Monthly Archives: April 2006

Ellsworth Kelly in Edinburgh.

I went to the Ingleby Gallery to see an exhibition of works by Ellsworth Kelly. I like the Ingleby Gallery: the ground floor of a large Georgian terrace house, it has a lot of light and space, more than other commercial galleries in Edinburgh, so the pictures aren’t cramped. There is space to look at each picture, undistracted.

I have seen some of Kelly’s paintings and lithographs before – solid blocks of intense colour, with no detail: just pure colour. Thing is, there were works here spanning nearly thirty five years: and it was not possible to tell the earlier from the later works: he hasn’t changed, as far as I could tell. I like the colours – they have a great depth: but there isn’t a great deal to it.

There were also three sketches of plants – not something I knew he drew – with a similar simplicity (though with these it was just line, rather than just colour). The surprise of these made them more interesting than the solid colours.

The gallery contained two other works which I greatly preferred to Kelly’s – kind of ironic. One was a large canvas hung over the stairs: this was by Calum Innes – nearly solid colour, but interrupted by the canvas, as if the paint had been torn – like Clyfford Still’s “lightning” canvases.

The other was a clay-piece by Andy Goldsworthy, hiding in the “wall press” cupboard. Opening the cupboard door is like exploring: the dried clay wall always looks different. It is worthwhile going to the gallery just to look in the cupboard.

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