The Journey of Recovery by Su-Jou Yang, a mixed media collage showing a bright yellow sky above a deep dark underworld, is one of the many striking pieces in a new exhibition, Journey, at The Gallery on the Corner in Northumberland Street.
All of the artists are graduates of Queen Margaret University’s MSc in Art Psychotherapy and come from diverse international and cultural backgrounds. The course – the first of its kind in Scotland – draws on the visual arts, psychology and psychotherapy. It aims to train therapists who can help individuals, groups or communities, adults or children, to effect personal change and growth through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.
Su-Jou Yang affixes little ‘thought clouds – ‘The Passion of Life’, ‘to be continued’ – to her beautiful piece; these illustrate the titular journey through life’s crises and celebrations, its light and its darknesses. Meanwhile Alisa Robertson‘s Thoughts Escaping shows us a Picasso-esque face from which birds fly out. The orange skull suggests light dawning, or perhaps the frenzy of the thoughts still confined.
Diane Leu‘s The Moment offers us what at first appears to be a simple and finely executed collage of a ballet dancer; on closer inspection we see that every piece of the mosaic is a tiny cut-out photograph of a dancer in numerous different poses. The ballerina’s persona is an amalgam of every photo – the larger image shows her ‘in the moment’, but the constituent pieces show how many moments, or aspects of personality, she is made of. She is the product of all of her ‘moments’, but they can come together to form a stunning pose.
In Shelley Campbell‘s fascinating painting, Somewhere in Between, a huge and slightly menacing plant waves its tentacle-like leaves in the foreground, whilst behind it blue water lies smooth beneath a white moon. We all spend most of our lives in this ‘in between’ state, between calmness and turbulence, perhaps fearing the threatening obstacles that seem to block our path to peace.
Journey in Seven is a striking series of mixed media abstracts by Linda Schmidt. Brilliant primary colours contrast with monochromes, curving shapes are juxtaposed with geometric angular lines. Our thoughts may want to run on smooth arcs, but they are frequently jarred by sudden sharp interruptions, invasive ideas that break into our peace but may also provide inspiration, shape and challenge.
The thick brush strokes of Thijs de Moor‘s powerful Land of 1600 Scratches add energy and friction to a painting already full of movement and life. The churning black, white and orange oils suggest a wild sea, but the yellows perhaps tell us that the shore is not beyond our reach, there is a safe haven to be found.
Well staged in a gallery flooded with natural light, Journey is a most interesting exhibition, inspiring viewers to consider their thoughts and feelings whilst still offering an enjoyable visual experience.
The Gallery on the Corner is a commerical gallery and studio. It was the first social firm developed by Autism Ventures, which was set up in 2009 to house the social enterprises within Autism Initiatives. It provides training and employment for people on the autistic spectrum, and supports artists who have autism, a physical disability or a mental health condition, or who come from a disadvantaged background. It works hard to prepare its trainees for work beyond the gallery. Autism Ventures also runs The Cafe on the Corner at 24a Hill Street and a golf course at the Hermitage, in the Braids (11 Braids Hill Drive.)
Journey is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-5pm, until 28th July 2014.