Walter Awlson - Behind the Scenes

MORNINGSIDE GALLERY

WALTER AWLSON BEHIND THE SCENES

WALTER AWLSON BEHIND THE SCENES

OPENS 06.08.22

PRIVATE VIEW 05.08.22 6.00-8.30PM

MORNINGSIDE GALLERY

EXHIBITION OPENING

We hope you will join us in celebrating the opening of the exhibition on Friday 5th August 6.00-8.30pm. Walter Awlson and some of the cast members will be in attendance, and refreshments will be served.

A virtual tour of the exhibition will be also be available on the website. Please visit www.morningsidegallery.co.uk for details.

NOTES

Please note that all the listed sizes are framed sizes. All paintings are available for sale and can be purchased or reserved prior to the exhibition opening. We kindly ask that all decisions on reserves are made by 12 noon on Friday 5th August.

BEHIND THE SCENES

An incredible Scottish figurative painter and sculptor, Walter Awlson exhibited regularly with Morningside Gallery from its beginnings in 2003, until he put down his brushes and tools in order to follow another of his passions - the theatre - and in particular stage set design and construction. After some years the urge to paint returned and this rare and unique exhibition marks a return full circle for Walter, to painting and to exhibiting at Morningside Gallery. This group of seventeen paintings features scenes from well known and lesser known plays, from Othello to The Cemetery Club, all performed by the Alman Dramatic Club in Alloa. Bringing together all of Walter’s interests and skills, the paintings not only feature the dramatic scenes of the plays but also the stage sets that he has designed and helped to build over the last twelve years. These are not simply paintings of plays though, and through Walter’s faithful realism to the heightened drama of the scenes, we are offered the greatest gift of both art and theatre - an insight into the human condition and a moment of connection and recognition. That sense of what it is to be and to feel human. There are very few living artists who can demonstrate such extensive technical and artistic skill and talent, and Walter is far more modest than he should be. We are honoured to host such a dramatic and compelling exhibition during this year’s Edinburgh Festival month.

Eileadh Swan Gallery Director

INTRODUCTION

My involvement with The Alman Dramatic Club dates from 2010 and since then I have designed and helped build 37 sets. A big commitment! I had been interested in the club for decades but resisted becoming involved until I wound down my ceramic sculpture production. The problems of designing interesting sets on a small stage I found intriguing. For me, working with the Alman brings together my disparate interests in design, sculpture, ceramics and painting. Where else would I get to do paintings the same size as “Guernica”, make chimney pots or a stag’s head or construct classical columns and revolving bookcases? My work as an artist has always centred on the human figure and for this series of paintings it struck me that I had to hand a large collection of images from my past productions which involve the figure but with costume, lighting, setting, emotion and character – drama! What could be better? There was also the point to get across that amateur dramatics is a serious endeavour which offers an outlet for creative people of all the arts, people who strive to do their very best and achieve great things. This series of paintings has set me on a course concentrating on character and psychology in the portrait.

Walter Awlson

MACBETH

Macbeth is a well known tragedy written by William Shakespeare and thought to have been first performed in 1606. This version of Shakespeare’s tragedy is set in the Scottish parliament with the setting inspired by the much seen foyer and staircase, and the wooden spars on the exterior. In this scene we have three very nice people pretending to be sinister and evil – but then pretending is just another word for acting. The witches are spin-doctors lurking in the shadows behind the scenes, spinning their evil plans.

WHEN SHALL WE THREE MEET AGAIN? Oil on Canvas | 94 cm x 54 cm | £3500

WHEN WE ARE MARRIED

When We Are Married is a comedy written in 1934 by the English dramatist J.B. Priestley and first performed in London in 1938. In this comedy about the facade of middle class values our characters find out that they are not even properly married and have been living in sin!

PROPER RESPECTABLE Oil on Canvas | 94 x 74 cm | £4000

Two characters from J B Priestley’s comedy. Ruby is a painted lady from our respectable gentleman’s past who turns up at an awkward moment and Ormanroyd is a photographer who Priestley describes as “ripe” with drink.

THE ALCOHOL TALKING Oil on Canvas | 74 x 44 cm | £3000

THE SILVER DARLINGS

This is a play based on the 1941 novel by the Scottish author Neil M Gunn. The play depicts the harshness of existence that resulted from the highland clearances, but we see that the miserable lives of the dispossessed are often punctuated by moments of sheer joy. .

A COUNTRY WEDDING Oil on Canvas | 94 x 79 cm | £4000

THE LADYKILLERS

The Ladykillers is a 1955 Ealing Comedy featuring five oddball criminals planning a bank robbery and an octogenarian widow, Mrs Wilberforce. In 2012 The Ladykillers was adapted for the stage by Graham Linehan and we performed it in 2015. In this scene the plan begins to unravel for our gang of bank-robbers and Mrs Wilberforce realises that her lodgers are not in fact amateur musicians but hardened criminals. From here on there is only one course of action – the old dear has to die! She is, of course, the only survivor.

THE PLAN BEGINS TO UNRAVEL Oil on Canvas | 105 X 105 cm | £5000

Three of the gang of bank-robbers – the sinister Louis, One-Round and the brains of the outfit, Professor Marcus. One-Round does not have much understanding, or does he?

