Disquiet Beauty


Wed, 8 March 2023 - Sun, 2 April 2023

10-5pm Monday - Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday


Arusha Gallery - 13A Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6QG

Further info

More information

Type: Exhibition

Elaine Speirs, Ethereal Cage, 2022, Acrylic and oil on fabriano paper, 154 x 122 cm

Born in Johannesburg and raised on the West Coast of Scotland, Elaine Speirs completed her undergraduate degree at the Edinburgh College of Art before pursuing further studies at the Slade School of Fine Art. A regular exhibitor with the RSA, the SSA and the Mall Galleries, Speirs resume boasts a succession of prestigious awards including the Glasgow Club Award and the Caron Keating Memorial Award. Speirs has, in addition, been shortlisted for the National Open Art Competition and the Threadneedle Prize (2014).

Historically, Speirs’ work has been informed by her children, their friends, and the identity she has herself carved out of motherhood. The biographical uncertainty of her own childhood — encountered first-hand in 2006, whereupon she returned to South Africa — have fostered in her practice the keen eye of a participant-observer. Speirs’ uniqueness is borne of how absorbed in the life of her subjects her work is, how in constant protection of them her practice must be, but how, nevertheless, she is able to objectively and comprehensively chart the transition of girlhood to womanhood.

Using bold gestures, fluid lines and a luminous palette, Speirs’ work sings with a kind of feminine perfume. Simultaneously compassionate and detached, profoundly implicated yet artistically removed, these are works which capture the candour of maternity and the innocence of childhood.

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