Major solo exhibition showcasing Glasgow artist Norman Gilbert to open at Tramway

Major solo exhibition showcasing Glasgow artist Norman Gilbert to open at Tramway

Major solo exhibition showcasing life and career of celebrated Glasgow artist Norman Gilbert to open at Tramway next month

Norman Gilbert (1926-2019) lived and worked in Glasgow’s southside for over sixty five years painting intimate, domestic scenes of his wife Pat, their four children and an extended family of friends and neighbours who frequented their home on Shields Road, and enriched and shaped their lives.

Tramway is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of his work in his home city and neighbourhood.

Gilbert’s vibrant and formally diverse paintings are characterised by bold, inventive colour palettes and flat areas of vivid pattern that sit next to one another in exuberant combinations. Intricately detailed and complex in their composition, his paintings deftly shape a fluid synthesis between figure and space, creating a sense of wholeness in which people, objects and their environments exist harmoniously. In Gilbert’s own words “each colour and shape enhances every other colour and shape, so it’s entirely satisfactory; so it’s at peace.”

Whilst displaying a joyful vivacity which defies adherence to formalist trends, each painting is also testament to Gilbert’s rigour and dedication to his practice over his 70 year career. His canvases were created over months through a meticulous process in which Gilbert first created the painting as a pencil drawing, following this as a black and white painted study before moving on to the final version in colour. Many of the black and white studies, incredible paintings in their own right, will feature as part of the exhibition.

Gilbert continued to paint in his nineties through the final years of his life, and in the absence of people to sit for paintings, he turned to his garden and nature, making beautifully detailed pictures of plants. He also carried on painting the objects that have been familiar constants in his work over the years, the same chairs, tables, ceramics, and textiles which feature repeatedly in his paintings, yet always imbuing them with a new narrative and interpretation.

Along with Norman Gilbert's paintings, Tramway is also exhibiting pencil studies as well as textiles, objects and ephemera from the artist’s studio which was just minutes from Tramway. Murals and elements of the painting have also inspired the scenography of the exhibition.

Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “We are delighted to present this major solo exhibition of Norman Gilbert, which is all the more fitting given Tramway’s location so close to his home and studio. His paintings are lauded and much-loved by the many art lovers who have encountered them over his long career, and now we can bring them to a wider audience and greater recognition, which his work so richly deserves.”

The exhibition runs from 3 September 2022 until 5 February 2023
Preview Friday 2 September 7 to 9pm
Free entry

Download the full press release as a Word Document here>


Image: 'Reclining Boy and Girl'
Oil on Board,122x76cm,©NormanGilbert,1971