MURIEL BARCLAY SOLO SHOW 2013
LEMOND ART ANALYSIS
Barclay is known for her portrayals of ballet and music themes.
This year, just as the timetable for the independence vote is announced, Barclay paints three notable paintings.
'Picturing Flag' (above) is a simply outstanding painting. You need to see beyond the cliche of the flag. In creating it, Barclay presents several meaningful compositional layers. Set against a background of abstraction she uses symbolism starting with the large blank canvas and the draped overscale Scottish flag. The character on the left is in an almost exaggerated drama pose - an allegory of the debate. You get a sense that she is pulling back the flag to look at what the canvas (or future reveals). This inquisitiveness is contrasted with the more classical pose of the girl on the right, perhaps symbolising the status quo. The stance of both characters cleverly borrows from the shape of the St Andrews cross. We are left with questions about independence, but not the answers. These layers establish the narrative and create the timeless qualities of this monumental painting.
In 'Flag Drama' (above) again Barclay presents the blank canvas draped with the flag. In this case the character represents drama within the allegory of the independence debate. This time set against an outlook of water, you get a sense of looking out from Scotland and perhaps the international dimensions. The girl on the left is on her tiptoes looking out over the flag as if she is keen to see what lies beyond. Again, clever layers that add to this painting's timeless qualities.
The clue is in the title 'Self Protection' (above) and the progression presented from the left to the right. The character to the left is protected by the flag, but looks uncertain. The middle represents a shift - the hair is now tied up, as if in business-like preparation and the person becomes partly exposed. We move to the character on the right, who has now moved out from the protection of the flag and is now fully exposed, but still has the protection (the umbrella) of the colours. With this exposure, you get a renewed sense of confidence, having broken away. Perhaps the artist is leaving you with subtle observations about breaking away or out from a bad relationship and what it might be like to be on the far side.