A warm capital space lets you mix and match. By JackMottram
THEREDDOORGALLERY 42 Victoria Street, Edinburgh; 0131 477 3255; www.edinburghart.com 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