Body And Soul

Brent Millar’s ‘I Hope So…’ and Audrey Grant’s ‘Ceci Est Mon Corps’ comprise current exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Open Eye Gallery

Edinburgh-based Brent Millar is inspired by nature, poetry and music. His work was described by Alfonse Bytautus in the following words: ‘These are paintings made with the eye and the heart. Below the surface, beyond mere appearance we may experience that which is truly real – pure thought and emotion in harmony with the natural world.’ As a reviewer of art these words, to me, encapsulate the essence of Brent’s work.

Brent was born in Edinburgh in 1950 and studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1968 – 72) under the guidance of Sir Robin Philipson and Elizabeth Blackadder. Following his undergraduate degree Millar attended the famous summer school at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath, and obtained a scholarship to undertake a postgraduate degree in Amsterdam. He also travelled to Berlin and experienced the city’s lively artistic community. Brent subsequently spent 17 years teaching in London before returning to Edinburgh in 1992 to concentrate on his artistic practice.

He creates dreamlike compositions where observation and imagination blend in harmony. His bird pictures in this exhibition provide a powerful symbolic link between music and nature, and, from robins to swans, his works are produced with confident, bold strokes of deep colour. Brent’s practice embraces both print and drawing but he relies on paint as his preferred medium. The influences of Picasso, Matisse and Francis Bacon permeates his work and an impressionist brushstroke is employed in his flower studies.

The other featured artist  is Audrey Grant, whose ‘This is my body’ exhibition arises from her collaboration with Scottish Ballet rehearsals at its studios in Glasgow’s Tramway Theatre. Audrey says that the act of painting is an emotional and physical process whereby paint is layered on over a period of time, scraped back and added again to create a working surface from which a figure begins to emerge.

Audrey applies the paint with brushes, palette knives, rags and her hands as if she is trying to excavate something. She often scratches or scores marks with words and phrased and even mathematical equations in her canvases.

She has exhibited in the highly prestigious Royal Scottish Academy Summer Exhibition (2016) and her work is regularly chosen for the Royal Scottish Academy and the Visual Arts Scotland Open Exhibiions. Grant is a professional member of Visual Arts Scotland. She is based at WASPS studios, Patriothall in Edinburgh.

The current Exhibition continues until Monday 29th May at the Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE. Telephone 0131 557 1020

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm.


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Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.

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