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Hidden art of Dundee master goes on show

1 February 2013

Self-portrait by the artist

Unseen paintings from the prolific Dundee artist Vincent Rattray go on show for the first time this week, at the Hannah Maclure Centre gallery in the University of Abertay Dundee.

Like his best friend Michael Marra, Rattray romanticised and celebrated the world around him. Through his paintings he rearranged the world, saturating scenes with colour and manipulating perspective.

Vincent Rattray (1954-2000) was born and raised in Dundee, but until recently no one realised the huge numbers of paintings he created of his beloved city.

In the preparations for the exhibition, which opens with a preview on Friday 1 February 6-9pm, one painting was even discovered inside another – being used as the backing board for the frame.

Clare Brennan, Curator of Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre, said: “It’s a great honour to put many of these paintings on show for the first time at Abertay University.

“Everyone, including Vince’s family, has been astounded by the huge number of paintings he created.

“His style is totally unique, taking freely from Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism where it helped him to portray Dundee’s patchwork architecture and the eccentric characters he knew.”

Rattray graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in 1987 with first class honours and was the recipient of the Royal Scottish Academy’s Maclaine Watters prize.

Evan Rattray, Vincent’s son, said: “One obvious influence on my father’s painting is of course Dundee. He loved the place, the people and its humour.

“Quite often people say that they find his work slightly unsettling, which I can understand, but I don't think that was ever really his intention. Whenever I went to his studio he was always urging me to find the humour in his paintings.

“I think that was important to him. Maybe he thought unsettling people was funny!”

Rattray deconstructed what he observed, warping angles and intensifying colours. His prolific body of work demonstrates how diverse he was as a painter, from his technique to his subject matter.

Artist Jim Howie and Musician Michael Marra revered Vince’s work. Marra once recounted a story of Vince telling him “the only way someone can really relax is to allow nature to reveal itself, rather than going looking for it”.

His influences were varied and included the German artist Otto Dix, famed for his aggressive approach to colour, perspective and depicting characters affected by war.

The exhibition, ‘Synchronise Our Eyebrows’, opens with a preview this Friday 6-9pm in Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre, on the top floor of the Student Centre on Bell Street.

It runs Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm, until 26 April.


For media enquiries, please contact Kevin Coe (Director of Communications)
E: T: 01382 308 452 M: 07850 904 110

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