Friday, March 09, 2007

JOHN BYRNE AND STEVEN CAMPBELL

THE CONVERSATION

This evening I was lucky enough to attend an event in Paisley Museum which turned out be an extraordinary experience. I arrived in a bit of a bad mood as I had been up since six this morning and didn't sleep well last night, and while I waited for the conversation to start I played with my phone, browsed the web and checked my emails. When the artists entered they immediately catch your attention (not least for their dress sense!) they wandered on to the raised platform and took their seats on their respective sofas beneath the paintings they had created.


Steven Campbell's was to me (and I am not an artist) a bit like a magic eye drawing, in that the more you relax the more you see in the canvass, as I said I am not an artist but, I know what I like and, I liked this. The use of the Paisley Pattern, the mirror, the suited and booted figure and the small child are all at first glance not there but, when you return your gaze you start to see the intricacy in the painting, all of this and it only took him four weeks!! It is truly an amazing sight, whether you like it or not you cannot help but be impressed.

John Byrne's creation on the other hand is not typical of his portfolio that I have seen, it was not colourful, and at the same time the use of colour was something that occurred to me, it was not busy but rather quiet and reserved compared to previous works that I have seen, but nevertheless there was something striking about it, something that drew you in and made you think about the person he was depicting.

The paintings were done as part of a project that didn't come to fruition but the artists were supposed to paint a portrait of themselves and then one of another artist, the paintings displayed in the Art Gallery in the Museum are the paintings of another artist, each other! It was an enjoyable evening and I am glad that I went and I am glad that John Byrne continues to support and come back to his home, he is truly an artist that remembers where he came from, in fact I doubt he looks or acts much different now from when he lived and played in Paisley. This was my first introduction to the work of Steven Campbell but on return to my computer I have googled his name and I must admit that I will be keeping an eye out for any more of these events that he participates in.

Go have a look at the paintings in Paisley Museum and Art Gallery they are well worth a visit, and while you are there go see Buddy the lion.

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