Monthly Archives: November 2018

Edinburgh Art Fair

I’m delighted to be showing with the Limetree Gallery again at this year’s Edinburgh Arts Fair.

The paintings below (from my recent Isle of Iona series) will be on show, alongside work by other artists represented by the Limetree.

The Edinburgh Art Fair runs from 23rd to 25th November, you can also buy tickets for the preview night which always has a very lively buzz.

All info here …  http://www.artedinburgh.com/home

Paintings …

‘October Sky, Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 30×30″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018 (£1400)

‘October Sky, Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018 (£400)

‘Marram Grass, Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018 (£400)

‘Sea Mist, Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018 (£400)

Margaret Tait – Demarco Archives Exhibition

Photo from INTERIM EDITION: THE MARGARET TAIT POETRY ARCHIVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I attended the opening of INTERIM EDITION: THE MARGARET TAIT POETRY ARCHIVE, showing at the Demarco Archives exhibition space in Summerhall, Edinburgh.

Curated by Dr Sarah Neely and coordinated by Fernanda Zei (exhibition curator/archivist, Demarco Archive), it’s part of the larger programme  celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of poet/filmmaker Margaret Tait (info here – https://www.margarettait100.com/ )

Watching her films, I’m most affected by the way she seems almost to focus on the peripheral while capturing the essence of things. It’s visceral in effect but also poetic (she often described her films as ‘film poems’) and evocative. (Links to short films by Tait at the end of this post).

There’s also what I’d describe as faith or belief in the images – her short films aren’t presented or edited in a way that offers explanation, plot or conclusion, which sounds as though it could be either surrealist or documentary-like but is neither, and of course her editing is deliberate. In a poem from ‘Origins and Elements’ she describes the way that filming fed her way of seeing (apologies for blurry image, these are my photos) …

 

 

 

 

It was a creative approach that excluded her from conventional success in many ways, partly  due to her being female in an area led almost exclusively by men in those decades (though she was to some extent part of a circle that included poets such as McDiarmid and Sorley MacLean). Her motivation was purely creative though, and it didn’t matter to her that at times a lack of income meant sleeping in her car (a fact the press focused on at times, to her bemusement).

She resisted labelling of her work, not from any wish to be unique but more from her personal understanding of the nature of her own life and creative reality (text from exhibition) …

Photo from INTERIM EDITION: THE MARGARET TAIT POETRY ARCHIVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The opening of the exhibition this week included beautiful poetry readings by actress, singer/song writer and poet Gerda Stevenson, who’d appeared in Tait’s feature-length film Blue Black Permanent. Also brief presentations by exhibition co-ordinator Fernanda Zei, and curator Dr Sarah Nealy.

Dr Sarah Nealy had explored the Tait archive to collate work for the larger centenary celebration of Margaret Tait, and she spoke about the recurring instances of support by Richard Demarco over the years, evidenced in numerous letters  (Richard would have attended and co-presented the opening but is currently abroad).

This letter offers an example of his admiration and support for her work. I’ve no idea if there was follow-up from actor Sean Connery, a supporter of the Demarco Gallery during its early days in the 1960’s. (I include a transcript since my photo is blurry!)…

 

 

 

 

Dear Sean,

I am sending you a very important little brown envelope, containing a personal letter from Margaret Tait, my favourite Scottish poet and filmmaker. You will remember that marvellous book of hers that you bought from the gallery ‘Origins and Elements’.

Margaret Tait wants to make a feature film and she has given me some idea of it and I feel that it could be of great importance, as she says, the film is about the sea, about poetry, about Scotland, about communication and about some people. She wants to you to act in it. She sees you in two different parts. She has also written to Liz MacLennan who knows about her films (she saw them at my summer school showing).

You know already how highly I regard Margaret Tait and her work. She is a classic example of a first class Scot living here and being ignored, with something significant to say to the whole world about Scotland.

Yours

Richard Demarco

Gallery Director

 

As always I recommend a visit to the exhibition in person – it’s rich in material about her life and work –  ideas, poetry, photos and articles. I felt moved by it, and in some small way emboldened – her creative courage is an inspiration.

INTERIM EDITION: THE MARGARET TAIT POETRY ARCHIVE runs from Thursday 8 November to Sunday 6 January 2019 at the Demarco Archives exhibition space at Summerhall.

A few links to Margaret Tait’s films:

One is One – http://movingimage.nls.uk/film/6229

Tailpiece – http://movingimage.nls.uk/film/6233

Biography – https://vimeo.com/240306939

October Tide

‘October Tide. Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 30×30 ” wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

The last painting for the Limetree Gallery, and the October Iona series, finished today!

I will await my return to Edinburgh to blog more, since each of these posts takes around 2 hours due to slow connection!

The next two days will be holiday time, but I’ll be posting much more about my stay here when I return to Edinburgh on the 5th November, including photos and info on Iona, the hostel, studio space, and about the lovely people (John, Mark, Chris and Maddie) who make this place an oasis for countless people in summer, and for artists throughout winter. It has been absolutely rewarding.

Thank you!