Review: Beneath the Surface at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre

“Minimalist yet full of life,” words of an anonymous visitor about the abstract art exhibition at the City Art Centre, in Edinburgh.

Beneath the Surface showcases the artworks of nine contemporary Scottish artists. The pieces of art are created using different mediums such as acrylic on canvas, kiln-formed glass, oil on paper and so forth.

Contemporary abstract art is widely criticized as it usually gives a sense of uncertainty and confusion about the artist’s intentions. But even so, this kind of art lets the viewer imagine and come up with their interpretation of one or another object of art. It invites the viewer to go beyond what they perceive. There is always something more that lies beneath the surface.

White walls create a perception of a spacious room. One of the artworks that draws attention is Presence (2019) by Kenneth Dingwall. It is an abstract construction made with the usage of acrylic on basswood. Deriving from the art work’s name it can be assumed that the author conveys the idea of how important it is to acknowledge that one is present here and now. We are often concerned about the future and the past; therefore, we forget to live in the present moment.

Each of the monochrome simplistic paintings on the white walls evokes different emotions and associations. For instance, by glancing at Liquid Light (2010) by James Lumsden one could get a sense of tranquillity as this painting reminds of the quiet ocean or cloudless sky. Meanwhile, by taking a glance at Light Study, Toyana (2019) by Karlyn Sutherland, which creates visual deception, one might feel puzzlement and desire to scrutinize the artwork longer.

Overall, the exhibition is intriguing, thought-provoking and elegant.

By Oleksandra Gumeniuk

Dates: 16 November 2019 – 1 March 2020
Entry: Free
Location: City Art Centre, Edinburgh

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