Paintings (Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow March 2013)
thought-provoking and elegant series of paintings..........
Andrew trained as an architect and his background is reflected both in the
style of his paintings and their content. Their apparent simplicity, with
broad planes of colour and simple shapes are today infused with his concerns
for the environment - since his last exhibition here he has emerged as a
painter with strong ecological convictions.
His deceptively simple compositions, with their minimalist approach, combine
with his bold choice of colours to mark him out from the crowd. A long-time
admirer of Craigie Aitchison, Andrew uses accessible, contemporary images to
create a symbolic language of his own. These simple yet enigmatic images of
birds, beasts, and human myth become a disarming reflection on what links
us, and separates us, as species."
(World Land Trust Gallery
an artist I’ve always been drawn to the challenge of capturing the
essentials of a subject as succinctly as possible. I have also long been
fascinated by icons as symbolic images which represent not just the surface
appearance of their subject, but also that which lies beyond.
like everyone else, have the choice of engaging with the big issues or not.
Probably the biggest issue now facing the planet is global warming. We are
already effectively too late to prevent a 20C increase. Unless we
in the developed world take immediate and radical action, we will almost
certainly be too late to prevent an even more catastrophic 40C
Artwork won’t save the planet, but it can make a small contribution to
changing our thinking, and one good place to start seems to be a celebration
of biodiversity as a reminder that we are part of a system much bigger than
willingness to pillage the
environment probably hasn’t changed since we first emerged as a species,
some 15 million years ago. What has changed, exponentially, is our
comprehensive ability to wreck the
eco-system, and our growing disconnection from natural rhythms and cycles.
That is precisely why the World Land Trust is so important, as it works with
local partners to conserve threatened land and protect wildlife habitats
across the globe.
my growing commitment to ecology and sustainability, my artwork is
continuing to evolve steadily away from an anthropocentric perspective,
towards geocentrism. Put plainly, & despite the subtext of the last
2,500 years of Western culture, humans and their doings are not the centre
of the universe, but simply a rather troublesome part of a much wider whole.
Ark (Thompson's Gallery April 2009 in association with the World Land Trust )
iconic images of birds & beasts” The Ecologist
paintings in their own right…with current environmental concerns ever more
timing of the show could not be bettered” Galleries Magazine
an important part of conservation is to see nature differently and value it in
new and different
ways, then Andrew’s Ark provokes just the right response.”
Pearson, WLT Council Member & former President of the Society of Wildlife
The theme of much of my
work has been a contemplation of the boundaries of the tangible
world and that which lies beyond, using a visual language of isolated iconic
& archetypal images, often of animals and birds, carefully placed in their
What is becoming unavoidably obvious is that, as the real environment of these
animals and birds is being traumatised and trashed by climate change and by more
direct human intervention, a great many of them are now threatened or
collectively these iconic creatures are taking on an important new role, as
symbols of a looming planetary catastrophe.
from a conversation:
starting point is the belief that there is something beyond the material world
– something Other. Essentially this is the territory where all spirituality is
rooted, whether organised religion or unfocussed secular feeling.
lot of my painting has been exploring the boundaries between the 2 places –
sometimes directly, sometimes more tangentially. Lines from “heaven”, steps
& stairs leading into the sky, doorways & windows from one place to
another – these are all metaphors for a crossing of those boundaries, just as
they were in the early Renaissance (cf Fra Angelico’s Annunciation). I think
much of the importance of Craigie Aitchison’s work has been in using simple,
accessible and contemporary means to re-establish that symbolic language – and
that is a path that I make no apologies for following.
digress for a moment, apart from those direct metaphors, I think the bridge
between the 2 places can also be expressed by colour, and by iconic imagery –
of animals etc, of everyday objects, as well as spiritual paraphernalia such as
chalices & candles.
theologian friend is very clear about this concept of Otherness – much clearer
than he is about the existence of God. He is feels strongly that certain images
(and pieces of music, poetry etc) act as a stepping stone between the material
here & now and that which lies beyond. What is reassuring to me is that a
theological scholar has arrived at the same conclusion, and that it’s not just
the territory of woolly minded artists ................."
In recent years Andrew
has travelled and exhibited widely, with residencies in Iceland, Canada and
Nepal. These experiences have fed into his development of a wide-ranging visual
language, reflecting the complexity of human perceptions. His deceptively simple
paintings have eclectic roots, drawing variously on the elemental space &
light of Western Scotland, the inner landscape of the subconscious, and iconic
images of birds and beasts.
composed and making confident use of the visual silence of empty space, there is
a recurring contemplative quality and stillness in the work which reaches past
the here and now to something beyond.
Gallery Sept 2005