Contemporary artists at the National Gallery: 2018–19

Issued September 2018

SUNLEY ROOM

Rachel Maclean: The Lion and The Unicorn 
29 November 2018 – 3 February 2019
Admission free

GROUND FLOOR GALLERIES

Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery
13 April – 11 August 2019
Admission free

Practicing artists have always held a central position at the National Gallery. The collection has provided a source of inspiration for artists from all over the world, from modern masters to acclaimed contemporaries. From winter 2018 onwards, we look forward to welcoming visitors, artists, and scholars to see modern and contemporary art and artists in dialogue with the collection, creating a forum where the art of the present and that of the past is continually explored.


RACHEL MACLEAN: THE LION AND THE UNICORN

29 November 2018 – 3 February 2019
Sunley Room
Admission free

A display of work by Scottish artist Rachel Maclean coincides with the exhibition Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen (Room 1, 29 November 2018 – 3 February 2019) and reflects her engagement with issues of national identity.

Rachel Maclean, The Queen, 2013. Commissioned and published by Edinburgh Printmakers © Rachel Maclean

Rachel Maclean, 'The Queen', 2013. Commissioned and published by Edinburgh Printmakers © Rachel Maclean

Rachel Maclean (1987–) is one of the most sharply satirical artists in Britain today. Using elaborate masks, grotesque prostheses, and gaudy scenography, her caustic and darkly comical films explore the way both collective and individual identities.

'Rachel Maclean: The Lion and The Unicorn' will include the artist’s 2012 film 'The Lion and The Unicorn', which shines an irreverent light on Scottish-English relations.

In 2017, Maclean was selected to represent Scotland + Venice at the Venice Biennale. Her work won the prestigious Margaret Tait Award in 2013 and has been shown at HOME (Manchester); Tate (London); MCA (Chicago); Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (Dublin); Zabludowicz Collection (London); Artpace (San Antonio, USA); The Talbot Rice Gallery (Edinburgh); the Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh) and as part of the British Art Show 8, 2015. Her exhibition 'Over the rainbow' has just ended its run at the National Gallery of Australia.

SEA STAR: SEAN SCULLY AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY

13 April – 11 August 2019
Ground Floor Galleries
Admission free

The National Gallery presents an exhibition of new work by Irish-born, American-based contemporary artist Sean Scully (born 1945). Inspired by the National Gallery Collection and his love for Joseph Mallord William Turner’s painting The Evening Star, he charts a personal journey of deep admiration for colour, composition, and the power of painting.

Sean Scully, 2018, Photo: Liliane Tomasko

Sean Scully, 2018, Photo: Liliane Tomasko

In Turner’s 'The Evening Star', the single figure of a boy on the shore sets off for home as sky and sea darken. For Scully, this elegiac picture is one of Turner’s most profound works and he feels a deep connection to it.

Poignant and poetic, Scully's abstract works are constructed from panels painted in oil, often with thickly applied paint to create rich, textured surfaces. Using the motif of the stripe or chequerboards, the artist evokes landscapes and architecture, horizons, fields, and coastlines; his contemplative forms become reminders of personal experiences and distinctive moments.

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