Joan Eardley I Centenary
Marking the centenary of Joan Eardley’s birth, The Scottish Gallery will present a major exhibition of Eardley’s paintings and drawings. Having promoted and celebrated her genius throughout her lifetime, this exhibition, which coincides with the Edinburgh International Festival, will highlight her as one of Scotland’s greatest talents and allow us to speculate what she might have achieved internationally had she lived.
Joan Eardley | Centenary will include her most celebrated subjects through drawings and pastels: the streets and children of Townhead in Glasgow and her wild, spiritual home at Catterline on the Kincardineshire coast of Scotland. Her poignant story and early death, her driven, passionate engagement with art and her self-belief and intense shyness are laid bare in every work she created.
Eardley’s first studio was on Cochrane Street in Townhead, a ‘slum’ area close to the city centre. For her the black tenements, with their rear drying greens, were inseparable from the inhabitants, which then numbered more than 30,000. The life and colour of the community was on the streets and Eardley quickly became accepted. The warmth of her studio stove was a draw in the winter months when a child was happy to sit for a few minutes in return for a boiled sweet. Children were drawn to her: ‘Joan, Joan, will you paint me?’.
In reality, Eardley was an artist anthropologist, observing and participating, neither sentimentalising or disguising the poverty. She recorded a world where the adults were indoors, working, or in the pub, and the children were on the street – lives lived as they cannot be today.
The exhibition will be open to the public and via The Scottish Gallery’s online Viewing Rooms. To accompany the exhibition, The Scottish Gallery will also publish a new catalogue containing colour illustrations of all works along with originally commissioned writing and a foreword from Anne Morrison-Hudson, the artist’s niece.
Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm
Saturday, 11am – 1pm
The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, Edinburgh County EH3 6HZ
Fri 30 Jul 2021 to Sat 28 Aug 2021