27 July - 1 September
Robert Kelsey PAI DA MUniv FRSA
A new collection from Robert Kelsey for this exclusive exhibition.
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Robert Kelsey is firmly recognised as one of Scotland’s leading contemporary artists. With a vibrant and fluent style of painting his skill lies in perfectly capturing both the light and the colour of the West Coast landscapes which he loves. His paintings bring to mind the work of such masters as the Scottish Colourists, Peploe and Cadell, whose work Kelsey very much admires. Kelsey says of his work:
“I have painted beaches and seascapes for more than thirty years. I like quiet, remote places, such as the Hebrides and along the west coast of Scotland where light is generally the most important quality. My main interest and challenge in painting is capturing the particular translucency and clarity of that light.”
Born in 1949 Kelsey studied at Glasgow School of Art between 1966 to 1970. Kelsey talks appreciatively about his tuition in the basic skills of both drawing and life drawing, perspective, composition and colour by tutors such as David Donaldson, Alexander Goudie and James Robertson. It is these basic building blocks which Kelsey believes enabled him to establish a firm foundation on which to grow and develop his skills and abilities as an artist. Upon graduating he taught at various Secondary Schools. Kelsey’s first post as a teacher was in a supportive and sympathetic school environment in which he was positively encouraged to continue his own practise alongside teaching. Not only did this allow him to develop as an artist, but it was also of huge benefit to his students who were lucky enough to witness an artist at work, learning alongside him. In 1995 Kelsey became a full time artist and since that time his career has gone from strength to strength.
Gallery owner Rosalyn McKenna has long admired Kelsey’s work. Her parents own a piece, the golden sweeping sandy bay, lapped by gentle turquoise water capturing her imagination and remaining with her over the years. Kelsey visited Tighnabruaich Gallery in 2018 and upon talking to Rosalyn they both felt the gallery would be the perfect setting for an exhibition of a new body of Kelsey’s work. Tighnabruaich Gallery sits in the pretty seaside village of Tighnabruaich, Argyll, on Scotland’s west coast, backing on to the Kyles of Bute. It is a truly beautiful part of the world that has been a great source of inspiration for many artists. The gallery itself is light, spacious, and, with huge windows, is flooded with natural daylight.
Scottish Horizons features thirty new oil paintings including timeless views of Iona, Crinan, Arisaig, Skye, Colonsay and Arran. Rather spectacularly Kelsey has also painted scenes closer to the Argyll coastline on which Tighnabruaich Gallery sits. ‘Early Evening Light, Portavadie’ is a complex diagonal composition of yachts moored side by side, their hulls and masts mirrored in the water beneath. Powder blue sky above is reflected in the water in the foreground, transformed into a deep sapphire and azure. Kelsey has perfectly captured that particular early evening light in all its crispness, when air and water seem to merge seamlessly into one another.
‘The Hills of Arran’ offers a sweeping view of the distant hills of Arran from a golden sandy beach on Bute. The viewer’s eye travels into the painting by a curving pathway, leading to a smooth and sandy beach, edged by tranquil turquoise water. The horizon is dominated by the purple distant hills of Arran, the edge of Inchmarnock to the left and the coastline of Ardlamont to the right. Kelsey has added texture to the foreground with tall grasses, gently swaying in the sea breeze. Gallery owner Rosalyn McKenna says of this work:
“I love the west cost of Bute with it’s endless panoramic views of Arran, Inchmarnock and Kintyre. It is a magical place. Kelsey has captured this sense of freedom and joy and I am instantly transported to that spot, the breeze on my face, the sand between my toes.”