Alexander Robertson - Gallowgate Lard by Ken Currie

Podcast Transcript

Gallowgate Lard, Ken Currie

I'm Alex Robertson, I'm Museum Supervisor at the Art Gallery and Maritime Museum. I've chosen Gallowgate Lard by Ken Currie which is currently on display in the Centre Court of Aberdeen Art Gallery. I found it quite a difficult decision to choose just one piece of work from our wonderful collection, but eventually I decided on the Ken Currie for a few reasons. First of all, I find the painting visually appealing. It has a certain sort of impact to it, it's quite a simple picture in terms of its composition, it's quite direct, the figure stares straight back at you, back at the viewer, and it fills the whole canvas, bringing you in, attracting you. Secondly, I quite like the technical qualities shown in the picture. Currie uses beeswax which I think gives quite a nice texture, quite a human texture on the canvas, with sort of all its lumps and bumps and imperfections and so on. I also think that the muted colours that he uses and the dark tones, the somewhat sort of blurred connection between the subject and the background, creates an almost dream-like or a nightmare-like quality. A lot of people say that the picture's quite spooky but I don't necessarily get that feeling about it. Plus I've never really been a big fan of bright, vivid colours when it comes to painting portraiture. I think it's a lot more sort of realistic to have the skin tones and so on. In my opinion, the subject itself, the eyes of the subject, convey a certain sorrow. Also the kind of barred, gritted teeth that the subject has and a rather pained expression, I quite like that idea of the sort of pained human being struggling for survival. It just kind of, it makes it more real you know? Life isn't all sort of sunshine and flowers and so on and I think it's just a more realistic sort of image. I also like the picture because when I'm having a bad day, if I'm tired or I'm annoyed, I can have a wee look at this picture and I think to myself 'well at least I don't have it as bad as this chap'. So for me it kind of ticks all the boxes as a painting and as a portrait fan, it's one of my favourites, so there we are.