Jenny Matthews - Sapphire Skies

Opening Night - 12th Aug 2016 18.00 - 20.30pm

12th Aug - 12th Sept

The UNIONgallery is proud to host award winning watercolourist Jenny Matthews third solo exhibition with us.

This will be the first solo exhibition at our new premises and we are delighted to showcase Jenny's latest work during the Edinburgh Festival.


The Gallery


Established to bring the very best of the contemporary art scene to the public view, and to offer the finest service to buyer and artist alike, UNIONgallery is a gallery with a...

These are just a few of our forthcoming exhibitions. Click on the titles to find out more, or visit the Exhibitions page to see what else is coming soon.



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Ophelia Bathing

17 July 2016

When Alison Auldjo began converting a former charity shop into the second incarnation of the Union Gallery, removing a lowered ceiling and turning a pokey back storage room into a well-lit stairwell, she knew exactly the picture she wanted in the space. It was Phil Braham’s Ophelia Bathing, a painting she had seen in the Scottish Gallery a few years ago, when it was ‘best in show’ but went unsold. “I went to see him to tell him about the new place, ‘Phil, come and see the space, you will see exactly what I mean about your painting’,” she said. The work  uses a backdrop from the Water of Leith; Ophelia is bathing, not drowning, It is unobtrusively thought-provoking: the bather’s shoulders above smooth water, calmly swimming a ladylike breast-stroke, in a moment of reflection, before Hamlet stirs things up.

Auldjo put a second considerable picture by Braham in the window of her gallery for its reopening a few weeks back. The work, 21st Century Sublime, shows rolling hills around a Scottish valley cloaked in misty skies, the kind of view you’d find coming down from a Munro, but Graham’s last touch was to put a fighter jet flicking across it. “We have all seen scenes like that in the Highlands. It’s eery, it’s quite bleak, but it’s beautiful,” said Auldjo. My first ill-thought guess is Glencoe; but it’s more the gentler landscape of Aviemore, where two low-flying planes roared past on a recent walk, their sound gathering behind them.

When Auldjo closed the Union Gallery in Broughton Street, after seven years on a wonderfully prominent corner of one of Edinburgh’s couthiest streets, I had wondered if she would really be back. There are too many stories of galleries that seem to wilt under pressure: in Edinburgh the old Doggerfisher, the recently downsized Ingleby Gallery, in London the impact of skyrocketing real estate. I’ve heard old dealers lately saying traditional Scottish art markets are dead, and artists facing hard times, though that is not exactly new.

Word of Mouth

we dont accomplish our love

12 August 2015

Word of mouth is the happy fall back for exploring Edinburgh’s festivals, when thousands of shows shovel their star ratings at you in a noisy clamour for time and attention. So when a Scottish artist and retired teacher, asks what’s interesting in the Edinburgh Art Festival this year, we talk MC Escher and John Bellany – and I tell him to go see Audrey Grant’s show, at the Union Gallery in Broughton Street.

The exhibition is not actually in the festival. Established galleries in the city have to opt in financially to get a mention there and some have declined to do so. But that does not prevent them showcasing their top offerings. Grant, though just turned 50, is an artist to watch, and the word of mouth on her work is very good.

For customers of the Union Gallery, and of Painter and Hall, who now represent her in London, Audrey Grant is also an artist to buy. By opening night, of 18 paintings in the exhibition, all but three or four had sold. Her last exhibition at Panter and Hall has now entirely sold out; she will go back to Pall Mall, with a solo exhibition in the gallery’s larger upper space, and who knows if she’ll soon be lost to London entirely.

Introducing Grant’s exhibition two years ago, the critic Jan Patience wrote how she scratched her head for days to articulate how the works affected her; I did the same. The solitary figures she paints carry an immediate, accessible charm. These still waters run deep; scratch the surface, absorbing, grave, thought-provoking. They are from an artist in a later-life career, making a series of interesting shifts through different degrees of abstraction.


With all its eyes by Audrey Grant

Sunday, 9 August 2015

If you have time to take in only one exhibition this summer, Audrey Grant’s at the Union Gallery is a strong contender for your attention.

