The University’s Talbot Rice Gallery is hosting the first solo exhibition in Scotland of the important American artist, Alice Neel (1900-1984).
The art establishment largely overlooked Neel for most of her career. She only garnered critical acclaim and actual sales in her 70s.
A Mapplethorpe portrait of Neel, taken weeks before her death, is part of the exhibition.
Gallery 1 features a series of her paintings, all done directly from life. They include portraits of her children and grandchildren and the characters in her social circle, including the philanthropist Stewart Mott in a kilt.
Gallery 2 presents drawings and watercolours spanning 50 years of her career. Produced from life, memory, nightmares and dreams, they depict scenes and actors from the darkest chapters of her turbulent life.
It is an honour to host this exhibition at the University Gallery. Despite poverty, failed relationships and creative obscurity Alice Neel had a tenacious determination throughout her life, totally committed to art. At a time when abstract expressionism was the definition of American art she championed figurative painting, seeing herself as a chronicler of her life and times. She had great humanity and paved the way for many women artists to follow.
In contrast with Neel’s dedication to traditional figurative portraiture, the Gallery’s second show features a virtual reality experience using cutting-edge immersive technology.
Johnson creates highly detailed drawings of alternative realms, densely layered patterns, and bizarre figures. The show is heavily informed by her love of science fiction, specifically the filmmaker and comic book writer Alejandro Jodorowsky and Frank Herbert’s book Dune.
Part of Electric Panoptic is a virtual reality animation Ixian Gate. Created in collaboration with artist Simon Ward, it uses an Oculus Rift headset to turn Johnson’s drawings into an immersive three-dimensional world.
Friday 29 July - 8 October 2016
Open daily 10.00am - 5.00pm (12pm-5pm on weekends)