Main Gallery

Helen MacAlister

At the Foot o' Yon Excellin' Brae

27 February – 6 April, 2013

Helen MacAlister installation imageHelen MacAlister installation imageHelen MacAlister installation image Helen MacAlister, Ben Dorain, 2010, oil on linen, 148 x 210 cm and At the Foot o' Yon Excellin' Brae, 2010, oil on linen, 42 x 59.4 cm Helen MacAlister, Buidhe, 2008, pencil on paper, 42 x 59.4 cm Helen MacAlister, Buidhe, 2008, pencil on paper, 42 x 59.4 cm Helen MacAlister, Cold air the nostrils, 2011, sand-blasted glass, 10.5 x 15 cm

MacAlister’s elegant, reductive art conveys an overall exploration of a specific cultural / political history. This substantial body of work – paintings, drawings, prints and glass – reflects her poetic use of language in which Gaelic and Scots are part of her subject matter. From the fact of language, built-in bilingualisms to sentence landscapes, the mountains, braes, roads and bays align themselves with single words or phrases in a visual encapsulation which fuses word and image metaphorically.

The large landscapes are monochrome, in a range of muted colours such as the rich brown of Ben Dorain. Its surface of applied binary marks reveals the grandeur of its silhouette while At the Foot oʼ Yon Excellinʼ Brae depicts the very words of the exhibition title, itself taken from Hamish Henderson’s similarly named essay on the language of Scots folksong.

The exhibition and accompanying online catalogue (see link below) were commissioned by An Lanntair, in Stornoway, and shown in 2012

> exhibition catalogue