Robbie Bushe: Invasions and Excavations
Robbie Bushe’s practice centres on the depiction of detailed, narrative scenes, frequently set within expansive architectonic constructions. This exhibition, titled Invasions and Excavations, comprises of a series of compact oil paintings portraying the artist’s visual meanderings with civic structures, institutional barriers and personal loss, with the occasional reference to his childhood obsessions of sci-fi and adventure comics. The paintings show huddles of characters who are contained, locked in or shut out; some willing victims, others fighting injustices. All have been derived from a three or four year period of intensive drawing and emerge from a combination of direct observation, visual daydreaming and pictorial mischief-making. The use of the ‘proscenium arch’ or dolls house as a pictorial and theatrical device allows Bushe to stage multiple stories within each composition. The artist’s loss, in 2016, of his mother, who herself was a performer, writer, poet and maker, has informed and fuelled many of these works. Bushe considers the series a tribute to her vitality, creativity and enthusiasm.
Bushe has exhibited his narrative paintings since 1990. Inspired by the characters and the places he has lived and worked, his work has won several national awards including most recently the inaugural W. Gordon Smith Painting Prize at the Dovecot Gallery, Edinburgh. Born in Liverpool in 1964, Bushe grew up in Aberdeenshire, before graduating in painting at Edinburgh College of Art in 1990. Having simultaneously undertaken a career as artist and art lecturer, he taught painting at Grays School of Art, Aberdeen; was Head of Fine Art at the University of Chichester; and lectured at Kent Institute of Art and Design and Oxford Brookes University. Bushe returned to Scotland in 2007 to become the Coordinator of Short Courses at Edinburgh College of Art, now part of the University of Edinburgh.
Robbie Bushe will be giving an artist's talk in the gallery on Sat 29 April, 12 noon.