Rosemary Beaton RGI, June Carey RSW RGI PAI ASWA SSA, Alice McMurrough RGI RSW PAI, Heather Nevay RGI & Helen Wilson RGI RSW PAI
9 March to 21 April
The exhibition opens at 11am on Saturday 9 March but between 2 and 5pm refreshments will be served as well as a chance to meet the artists.
They are all respected painters with decades worth of experience, big individual fan bases and countless awards to their names, but until a few years ago, Rosemary Beaton, Alice McMurrough, Heather Nevay and Helen Wilson, all said they felt intimidated by printmaking.
Today, thanks to the gentle encouragement of master printmaker and painter June Carey, they have taken on the challenge of the ancient art form regardless, and are now members of Glasgow Print Studio (GPS), where they have embraced ancient techniques like etching, monoprinting and screenprinting.
In 2021, the five artists who trained at different times at Glasgow School of Art (GSA), held a joint exhibition of original prints and paintings at the print studio in 2021. The show, 5@GPS, was a critical success so having spoken to the group we thought it would be good to bring a similar mix of their work to Gullane.
According to Stirling-based June Carey, who acted as a catalyst for the group coming together six years ago, the artists all bonded over sessions at Glasgow’s world-class print studio.
She explains: “It all started in 2017, when I bumped into my friend, the fantastic painter Helen Wilson. Over coffee, Helen told me she’d done etching at art school but had never returned to it, even though she’d like to. She said she felt a bit embarrassed about picking it up again and I thought, this won’t do.”
June subsequently booked her old friend into an etching workshop with GPS’ resident Etching Master, Stuart Duffin.
She adds: “Heather and Alice said they would also like to learn how to etch so I booked them into a weekend course. They loved it. Then I went to a big exhibition of Rosemary’s paintings and, after telling her all about it, she said she’d like to learn printmaking too.
“They all became members of the Print Studio and it turned into us having great days together; having a laugh, becoming firm friends and creating brilliant prints.”
Three years on from their first show as a group, the artists are looking forward to exhibiting a mix of paintings and prints at Fidra.
“They are all superb artists,” says June. “The gift of art is there with us all, but with printmaking, you need to learn the technical side.
“Like me, Helen, Heather and Alice all have drawing at the root of everything they do. Etching suits our work because you draw into a plate. Rosemary is more expressive as a painter and colour is at the heart of everything she does, so she has been drawn to screenprinting in the print studio.”
There is a real sense of artistic adventuring in the work of all five artists. It’s like all the artists, whose work I admired individually before they started working together, have been challenged and stimulated by the experience of being in Glasgow Print Studio together.
June is renowned as a printmaker, but even she says that working with the others as a group and going back to basics when asked by them about various techniques has helped in her own work. The work I have seen so far is exciting and varied and will make a great exhibition, I can’t wait to welcome the Fab 5 to Fidra.
Hope to you can make it along.