Artist Sam Ainsley announces first Glasgow exhibition in 30 years

Glasgow based artist Sam Ainsley has announced her first major exhibition in the city in more than 30 years.

Wednesday is Cobalt blue, Friday is Cadmium red will be on display at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) from 25 November. 

It is the first such show for the artist since her 1987 solo exhibition – Why I Choose Red at the Third Eye Centre, now Centre for Contemporary Art, CCA. 

It will feature acrylic paintings on canvas, framed prints, bound and shaped acrylic canvas works, and a wall drawing.

The show is a culmination of recent work that will make a powerful statement about who Sam is, and draws strands together from nearly 50 years of art practice.  

It arrives after a wave of interest in her work since her solo show at An Tobar, Tobermory in 2017.

In the last 12 months alone she has had solo presentations at the Royal Scottish Academy, Leeds Arts University, and is included in the major Tate Britain group show Women in Revolt! which opens later this year.

‘I am really excited to be working with GoMA for my first one person exhibition in Glasgow since Why I Choose Red in 1987,’ Sam said.

‘I feel it encapsulates almost all of the concerns and ideas I have worked with for many years- it is a sort of summation of a life-time’s work.’

Her  work is also recognisable for her powerful use of colour, particularly her reds. 

Her first solo show was named after Hugh McDiarmid’s intensely political poem Why I Choose Red, where the final line read: ‘But, best reason of all, a man in a red shirt can neither hide nor retreat.’

Red for her is passion, joy and love but it is also fire, blood and the colour of revolution.

Sam’s interest in the human body and its relationship to the world in which we live has been at the core of her work.

‘My parallel interest in relationships between the natural world and the human body, maps and mapping has also been consistent as has a fascination with scale; both the microscopic world (the very small) and the macroscopic (very large ie. the world seen from above). 

‘The relationship of our bodies to landscape and the man-made world ie. trees seen as the lungs of a city, rivers as arteries and so on has long fascinated me. 

‘Many of my works are also influenced by literature, poetry and geo-politics. 

‘The body has become a kind of landscape for me, familiar and with powerful memories. 

‘Imagining the body as a landscape or as a mirror of the world that sustains us can be difficult in the centre of a city, but I try to relate these thoughts to the man-made world too.’

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