Issue 196
Winter 2016

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Oct 22, 2017
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    All at Sea – in the streets of North Berwick

    CENTRALLY LOCATED in the heart of North Berwick, Greens and Blues gallery is hosting an exhibition of the work of artist Mark I'Anson at the end of October.

    'All at Sea' is an exhibition of 24 new Drifter and Trawler paintings by Mark. This will be Mark's first solo exhibition of his boat paintings in seven years. This new body of work has been in production for several months and may well be the last in his series of fishing boats, which have proved widely popular.

    The images which will be on show are, in Mark's opinion, the most complex paintings he has ever produced and show his progression from similar works shown at his last exhibition in the gallery back in 2010.

    Born in Glasgow in 1968, I'Anson studied at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, from 1988-1992 and has since worked full time as a painter. Following his sell-out graduation show, he signed with the Compass Gallery in Glasgow and had two solo shows in 1994 and 1996. Following these, Mark had his first London solo exhibition in 1999 at the Thackeray Gallery. He gained commercial success in 2003 when he was commissioned by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (in co-operation with the Herald newspaper) to paint a Dream Team of Scottish footballing greats.

    Following this, Mark went on to exhibit a selection of paintings of Arsenal greats at the Emirates Stadium (in co-operation with the Thackeray Gallery). With a growing interest for Mark's work in Edinburgh, Mark held a couple of exhibits at the i2/Open Eye gallery in Edinburgh. These saw a move away from football but a continued focus on figurative work.

    Moving away from figurative work and into one of Mark's keen interests, 'Drifter and Links' saw Mark focusing his work on fishing boats. An exhibition at the Falkirk Wheel and a touring exhibit saw Mark again receive commercial success. He is probably best known for the distinctive paintings of ships central to his 2006 exhibition 'Drifter', which was supported by the Scottish Fisheries Museum and the Highland Council.

    "My original interest in boats goes back to childhood (influenced by my dad) when I built boats out of lego and cardboard boxes. As an adult that interest was reawakened and I started painting boats partly as a response to events in my life and partly to broaden out my subject matter beyond figure-based work," says Mark.

    Whether his source material is from life, found photographs or a combination of both, the starting point and foundation of all his pictures is drawing. Mixing pencil work with translucent glazes of paint he produces evocative and compelling paintings.

    "I am perhaps currently more influenced by photography. Over the years I have amassed a large archive of press photographs and postcards. Initially this was separate from my artwork but with time this archive has become a vital component in my work.

    "I started out in the early 1990s building scarecrow-like figures and then producing large paintings of these figures and assorted items of junk. Gradually photos came to influence my paintings more and more, though in my non-boat work. Technically the early work was essentially coloured drawings. Over the years I think I have become more confident with paint.

    "For this body of work I have used old postcards and photos as my primary source, with model boats as a secondary source. Technically I start with a pencil drawing. Pretty detailed drawing in this group of paintings then building up seemingly endless thin layers of acrylic paint.

    "Being in my flat always inspires me; I'm surrounded by newspapers, photos, books, postcards, model boats & assorted junk. I have just started a Masters Degree focusing on the artist books, mixing text and image."

    Since 1994, Mark has had eighteen solo exhibitions in London, Scotland and Canada, including two solo touring exhibitions - his last solo boat exhibition in 2006 toured Scotland in association with the Highland Council and the Scottish Fisheries Museum. His work can be found in public, corporate and private collections throughout Scotland (including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery) , London, USA, Canada and Europe.

    Over the past seventeen years Greens and Blues gallery has exhibited a wide variety of original and contemporary art, always striving to make art buying as easy as possible.

    "We're delighted by the number of artists who choose to exhibit their work with us and we hope our customers enjoy it too."


    Mark I'Anson at Greens and Blues Gallery, North Berwick from October 27, for 2 weeks.

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