Bank Street Gallery

Bank Street Gallery
john harvey

It may be some time since Taysiders have read about John Harvey in the press.  Indeed, there may now even be a generation for whom the name is not immediately ringing bells. The mention of "Witches' Blood" soon heralds a chorus of "yeahs". Harvey is an artist of his generation.  Not for him is the publicity and celebrity that seems an essential feature of modern culture.  No. He is pure. He pursues creativity because it is his way of life.  His energy is boundless.

Adopted as one of Dundee's own, John Harvey has been busy.  Returning to his student pursuit of drawing and painting, Bank Street Gallery brings a show of his most recent works.  For this collection, he has returned to the sea (John and his wife began their married life and young family on board a barge on the Thames in the days when such modus vivendi did not first require a six figure make-over of the barge). As ever, his inspiration is his fellow man.

Killing time before a visit to Stracathro Hospital, Harvey found himself on the beach, inspired by a coastline chiselled by time, nurtured yet by mankind and offering nautical vistas designed to inspire and hypnotise even the hardiest land lover.  He was hooked and found himself drawn to this haven daily, sketching and painting al fresco.

Like the man, his style is expansive, generous and yet thorough.  He captures the peculiar light of the east coast with ease and draws the native into a homeliness that holds you.  He attends to detail.  You cannot miss the humanity of the artist as his focus slips from the breathtaking beauty of this part of the planet to the labour of those who live there.  His exhibition celebrates that juxtaposition - of labour and land, of the ordinariness of man against the vast backdrop of land and climate.

The prominence of the tyres in “The Promenade Tangleha’ Facing South” rejoices in the efforts of this community against wind and waves.  They become symbolic and Harvey's work gives them the beauty and poise of a Mach sculpture without the fanfare. Culture for its own sake: unlikely to draw unwieldy publicity but, like the man, sound and secure for all that.  With all respect to Mach, this show merits promotion, even if quietly.


the exhibiton runs from friday 26th september 2014 to friday 7th november 2014

check the website for opening times