Gray Stuff - Designs for Books and Posters 1952-2007, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (22/10–11/12/2010)
With the launch of ‘A Life in Pictures’ a visual biography of Gray’s life and work, published by Canongate.
Talbot Rice Gallery is delighted to present Gray Stuff: Designs for Books and Posters, 1952 – 2010, an exhibition of original graphic works by Alasdair Gray, revealing the development of illustrations used in his critically acclaimed novels, such as Lanark (1981), Poor Things (1992) and Old Men In Love (2007), and providing a rare opportunity to see the vibrant sketches and motifs which surround and animate the texts. The exhibition coincides with the launch of A Life in Pictures, an extensive visual biography published by Canongate and opening on the same day, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will be dedicating a room to a selection of Alasdair Gray’s portraits, including self portraits and some portraits of family and friends.
The vitality of Gray’s illustrative work is made clear in a selection of graphic posters that display the strong, economic use of line at the heart of much of Gray’s artwork and illustration. Gray attempts, “to make images the reader could not deduce from the text,” and so creates a visual world, which while enhancing the written elements of his books, also exists independently of the book’s pages. Included in the exhibition will also be the ledgers that Gray has used to develop ideas. The ledgers demonstrate the way he integrates various forms of text and image and, like the other preparatory material in the exhibition, they reveal an unbridled creative mind that is continuously searching, improvising and exploring possibilities across many art forms.
Displaying work from the collections of National Libraries of Scotland in Edinburgh, Sorcha Dallas in Glasgow and Alasdair Gray’s own private collection, this is an incisive range of work touching many areas of Gray’s extensive practice, which can be traced back throughout his life. Gray originally trained as a visual artist at Glasgow School of Art, from 1952 to 1957, and has habitually worked with both pictures and text. Receiving great critical acclaim for his novel Lanark (1981), Gray became better known as a writer than an artist despite designing and illustrating all of his own works and never stopping his visual practice. In recent years Gray’s visual work has begun to receive the international recognition it deserves: his work is to be included in British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, which is open, in Nottingham, from the 23rd October. Gray lives and works in Glasgow.