"[Grant's] drawings are reminiscent of Giacometti whose images shimmer in an existential haze, present, but never fixed..."
- The Scotsman
The Long Look was a collaboration between the painter Audrey Grant and the photographer and printmaker Norman McBeath. It explored the art of portraiture beyond the conventional artist and sitter relationship, revealing what became a unique creative exchange between the two artists.
Audrey asked Norman to sit for a portrait in charcoal, said this would take 'weeks probably months' and asked him to photograph the drawing at the end of each sitting. She would then erase the drawing at the start of the next sitting and begin the portrait anew. Norman was intrigued by the way Audrey was working which led him to photograph aspects of this process such as Audrey's hands, the sitter's chair, the charcoal. He said 'I became fascinated by the sheer physicality of Audrey's drawing: the constant back and forth to the easel, the scrapes, rubs and wipes of the charcoal and cloth on the paper, the sharp snap of a new piece of black willow.' Audrey completed the portrait after two years of sittings and in tandem worked on another portrait of Norman and two long-durational portraits of the award-winning crime writer Val McDermid. The four finished portraits, along with images of all the versions of the drawings that no longer exist, and Norman's photographs were on display in this fascinating and revelatory exhibition.
Image: Norman McBeath, Audrey’s Hands (detail), 2017, digital photographic print © Norman McBeath.
Part of Edinburgh Art Festival.
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