REVIEWS AND ARTICLES
City Limits Nov 16.11.89
'Stepping Out - An exhibition of recent drawings and paintings'
French Place Gallery Shoreditch London
When art is shown in Victorian warehouses instead of the familiar carpeted galleries of the West End the result is often more satisfying. Rusting girders a d crumbling plaster set off the paintings as effectively as plush wall carpeting. Sue Barclay borrowed this space for three weeks between tenants: three years of work, much of it exploratory, her most recent paintings making the trip well worth-while. Built on to a framework of wild expressionism, large simple compositions of foreground and distant glow are worked up with intense attention to surface detail, Barclay spending hours scratching into a few square inches of the canvas. The late paintings of Turner spring immediately to mind, though ostensibly abstract Barclay’s paintings have the shadows of their Expressionist beginnings lurking beneath their cultured surfaces like the figures that drown in Turner’s seas. Turner’s setting sun or snow storm becomes an intensifying glow in Barclay’s paintings, changing in hue causing it to give both optimistic and pessimistic portent.
'Stepping Out - An exhibition of recent paintings and drawings'
French Place Gallery Shoreditch London
This exhibition covers Sue Barclay’s output (prodigious output) of paintings over the last three years. the extraordinary impact of the work stems from the fact that they chart an emotional crisis in the the artist’s life. The sun, the light at the end of the tunnel as the source of hope, dominates every canvas. From the earlier, tortured visions of the holocaust, where the world is a dark and hostile inferno, to the later images the Life, itself, is clearly an inspirational force. The latest, large paintings, again the images of suns and moons, glow with energy. Scarlets, crimsons, peaceful and paginate cadmiums oranges and lemons, flicker layer upon layer, resulting in the reverberations that we appreciate in a Turner landscape. They flow the retina and touch the soul. Sue Barclay is a serious and important young Scottish artist. She uses paint with Celtic sensitivity and fervour. This combination and her natural affinity with the Elements transforms her work into an artist force to be reckoned with.
Stephen Bartley Gallery London
For contrast to Gouk’s lusty materialism, go and see the shimmering, other worldly abstractions of the young Scots artist Sue Barclay whose show at the Stephen Bartley Gallery is her second solo show since graduating from Byam Shaw in 1987. She is now working in two complimentary directions: in the first group of pictures creates space-scapes of magical, vibrating colour emanating one or tow burning orbs: in the other she presents harder, more focused discs from which lines radiate. the soothing, etherial quality of the first group contracts with the icon-like stiffness of the second, but in both idioms, a meticulous, painstaking application of pigment results in quietly seductive surfaces. Here is a talent to watch.
The Aspect Prize catalogue 01.10. 2005
The Adam Gallery London
I’ve followed the evolution of Sue Biazotti’s work with keen interest since she graduated from Edinburgh college of art in 1984, and seen her mature into one of the country’s top portrait artists, also exhibiting strongly individual landscape paintings. In addition, although not represented in this show, she has reduced an impressive array of abstract work, from large fiery canvases with the whiff of sulphur about them, through strikingly bold and compelling statements of shape and colour, to smaller, delicate, quieter pieces. The image of the swimmer has emerged more recently.
The swimmer reveals so much. The vitality and movement of the body in water. The playful exuberance of the pool and the sea. And yet, se murmurs also of a connection with the unfathomable, of quieter and stiller places were we might hear the resonate of the depths. Somehow Sue manages to hold this creative tension. While her subject matter is often intensely personal, there’s an enticing whisper off intercession to a more impersonal realm.
I alone of many people owning and admiring Sue’s work who respond to, and enjoy, its underlying calm and tranquil presence. I was delighted to see her win this prize, and look forward to seeing where her talent will take her next.
The Herald 02.08.08
Sue Biazotti: Colonsay Summer
Poolside Gallery, Colonsay
Scotland’s outer reaches are peppered with gems and the island of Colonsay is no exception. For the last few years, local resident, and book-buyer and art lover Georgina Hobhouse has opened up her home to visitors in the summer months, transforming an extension on the side of her house into an art gallery.
Sue Biazotti is the latest artist with a local connection to grace the wall with her work and for his exhibition, Biazotti - a former Aspect Prize Winner - has pulled back from past studies of Colony’s large open says to produce an intimate body of paintings.
