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Norman Gilbert

Artist Biography

'I try to make each colour and shape enhance every other colour and shape so it's entirely satisfactory, so it's at peace.' Norman’s paintings depict his family and friends, seizing on the vitality of the young and their modes. The models have changed over time as his four sons were born, grew up, formed relationships, and most recently, have had children of their own.

Norman Gilbert was born to Scottish parents in Trinidad in 1926. He decided to pursue a career in painting and it quickly became his life’s work. Norman attended the Glasgow School of Art where he laid the foundation for his painting style—one that has been evolving and developing ever since.

In 1967 the Upper Grosvenor Gallery mounted his first solo exhibition. The same year Vogue magazine published a feature on his work entitled “ The Loneliness of the Long Distance Painter.” In 1974 Norman’s work was the subject of a BBC film as part of a series of arts programs entitled “SCOPE,” presented by the critic and writer W. Gordon Smith. The broadcast coincided with his solo show in the Edinburgh Talbot Rice Center. To date Norman has had fourteen solo shows, in addition to many group exhibitions.

Norman’s paintings depict his family and friends, seizing on the vitality of the young and their modes. The models have changed over time as his four sons were born, grew up, formed relationships, and most recently, have had children of their own.

Norman’s highly structured images are given form with the use of decorative pattern and vivid color, creating a synthesis between figure and space. He says, “I try to make each colour and shape enhance every other colour and shape so it’s entirely satisfactory, so it’s at peace.”

His most recent work continues to deal with the same pictorial concerns, but omits the human figure for the first time. Now, Norman’s subject is the planter-cultivated back yard of his Victorian town house.

Technically, the paintings are prepared with meticulous attention to the materials and methods used. The oil paint is applied to a traditional, semi absorbent, chalk ground on rigid board, which best maintains the colour and the permanence of the pigment. The fidelity and lasting appeal of Norman Gilbert’s impressive life’s work is thus assured.

Selected Exhibitions 

Single Artist Shows

2016 The Sutton Gallery,Edinburgh

2010 Howden Park Centre, Livingston 

2006 Gallery Gora, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1998 Lloyd Jerome Gallery, Glasgow 1

992 Eden Court Theatre Gallery, Inverness 

1981 & 1989 Drian Gallery, Marble Arch, London 

1976 Education Gallery, City Art Gallery, Leeds 

1975 MacRoberts Centre, Stirling University 

1974 Talbot Rice Centre, Edinburgh University 

1973 Ansdell Gallery, London

967 & 1969 Traverse Theatre Gallery, Edinburgh Festival

1967 & 1970 Upper Grosvenor Galleries, London

Group Exhibitions

2003 Fresh Art Fair, Business Design Centre, London 

2001 Art for Europe, Scotland House, Brussels 

2001 Fresh Art Fair, Business Design Centre, London

1999 Richmond Hill Gallery, London

U.K. Media Coverage

2016 The Evening Times, Susan Swarbrick, "Glasgow artist Norman Gilbert on celebrating 65 years of his work", 

4th June 2016 The Herald, Susan Swarbrick "Scottish artist Norman Gilbert on a new exhibition spanning 65 years of his work" 

4th June 2016 The National, Nan Sport, "Artist Norman Gilbert celebrates his latest solo exhibition", 

25th July 2012 Pollokshields Heritage, 

12th November 2003 The Glaswegian, "Norman's not Normal," 

6th August 2003 The Times, Lifetime, "Portrait of a Stubborn Artist", 

15th July 2001 Natalie Wheen, Classic F.M. Radio, 

26th July 1998 The Herald, 

21st May 1996 Felicity Finch, Radio 4, "Afternoon Shift," 

16th April   1992 W. Gordon Smith, Spectrum "Scotland on Sunday," 

2nd August 1989 The Scotsman, 

10th January 1974 W. Gordon Smith, "Scope - Norman Gilbert BBC TV Documentary," 

5th March1970 Pat Gilmour, "Art & Artists," 

12th March 1967 John Bradshaw, "Vogue" feature, pp l5-16, 1st March 

U.K. Public Collections1989 Hertfordshire Education Authority

1974 Stirling University 1970 Leeds Education Authority 

1967 Kelvingrove Art Galleries, Glasgow