LEFT A GLIMMER OF UNDERSTANDING Oil on Canvas | 94 cm x 74 cm | £4000 BELOW SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE VIOLINS? Oil on Canvas | 74 x 64 cm | £3000

THE CEMETERY CLUB

The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchell is a dark comedy about the New York Jewish community, featuring three Jewish widows who meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husbands’ graves. This painting depicts an animated conversation between three golden girls, widows, bridesmaids.

ANIMATED CONVERSATION Oil on Canvas | 94 x 74 cm | £4000

OTHELLO

Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Othello was most likely written in 1603 and it continues to be performed widely. A mighty production for a small club to put on, this one, with its elaborate set and large cast took more than three months to put together.

THE KILLING OF DESDEMONA Oil on Canvas | 50 x 40 cm | £1000

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

The Importance of Being Earnest is a play by Oscar Wilde, first performed in 1895. A satire on upper class society, its high farce and witty dialogue have ensured its ongoing popularity. The painting shows Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism as they encounter Cecily at her studies in Ernest’s country garden.

ERNEST’S GARDEN Oil on Canvas | 94 x 79 cm | £4000

THE HOLLOW

The Hollow is a play by crime writer Agatha Christie, based on her 1946 book of the same name. In this classic country house mystery, set in a rural backwater outside London, lothario Dr John Christow comes to an unfortunate end at a house party attended by friends and lovers - past and present. In the scene depicted, things are shaken up by the arrival of Veronica Craye, a Hollywood film star.

ENTER, CENTRE STAGE Oil on Canvas | 64 x 74 cm | £3000

TARTUFFE

Tartuffe is a theatrical comedy by Molière, first performed in 1664. Considered one of the greatest classical theatre roles, Tartuffe is a despicable character who moves in on a respectable family with designs on the wife, the daughter and the inheritance. The audience can see this before the family does. I was attracted to the understated menace in this particular scene.

TARTUFFE MAKES A MOVE Oil on Canvas | 74 cm x 64 cm | £3500

BLITHE SPIRIT Blithe Spirit is a 1941 play by Noel Coward, featuring a novelist who invites a medium into his house to conduct a seance for research purposes, only to find the scheme backfire when he is haunted by the ghost of his first wife! Here we see the invisible but troublesome spirits - the two ladies in white - about to be exorcised by the eccentric Madam Arcatti.

THE EXORCISM Oil on Linen | 74 x 74 cm | £3500

MEN SHOULD WEEP

Men Should Weep is a play written in 1947 by Ena Lamont Stewart. Set in Glasgow Tenements in the depression of the 1930s, all of the action takes place in the household of one family. Here we see women worn down by hard work and poverty but still showing their dignity and perseverance.

MAKING ENDS MEET Oil on Canvas | 94 x 74 cm | £4000

Based on Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel of the same name, A Christmas Carol has been adapted for the stage many times. Ebenezer Scrooge is a nasty piece of work indeed; a miserable, grasping miser who brings misery to all who are unfortunate enough to cross his path. But can he change his ways? A CHRISTMAS CAROL

BAH HUMBUG! Oil on Canvas | 94 cm x 54 cm | £3500

SCROOGE IS DEAD Oil on Canvas | 94 cm x 74 cm | £4000

The news is Scrooge is dead. For his debtors this might be good news. “Good, bad, I dunno”.

Two of our fabulous character actors convey the heartbroken Cratchets whose son, Tiny Tim has died. This will happen if Scrooge doesn’t change his ways.

SORROW Oil on Canvas | 54 x 54 cm | £2000

If Scrooge cannot change his ways he will die and his miserable legacy will be pilfered, bundled up in rags and sold for a pittance.

SPOONS, A BIT OLD FASHIONED Oil on Canvas | 94 x 74 cm | £4000

B IOGRAPHY

few inches in height to life size, were glazed using raku fired glazes or stoneware bronze-like glazes. In both his painting and his sculpture, Walter was keen to show the faithful realism - his sculptures revealed the mark of his finger in the clay and his paintings always demonstrated a painterly brushstroke. For twenty years Walter exhibited extensively in galleries throughout the UK, and his artworks can be found in many private and public collections. During this time he was also the recipient of numerous awards. In 1990 Walter won the SPA Alastair Dunn Award and in 1991 he was elected a Professional Member of the Scottish Artists and Artist Craftsmen Association. In 2007 Walter was awarded the Clackmannanshire Arts Forum award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. Throughout the years Walter has also completed several major commissions including a ceramic mural for the Alloa Town Centre and a centrepiece for a historical exhibition at Abbott’s House, Dunfermline. In 2009 he was commissioned to create a RAF monument at Boddam and in 2016 he completed a bust of Tommy Douglas for the Falkirk Wheel Visitor Centre. The last ten years has seen Walter’s focus shift towards theatre set design and construction and he has worked extensively with the Alman Dramatic Club in Alloa, the fruits of which can be enjoyed in this exhibition.

Walter Awlson was born in Galashiels in 1949 and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1967 to 1971, graduating with a degree in Furniture Design. He completed a teaching postgraduate at Moray House and this led to a teaching career in secondary schools and further education establishments, where he taught, developed and assessed courses in Art and Design. In 1991 Walter resigned from teaching to focus on figurative painting and sculpture, and in particular slip- cast figurative sculpture. The figures, varying from a

MORNINGSIDE GALLERY 94 Morningside Road, Edinburgh, EH10 4BY 0131 447 3041 art@morningsidegallery.co.uk www.morningsidegallery.co.uk

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