horizon, opens online from 10am on Saturday, May 16 to June 19. The launch event via Zoom will take place from 3pm on Saturday.
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