Issue 213
May/June 2020


The Artwork Logo



Jul 4, 2020

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Heinzel thirty…

Photograph: Saoirse Brain

FOR ABERDEEN-BASED gallerist Maura Tighe her career in art started purely thanks to a twist of fate.

"If I hadn't walked in to Gallery Heinzel with my baby in a buggy over twenty years ago I would never have ended up running and owning the gallery"… which she has done most successfully. This year sees the thirtieth anniversary of Gallery Heinzel, with twenty of those years under the successful leadership of Maura.

She tells me in her lilting Dublin accent over the phone how she first came to Scotland to live in Edinburgh with her husband – who she met in London.

They then moved to Edinburgh in 1994. "I began working for an advertising agency in Edinburgh, and as it was based near Dundas Street – which I adored, I would always end up going to look at the art galleries in my lunch time."

And so began a lifelong love affair and interest in art. Maura and her husband always tend to give each other wedding anniversary presents of art works and as well as having the gallery, Maura admits she has a lot of paintings – everywhere.

It's her love of the paintings and the artists themselves that really shines through – and makes the bright spacious gallery on Aberdeen's Thistle Street such a pleasure to visit.

"I always show artists that I specially love their work – it has to have a meaning to me," she says.

Of course thanks to Covid 19 the gallery has been closed physically since March 18 – just four days after the new exhibition celebrating the 30 year anniversary had gone up.

"We are still selling," Maura says positively, "and people are still enquiring about artists."

Originally the Gallery Heinzel was located in Spa Street, behind His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen. That was when Maura first found the gallery, through hearing about it from a friend in her ante natal classes.

"It just so happened that the day I walked in with my baby in tow, I overheard the owner, Chris Heinzel, saying she was looking for a part time assistant.

"I wasn't actively looking for work at this time, but as I loved art so much I knew I wanted to give it a go. I spoke to her briefly and the next day I called up the gallery and she said I could start tomorrow!"

From that day to this, Maura has enjoyed every minute of her time in the art world. After working as an assistant to Chris for a couple of years, she ended up buying the gallery as a going concern in 2000 and then, two years later, relocated it to Thistle Street, where it has been for the last 18 years.

Many artists shown in the 30-year period keep coming back to the gallery – names like Francis Boag, Malcolm Cheap, Pam Carter and Jonathan Hood.

Maura is currently preparing for a new exhibition by Pam Carter, who has always been a popular artist at the gallery.

At this time of great uncertainty Maura is positive about the gallery continuing to shine through the Corona storm.

"With the assistance that has been provided by government it will be more than sufficient for the gallery to keep going – between furloughing of job retention schemes, and various measures that have been put in place, we are looking forward to reopening," Maura explained.

Visit the GALLERY HEINZEL online at http://galleryheinzel.com
and of course, soon, in person – let's hope – at: 24 Thistle Street, Aberdeen AB10 1XD

TESSA WILLIAMS


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