And Per Se And: Part XVI (On Antiguan artist Frank Walter)

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A review by Sarah Aron for The Student.

And per se and is a series of exhibitions at the Ingleby Gallery (Edinburgh) in which two artists are paired together to showcase three pieces of art. The rolling sequence of exhibitions is set to last twelve months and is currently in its 16th installation. The Ingleby Gallery, located on the east side of Calton Hill, offers an intimate space to enjoy a limited number of works.

Hoping for an escape from the dreary, mid-autumn weather bearing down on the streets of Edinburgh, And per se and: Part XVI promised to be the perfect respite. However, Wylie’s childlike vibrancy and Walter’s bold colours and Latin American influences were not enough to make the exhibition worth seeing.

Rose Wylie is an 83-year-old artist from Kent, whose large-scale paintings have received much recognition over the past five years. In recent years, her contemporary art has won the John Moore painting prize for painting in 2014. In 2015, she was elected a Royal Academician, where she was featured in the Royal Academy summer exhibition and won the Charles Wollaston Award for “most distinguished work in the exhibition.”

The Antigua-born Frank Walter is celebrated as one of the most noteworthy Caribbean artists of the past fifty years. His work spans from bright abstract works to muted landscapes of Scotland.
At first glance, Walter’s portraits on exhibit at the Ingleby Gallery portray two relatively inconspicuous individuals. Upon further review, however, Walter’s two paintings beg further inspection and evoke warm feelings of Latin culture. While the artwork on display is not of poor quality, this exhibition is not representative of either Rose Wylie or Frank Walter’s merit as artists. The tonality of Wylie and Walter’s paintings complement each other well, but the exhibition remains cold and lacklustre.

The juxtaposition of small versus large only acted to marginalize Walter’s postcard sized paintings. Wylie’s 208 by 240 centimetre ‘Cuban Scene, Smoke 2016’ swallows up Walter’s two 12.8 by 9.8 centimetre pieces, including ‘Girl in Red Dress’. This was personally frustrating, as the painting was a particular highlight of the exhibition. Its contrast of colours is powerful. The vibrant portrait is no bigger than the size of one’s hand, but it is perhaps the most captivating piece of the exhibition.

Additionally, Rose Wylie, known for her striking large-scale paintings, cannot be fully appreciated in this exhibition. She is celebrated for being able to fill a space with her artwork, but the exhibition feels bare and her piece does not carry the joy and youthfulness that she is known for.
Ultimately, unless you happen to be wandering around the far side of Calton Hill one day, this exhibition is not worth the trip.

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