Sandy Laing

Highgate Gallery
04 - 17 Nov 2022
Wednesdays to Fridays 13:00-17:00, Saturdays 11:00-16:00
Sundays 11:00-17:00, Mondays & Tuesdays Closed
Private View: Friday 04 November 18:00-20:30

(Detail) The Tide Going Out on Trump:  acrylic paint and mixed media
on canvas 183x152cm. © Sandy Laing 2021.  All rights reserved.

Drawings, collages and paintings from the full length of Sandy Laing’s career are exhibited at Highgate Gallery.

Sandy Laing, painting graduate of the Royal College of Art in 1975, is exhibiting in his first European show in over 42 years.

For all of Sandy’s fascination for the strength in visual literacy, it is not mirrored in self- promotion.

The post war clash of high and low culture represents a creative nucleus of his thinking, distilled in the spectre of the US model of television arriving in the UK with the first commercially sponsored station (ITV) set against the BBC’s moral mandate.

Growing up in a working class family in a provincial town in 1950s Scotland, Sandy explained you were aware of cultural divides and deep-rooted standards.  Not unlike the rise of the internet, television and new media offered the reward of the global world in all its strangeness, uncertainty and compulsiveness.

Much work includes the use of collage and found objects that allow for a visual narrative of polarities, of refined and popular culture references, of the essential and of the, at first sight, insignificant.

Flying Flags Q Anon: 153x121cm.© Sandy Laing 2021. All rights reserved.

Breakfast on Mars: 153x121cm.© Sandy Laing 2021. All rights reserved.

More recent work explores shadowy recollections, using uncertain distant thoughts and allow for the currency of visual play, and contemporary experience, to take hold and into them breathe life.  For “so long a remembrance continues to exist, it is useless to set it down in writing or otherwise fix it in the memory” – Maurice Malbwatch.

“Works explore the contingencies, sleight of hand and also the partiality of seeing, the uncertainty of our recall.  Images and objects from mass culture are press-ganged into low relief still lives and assemblages that try to fix our interior self with the wider world. Attempting to make sense of past events is to acknowledge memories illusionary concreteness, their reach and the contextual reappraisal that time and further events have brought.”  Sandy Laing, from his book ‘going to see a man about a dog’, 2012.

Can we trust memory if we affect a distancing each time from the original experience?  A more hopeful view is that we are inferring what is to come from what is here rather than lapsing into reveries of the past.
Contact Co-ordinator for Highgate Gallery: Alison de Cleyn