Elizabeth Blackadder: An Art Exhibition. A Review
Exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery until 2nd January 2012
This exhibition marks Blackadder’s art career, beginning with her intense charcoal drawings in her student days in Italy; to her amazing way with watercolour, producing pictures of nature – birds, fruits, cats, orchids, irises – with the most glowing results.
It is apparent that she has a highly energetic analysis of the world. Her keen attention to the fine details is what I love best. She portrays a harsh, cold scene in her early painting of a winter landscape at Assisi in Italy. I truly admired the subtle way she enhanced the picture with the texture of her oils – the fluff on a cloud, and in a separate painting “Church on Brittany”, the embossed ridges on a chimney.
She is harmonious with her use of colour in “Church at Treguer” and in her various paintings of still life, a theme of which she eventually settles on. Her contrast of colour and movement is evident within “Grey Table with Easter Eggs”. It is a careful analysis and portrayal of space between objects on a table surface. Just brilliant.
She is bold at times, particularly with her use of colour in certain Japanese paintings, emerging with a striking result in a burst of red. There is a contrast all the time within this radical approach. There is domestic peace and happiness, and a sense of looking in, with the viewer somewhat peering privately into another person’s life. Within “Tulips & Indian Painting”, it is honed with atmosphere and drama. She paints the drabness of the wallpaper and peppers it with life all throughout – an image of a living plant, a burst of bloom and Indian musicians.
Her travels developed and inspired her artistic approach. She collected trinkets during her travels – an ornament, a decorated box – which also found their way into her work.
Notable of all her watercolour paintings were of Orchids (1988-89) which displays her immensely observant eye, her (bearded) Irises and Exotic Fruits. In the latter she portrays the fruits atis (sugar-apple) and mangosteen, native to where I grew up. It was a delight to discover this. Here is an image of only the two fruits:
First image – Allposters.co.uk
Second image – Royal Academy of Arts
Third image – Mcgillduncangallery.com
Fourth image – Mutualart.com