My two main subjects are the body and the city.
Particularly, my home city, Edinburgh, which I love the bones (and stones) of. The brooding buildings, the sombre colours and heavy weather have an expressiveness that hits me every day. I’m interested in getting beyond Edinburgh’s “elegant” surface, using bold and expressionistic brushwork and unexpected juxtaposition to create a more dramatic, gutsy response to the city. Tenements have a real emotional kick for me - like characters. I’m drawn to incongruous modern blocks highlighted amongst the tenements.
I like to mix things up so you may find some buildings repeated – or others removed. Sometimes for compositional reasons and sometimes just for fun!
I paint mainly in oils and am inspired by those who use expressive brushwork such Chaim Soutine, Frank Auerbach, Ludwig Meidner. I love the distinctive language created by Joan Eardley and Duncan Shanks and the strong sense of place in their works. At the back of my head is always a memory of the brooding drama of El Greco's Toledo paintings which blew me away as a child.
As a child I was constantly drawing and painting. My slightly unusual childhood (I was taught at home for a number of years) lead to my being the youngest person at Leith School of Art when set up by the well-known and much missed artists/teachers, Lottie and Mark Cheverton. Being at LSA with the Chevertons, then taught later by painter John Brown was an amazing artistic education. I went to Glasgow School of Art for a year before doing a BA Combined Hons in Fine Art and English Literature at Exeter University.
Since then I’ve done everything from working in a theatre company to freelance arts journalism. I was Curator and Project-manager at arts charity, Art in Healthcare.
All the time I’ve continued to pursue my obsessions in paint, and sold pieces privately, but have shied away from showing my work. Until recently.
I’ve exhibited work in Dublin, and in two large group exhibitions at St Margaret’s House, Edinburgh, by the Naked Aye Collective – a group of visual and performance artists, film-makers and life models, aiming to breathe new life into the figure as a subject.
I’m absolutely delighted to show my work at The Union 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.
Summer Garden Party
Yes, it’s all sunshine and roses for the Summer Garden Party at the Union Gallery, an exhibition of regular, favourite artists, including Patsy McArthur, James Newton Adams, Megan Chapman, Lucy Jones, Colin Brown and Sophie McKay Knight and Joyce Gunn Cairns. Expect a distinctively diverse showcase of amazing abstracts, fabulous flowers, posed portraits, lavish landscapes, architectural artwork, galloping horses, punchy Pop Art and comical Caricatures.
On the dove-grey painted wall to the left as you step inside, is a row of five stunning Abstract Expressionist “landscapes” by Megan Chapman, under a series title, “Echoes and Memory.”
“The foundation of my work is in the balancing of shape and line with colour, texture, and atmosphere. I enjoy creating meditative places to get lost in, such as how we dance between our inner and outer selves... to explore our connection to the world as we navigate the push and pull of life.”
Henry Jabbour at the UNIONgallery
12 March 2017
Like many others locally, we’ve missed the Union Gallery since its removal from Broughton Street to larger premises on Drumsheugh Place.
A visit to the West End on Friday showed that Union’s owner Alison Auldjo has lost none of her knack for finding and nurturing great new talent, most recently that of Henry Jabbour.
Jabbour came late to painting, and was already a successful scientist with the Medical Research Council by the time he joined Leith School of Art in 2005. Consumed by this new calling, he became a full-time artist two years later.
This Life to Me is his first solo exhibition, and it’s a phenomenally successful debut.
By Eleanor Duffy
Photo - Colin Hattersley
An Edinburgh scientist is to open his first solo art exhibition after leaving behind his career to follow his dream.
Henry Jabbour worked for nearly 20 years in the Medical School at Edinburgh University but quit in 2010 to pursue his love of art full-time.
Despite training to be a biologist, Henry found his true calling in painting and has since studied at Leith School of Art in Edinburgh and the New York Academy of Art.
His prints and portraiture work have won praise in the art world and he is now preparing for the launch of his first solo exhibition this weekend.
A solo exhibition by Jenny Matthews: UNIONgallery – a bouquet of fragrant flowers
6 September 2016
UNIONgallery is owned and managed by contemporary artist Alison Auldjo. Originally opening on Broughton Street in 2009, the stylish new premises at the West End has the ideal space and design over two floors to show solo exhibitions, mixed collections, crafts and sculpture. The emphasis is on showing work from established painters who do not exhibit in Scotland, to exciting new Scottish and international talent.
Jenny Matthews studied at Edinburgh College of Art under Elizabeth Blackadder DBE, John Houston and Ann Oran, graduating in 1986. Since then, she has earned a fine reputation as an accomplished watercolourist, exhibiting in the UK and abroad.