These new pieces draw on Biazotti’s own memories of childhood spent on the island, paling on the beach until dusk. She returned there with her own two children for family holidays and worked on several small intensely personal studies of the small moment s we all treasure; children building dams, flying kites, riding bikes and running wild within a small safe environment. the work has a real feeling of searching for times past in a fast paced world in which there are few certainties.
The Herald 20.10.07
Mansfield Park Gallery Glasgow
The word that most readily springs to mind when people view the paintings of Sue Biazotti is ethereal. Check out a dictionary definition of this word and it is almost as difficult to pin down as her work. Certainly, her paintings - be they abstract, figurative or landscapes - are all delicate, refined, and exquisite. they are also light as air, celestial and even spiritual.
If paintings reflect the artist, the this is surely the case with Biazotti, who in flesh exudes a Zen-like calm. A dedicated yoga practitioner who is taking a break from teaching it to concentrate on both painting and her growing family, she has recently been busy in her studio at home in the west end of Glasgow producing new work for the mansfield Park Gallery in nearby Patrick.
The bulk of its builds on a theme which she has been interested in for several years - that of underwater bathers and the effect eh weightlessness of water has on the mind, body and spirit. Also included in the show are serene landscapes, often with just a solitary figure on a shore gazing out to sea . Her use of colour is soothing without being feeble, and the texture of her oils exquisite, displaying the quiet confidence of an artist who is coming into her own space.
In 2005, Biazotti won the prestigious Aspect Prize with her her large hypnotic canvas Dive- Les Issambres, a depiction of her daughter Gabriella swimming underwater. Following this period, she produced mainly abstract paintings, but she has chosen to return to figurative work to explore ideas that, she explains, ‘have been working on her for a long time’. The result is quite special.
The inspiration for her bathers paintings came from watching her children, Gabriella, now 16, and Matteo, 12, swim underwater when they were very young. “There is real grace and freedom in young children when they are small,” she says. “ I suppose I am interested in this because of yoga, but I feel we loose this spontaneity and freedom along the way and there is so much beauty in it underwater, when there is no sound or weight bearing on the body.” Her children act as models for much of her work, and one of her strongest pieces in the show is ‘Beach Boy, which shows Matteo facing out to sea as the dying embers of the sun disappear over the horizon.
The daughter of an architect father and a mother who practiced yoga, Biazotti was destined for her current path in life. “Even when I was little I was always drawing and painting my friends,” she recalls. “ I really didn't want to do anything else but be an artist. At the same time, I’d be copying the poses in my mums yoga books, so I am a fusion of both parents’ artistic and spiritual selves.
Biazotti graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1984 and continued to paint and study in London. There, she curated and starred in her own three week show in an east end warehouse to much critical acclaim. In 1997, by then married with two young children, she returned to her home city of Glasgow. Her work is found in private and corporate collections all over the world, but Biazotti is most gratified by the calls, or emails she gets from people who have felt a healing presence exude from the canvas.
“I talked to a woman recently in London who bout one of my paintings about five years ago and she wanted me to now that she had gone through a really hard time in these years but one of her sources of comfort was my painting, which she used to sit beside and look at when she needed to think. That, for me is a wonderful thing to know.”
The Herald 20.04.13
Sue Biazotti : Hope Street
The Lighthouse Mitchell Street Glasgow
Perhaps it is the ghost of her whisky industry grandfather pioneer James Barclay, channeling it’s way into her art, but for a new series of paintings of Glasgow city centre in the 21st century, Sue Biazotti has conjured up a vision of what could almost be a smoggy Glasgow in the 1930s or 1940s. In a series of 22 paintings called Hope Street, Biazotti, who won the Aspect prize in 2005, has tried to find a way to paint “how she feels about Glasgow”. Biazotti was born in Glasgow, but grew up in Gartocharn in Stirlingshire. She trained at Edinburgh College of Art and lived in London for a decade. “I’ve found that I’ve thought about my grandpa a lot as I’ve been working on this series. Strangely, he had his offices near to Hope Street. I used to see Glasgow as a dark and foreboding place when I was a child. I think this is coming out in the work.
There may be darkness in these paintings, but it is balanced by a lightness of being, which those who know Biazotti’s work will recognise as her signature touch.