Saturday, 23 February 2013

50 Years At The Glasgow Art Club : George Devlin

Yesterday I went to a talk by George Devlin, at the Glasgow Art Club.

An exhibition of his work has been in the club since the 7th, when it was opened by Guy Peploe, Director of The Scottish Gallery with Professor Ken Howard as an additional speaker and guest. Last night was less fancy, being labelled as a conversation with Jim Davis.

Over a wee bit more than two hours George talked about his life in art, from Springburn to travelling the world. Either he is naturally quite loud or the acoustics in the hall were much better than I expected - I could hear (almost) every word. They covered growing up in Glasgow in the post-war period, going down to the Kelvingrove to paint on the tram, the conflict between leaving school to get an apprenticeship or staying on, going to Glasgow Art School, arriving at the school and being over-awed by the architecture and the people but finally finding a place - so much so, he was offered a teaching post after graduating, which is round about when he joined the art club.

There was discussion about the differences between Glasgow and Edinburgh art schools (as he had spent a period of time in Edinburgh) and whether the buildings themselves influenced Glasgow folks to become more deep and tonal whereas the east coast seemed to be lighter and more linear.

Then there was talk of travelling the world to paint and also taking his father to France when he was running classes there. His father had been one of eight boys and the only one to come back from the first world war - and had never traveled abroad before this again. Perhaps unsuprisingly for a retrospective communication between the generations was a bit of theme of the night.

But one of the most interesting things for me was when he said he felt like a dinosaur - and clearly had for a long time - he talked about applying for grants in the sixties, which subsequently went to a performance artist. This I actually find hopeful - as this clearly has not stopped him having a rich and productive life so far.


  1. Hey - I've just caught up on everything since the 7th. What a productive month you're having! Love all the thoughts, and really like the Louvre composition you've been posting. I think that the combination of the grid, and the slight skew to some part of the grid, kind of matches your recurrent sense of the pleasantly but imperfectly orderly; it fits you well.

  2. That's a fair bit of reading for you! Thanks! You trying to say I'm a bit skewed? Oh, all right then, I guess maybe!

    1. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. You have interpreted that correctly.

      By the way, your concept of the more recognizable object permitting the more expressive and minimal brushwork is really interesting. I think you're onto something.

  3. Well, I see the world from a slightly different angle to most folks . . . I hope I'm onto something with the chair as well - unfortunately may not have the time to actually do the painting until the weekend. We shall see.

    And I am going to JSS! They took about 4 hours to approve my application for the residency (which is a bit worrying) and it is for those last two weeks in August. Fingers crossed you'll be there, too!