Stepping into the Uniongallery to see her new solo exhibition, ‘Sapphire Skies,’ is like taking a stroll across country meadows and along the seashore, so tangible that you can almost smell the fragrant flowers. The soft shades of pinks, mauve, coral red and corn yellow, capture their natural beauty and texture, from beautifully arranged vases and bouquets to land and seacapes and decorative still life compositions.
Here are the first buds of Spring and Summer gardens, a flourish of sweet peas, irises and parrot tulips, as well as pretty thrift and lichen sprouting along the rocky shore at St. Abbs. The artistry is exquisite, meticulous botanical drawings, detailing each petal, stamen, puffs of pollen and green leaf, enhanced through the subtle tone and translucent quality of watercolour.
16 August 2016 Adam Barclay
UNIONGallery, 4 Drumsheugh Pl, Edinburgh
Exhibition continues until September 12
Open Monday to Saturday 10.30am – 5.30pm
The UNION Gallery had their first solo exhibition launch at their new premises on Drumsheugh Place this week, and what a strong first impression it was! The new space, previously a low ceilinged charity shop, is unrecognisable as a classic Edinburgh gallery, resplendent with cornicing and high ceilings! It makes for a fantastic space to show off the works of award-winning water-colourist Jenny Mathews in her third solo exhibition.
The pieces on display are varied in style and dimension but all share a distinctly high quality and impressive artistic feel. With several pieces having been reserved even as they were being hung, it was obvious that Jenny’s work is in high demand. Large works to tie whole rooms together were displayed, alongside horizontal sets, unusual for the artist, and smaller high-detail pieces. Jenny studied botanical illustration under Dame Elizabeth Blackadder and the inspiration is clear in her work, supremely detailed botanical images but with a clear style of her own.
June 13, 2018
By Georgina Coburn
Photo by and copyright Georgina Coburn
Nestled in a listed timber building, layered with time and industry, I find Colin Brown working on his latest painting. Natural light from the window streams in on the easel, illuminating layers of detail and experience. For twenty years Brown’s studio in the Northeast coastal town of Stonehaven has been a harbour for his practice. For an artist driven to excavate cumulative human marks, it’s a welcome place of regeneration. Here he can sift materials gathered from his travels and transform them into dynamic, finely balanced compositions.
Brown’s distinctive work combines painting and collage techniques, formal design and accidental marks in ways that evoke the passing of time and experience of generations. We feel that these highly crafted surfaces could be sections of city walls plastered over with signage, subject to erosion and the density of human life. Unlike many post Warhol contemporary artists that use urban fragments, Brown’s emphasis is not mainstream cultural references or commentary. The energy of European cities like Berlin with their human history and vibrant reinvention, free his work from the dead shine of American Pop Culture.
Artist Interviews on the Jackson's Art Website
26th July 2018 by Julie Caves
Megan Chapman is an American artist from Fayetteville, Arkansas who lives and works in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her abstract paintings are a balancing of shape and line with colour. In addition to her painting, Megan mentors artists, she has created a series of videos called Tuesday Studio Video Visits and for the last 11 years she has written about her practice each week on her studio blog. Her paintings have recently been a part of the HBO TV series True Detective. I asked Megan some questions about her painting practice and ideas.
Julie: Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education.
Megan: I grew up in a house full of books, music, and art, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Because of this, I have always been interested in the arts ever since I was a small child. Ultimately painting became the strongest calling.
16th August 2017
Kevin Low is an artist living and working in Glasgow, his new exhibition Women & Men is currently on show at the Union Gallery in Edinburgh.
What drives your passion – when did you know that art is what you wanted to do?
It’s an obsession. It’s something I have to do, or I get sick. I hesitate to say that because I think that’s how most artists feel. I don’t have a choice. That makes it sound like it’s a chore, like being bullied by the subconscious, but nah, it’s a bloody thrill, every time. There is nothing better in the world than creating stuff.
As a kid, I grew up on a farm. I expected to become a cattleman, I really did. It was a very small world. I think it was pop music that gave me that first buzz in my gut, that invitation to step away from the ‘real world’. Mr David Bowie, I owe you a lot.
You trained initially as a biologist and worked as a scientist, has this part of your past influenced your current art practice of painting people?
I am sure it has but sometimes it is very difficult to pinpoint how.
I firmly believe that the way I look at, and my empathy towards, the human figure is hugely influenced and informed by my past experiences (being brought up in Lebanon at the time of the civil war) and my subsequent education.