Spurtle has covered Grant’s work several times before (see 4.3.13) , on each occasion admiring her humane but unflinching studies of the human form. She dwells upon its external and internal flaws, its dislocations and imbalances, finding in these imperfections a kind of vulnerable beauty, even nobility.

Such themes are in evidence again here, although this time often referenced through the work of Rainer Maria Rilke, whose lines are sometimes quoted in the paintings’ titles or scratched onto the surfaces of the works themselves.

Before going any further, let me urge you to get close to Grant's work. Much of the pleasure it gives comes from the energy with which the paint has been applied – thick, delicious swirls and drips and daubs. This is textured in every sense.

Summer Cocktails

Blue Bear with edges

Sunday, 12 July 2015

As its name suggests, Summer Cocktail comprises an invigorating blend of styles and strengths which leave one feeling slightly less in touch with the day-to-day world on the way out than one did on the way in.

This reviewer's favourites included Lucy Jones's 'Blue Bear Café': a familiar Canonmills scene here fragmented, refracted and reassembled as collage, monoprint and wax.

For all its apparent disjointedness, there is a solidity about its blues and blacks and central door recess which is particularly satisfying.

Drummond Mayo's 'Meditation' is similar, at first glance, although here the viewer must settle for an effect which is far less resolved. That familiar point one often reaches with Mayo's works, when a step back and a refocusing of the eyes reveals some hidden image, eludes on this occasion.

Coast to Coast


Sunday, 21 June 2015

‘It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.’

So wrote the US author and counterculturalist Hunter S. Thompson, and it’s a sentiment seemingly shared by several of the artists in this month’s joint exhibition Coast to Coast in the Union Gallery.

One of my favourite works was Mark Nicholas Edward’s otherworldly and unsettling 'Rosacea' – rendered with great realism but also a sense of almost sacred drama. Maybe it's all those blues that do it, or the radiant solemnity, or the viewer's position below the bells and hoods and at lightning level.

Imogen Alabaster also revels in the rich strangeness of underwater life and perception. In the work below, a seahorse rides the bubbling tumult, its life oddly reinterpreted in the painting’s title: ‘Tell her I'll be waiting in all the usual places’. The wit of a well-chosen song lyric, the touching ridiculousness of a fish finding himself a slave to love, is typical of Alabaster’s style. Hers is a very nicely judged balance of colour, motion and incongruity.

From The Blog

Press Release: James Newton Adams





The exhibition will open on September 4th at the Union Gallery in Edinburgh. With a selection of new paintings and wrought iron sculpture, James invites viewers to look and, as the show’s title suggests, see, through the eyes of the characters in his created world. Using his distinctive and very direct style, the artist reflects on his own experience of life in the Highlands and Islands.

Walking on Sunshine

The Stockbridge Edinburgh website has a lovely article about the five year birthday


Jun 24, 2014

AlisonAuldjoIt’s five years since a 31-year old artist took a leap of faith and decided to open a gallery on Edinburgh’s Broughton Street, just when the country was in the grip of a recession.

To mark the Union Gallery’s fifth birthday, owner and director Alison Auldjo is welcoming back many of the outstanding artists who have exhibited with her for ‘Now We Are Five’, a spectacular mixed exhibition which runs from 4 until 29 July.

The exhibition features artists such as Philip Braham, Annette Edgar, Patsy McArthur, Dylan Lisle, Graham Flack, Norrie Harman, Joyce Gun Cairns MBE, and Audrey Grant to name a few.

The gallery has forged a formidable reputation for showing the work of contemporary artists that other galleries might consider non-commercial in terms of too challenging or too provocative.


Woo Hoo!!!...



Now We're on Video

A wonderful wee video, courtesy of Summerhall TV all about the 5th Birthday show, Now We Are 5! You've only got a few days left to see all of these brilliant works all in one place! (and that place is UNIONgallery of course...) I look forward to seeing you!!

Huge thanks to Summerhall TV and Art in Scotland TV for the video.