We open 2018 with a solo exhibition of extraordinary paintings by 91 year old artist Norman Gilbert.
When I first set eyes on these paintings they sparked something in me that can only be described as excitement and after having visited Norman is his bright Glasgow Georgian studio I have realized that these paintings are indeed very special. They are paintings that never stop giving.
Oil paintings on a gesso ground with vibrant and decorative use of colour and pattern enlighten the senses. They are generous and delightful insights into intimate family life normally unseen by an outsider. I felt like an observer, looking upon an endearing scene yet they had the power to make me feel welcome. There is an interesting synthesis between figure and space, a union perhaps and the more I look the richer they become. They are calming, vital and full of integrity.
Norman Gilbert has a long and fascinating story to tell, born in Trinidad in 1926 he moved when very young to Glasgow where he attended Glasgow college of Art. Thereafter like many artists in penury and a family to support he looked for alternative work to help pay the bills whilst he painted. He found himself living in a caravan on a farm tending 200 pigs. Whilst this wasn't ideal it allowed him to pursue his love and passion for art. Norman Gilbert has now painted for nearly 70 years but his work is as fresh and as current as any young artist in practice today. In a critical art world that never stops changing Norman Gilbert’s work has never been more valid. 51 years ago a review of Norman’s paintings appeared in ‘Vogue’ magazine, this body of work surpasses ‘au courant’ but instead imbues the sense of timelessness with a wholesome quality that is rare attribute in contemporary art.
There is a lot to be celebrated here and it is with pleasure that we can bring this exhibition to you.