Eclec­tic dreams

A warm cap­i­tal space lets you mix and match. By Jack­Mot­tram

The Herald - Arts - - Arts -

THEREDDOORGALLERY 42 Vic­to­ria Street, Ed­in­burgh; 0131 477 3255; www.ed­in­ Mon-Sat 11am-6pm Sun noon-5pm

The Red Door Gallery was founded by Ja­son Red­man in 2003, aiming work at both es­tab­lished col­lec­tors and those new to the art-buy­ing game. In ef­fect, this means that the place is part shop, part gallery. Like a tra­di­tional gallery, the Red Door mounts shows, of­ten bring­ing to­gether artists to ex­plore a theme – Ur­ban Col­lec­tion al­lowed Ed­in­burgh artists to muse on life in the city, Cit­i­zen ex­plored ideas around the con­cept of the hu­man con­di­tion, and Fash­ion­able Vic­tor, rather self-ref­er­en­tially, looked at the ways in which art, fash­ion and de­sign in­ter­act.

Along­side the shift­ing shows, the Red Door also car­ries lines of work by crafters and mak­ers, of­fer­ing artists’ books, hand­made bags and wal­lets, jew­ellery, and ob­jects that are harder to pi­geon-hole. The re­sult is an ac­ces­si­ble space, an idea that is taken fur­ther in the Red Door’s mis­sion state­ment, which in­cludes a prom­ise to “democra­tise” art. It con­cen­trates on pro­vid­ing clear and con­cise in­for­ma­tion about the works on show rather than the­o­ret­i­cally laden artists’ state­ments, and a com­mit­ment to cre­ate an in­for­mal at­mos­phere in place of the oc­ca­sion­ally in­tim­i­dat­ing air in the more tra­di­tional com­mer­cial gal­leries.

At present, the Red Door is show­cas­ing work by paint­ing and draw­ing stu­dents from the Ed­in­burgh Col­lege of Art along­side work by more es­tab­lished artists. There are bold and cutesy dig­i­tal prints by Basher, il­lus­tra­tions of moths and birds by John Dil­not, Lucy Gough’s play­ful screen­prints on of­f­cuts of chintzy wall­pa­per, muted ab­stracts by Chris Kelly and doo­dled il­lus­tra­tions of train­ers by Adam Bridg­land. Then, on the non-art side, the Lady Luck Rules OK jew­ellery line of­fers cheer­fully naff, eight­ies-in­spired pieces, in stark con­trast toLouise Pringle’s in­cred­i­bly del­i­cate and vaguely Vic­to­rian hand­knit­ted bracelets. He­len Adams’s work sits some­where be­tween two schools – she makes large badges cov­ered in vin­tage fab­rics.

To call it an eclec­tic se­lec­tion would be some­thing of an un­der­state­ment, and that’s the Red Door Gallery’s strength – what­ever your tastes, chances are there’ll be some­thing in store that takes your fancy, and with prices set be­tween £1 and £1000, chances are it’ll be af­ford­able. And, for pieces priced at the up­per end of the scale, the Red Door Gallery par­tic­i­pates in the Own Art scheme, a Scot­tish Arts Coun­cil project of­fer­ing in­ter­est-free loans.

As well as pro­vid­ing a novel con­text for art buy­ers, the Red Door Gallery of­fers a valu­able ser­vice to artists, pro­vid­ing a plat­form for stu­dents and artists work­ing out­side the main­stream art mar­ket.

Up­com­ing shows in­clude a se­ries of paint­ings and draw­ings by Phillipa Thomas, who works in wood, pa­per and ink and is in her fourth year study­ing il­lus­tra­tion at Ed­in­burgh Col­lege of Art, and paint­ings by Brian McFeely, who is prob­a­bly bet­ter known to the Ed­in­burgh pub­lic for his car­toon­ish graf­fiti work around town un­der the pseu­do­nym akaelph. More gen­er­ally, the gallery looks to the art-school de­gree shows across Scot­land, of­ten pro­vid­ing newly-minted artists their first chance to ex­hibit and, im­por­tantly, to do so in a com­mer­cial space with­out con­straints.

Red Bow by Brian McFeely, an artist per­haps bet­ter known for his graf­fiti un­der the pseu­do­nym akaelph

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