Beth Fisher RSA: Grisaille Legacy

RSA Upper Galleries

Free entry


Beth Fisher RSA is one of Scotland's most prominent and important artists. Emigrating from the US during the 1960's Beth was influential in setting up both Glasgow Print Studio and Peacock Printmakers in Aberdeen. Over the past 40 years Beth has taught at Glasgow School of Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee and Grays School of Art, Aberdeen encouraging and nurturing many hundreds of young creative Scots towards their own future illustrious careers.


During 2000-01 Beth took a sabbatical from teaching to begin an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded drawing project entitled 'Grisaille Legacy'. This drawing cycle was intended to explore the personal and unremarkable in large scale monochrome drawings. Little did Beth know at the time that it would become the most difficult, emotional, tumultuous, heart-wrenching and, ultimately, successful project of her career. Very large in scale (some drawings measure 137 x 305cm) these monumental works take reference from classical and historical allegory whilst portraying and documenting intimately personal emotions and pain.


Ten years on from its inception and, indeed, ten years in the making 'Grisaille Legacy' will be shown for the very first time. Presented in the upper galleries in the Royal Scottish Academy, these series of large-scale charcoal drawings will take us on Beth's very personal journey through the documentation of her family life. Beth retired from teaching in 2004 to concentrate on the development and completion of this series of works


To complement the series, The Royal Scottish Academy will exhibit, also for the first time, large scale cartoons by William Dyce RSA (1806 - 1864) held in the Collection of the Royal Scottish Academy (a Collection of National Significance). These Victorian cartoons are scale studies of the Arthurian legend made for the frescoes in the Queen's Robing Room at the Palace of Westminster. Also allegorical in nature, they reflect both the scale and themes depicted in Beth Fisher's magnificent series.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a full colour publication including essays. It is intended that this publication contextualises the political and ethical issues raised by making such personal narrative work about the family in a public context. The publication will also place the presentation within the framework of important feminist work on the 20th /21st century.


BBC Radio Cafe Interview (scroll to 37mins)
Scotsman review - Duncan Macmillan
Sunday Times Eccosse - Pick of the week


Also touring to:
Space Gallery, University of Portsmouth, 12 April - 2 May 2010
New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge, 23 April - 22 May 2011