This display presents about seventy of Neil Gall's collage works in which he cuts into copies of The Studio magazine, plays around with their images and typographies and adds to them with his own over-drawings to create these ‘cover versions’.
Alongside The Sculpture Collections, we present a new body of work by the artist Neil Gall (b. 1967) in Reception, up the stairs and into the Research Library on the first floor.
Gall was recently given a large collection of old copies of The Studio by his former secondary school art teacher, Ruth Lough (b. 1931). The Studio, which she encountered herself soon after the end of World War II, made a huge impression on her, offering what she called 'a porthole to the Real World of Art' and opening her eyes to ancient and modern art, not just in Britain but internationally.
Originally founded in 1893 by Charles Holme (1848-1923) and titled The Studio: An Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art, this magazine was committed to an international outlook, presenting visual art as a shared international culture that connected people. This inclusive approach to the arts chimed with the interests and philosophies of Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement in these early years. This was felt nowhere more so than in Scotland where the publication did much to promote the work of Glasgow- based artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928). The last issue of The Studio was published in 1964, after which it became Studio International.
The front covers of The Studio soon caught Gall's eye and he started using them for this new body of work. Across it he explores the life of sculpture in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s - the period of the display in our main galleries - as it oscillates between figuration and abstraction, between painting and sculpture and between black and white and colour.
Over-drawing, as well as collage and montage techniques, are used throughout and many revolve around a reworking of the roundel design of The Studio cover. The cutting of circular windows, holes, hoops and loops and the subsequent layering of them is a feature of a number of works. Gall's repeated treatment of this compositional device sees it become a kind of window or portal through which to reconsider today the art of these post-war years. We might also read this new body of work as an act of 'renewal'.
The Studio is a metaphorical evocation of the artist's studio (of a collective kind) and through this we might connect the creative space of Gall's own studio as he makes new works out of these old magazines, drawing attention to these older earlier works and artists.
Original copies of The Studio, including many that Gall used, are also on display in the Research Library.