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Ian MacIntyre’s Artistic Paradigm Unveiled in Captivating Exhibition

WASPS Patriothall Gallery in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, is set to host a highly anticipated exhibition featuring the extraordinary paintings and prints of Ian MacIntyre. This eagerly awaited showcase will run for one week starting from the 12th of July. To kick off the event, the gallery will present an awe-inspiring fifteen-minute cantata, specially composed for this occasion by Max, the artist’s son. Accompanied by four talented singers and a pianist, the performance will take place in the main gallery. The cantata ingeniously encapsulates the controversial theme of the exhibition, which is further explored in MacIntyre’s thought-provoking essay titled “Ian MacIntyre’s Theory of Art: revealed in a brief conversation.”

The essay narrates a story set in the near future, where Mickey, an old friend from art school, recognises Ian’s voice on the radio discussing the exhibition and arranges to meet him. As they stroll through the streets of Edinburgh, they engage in a humorous and enlightening conversation, reflecting not only on their personal experiences with art but also on the history of art itself. Mickey expresses his confusion about the current art scene, describing it as “confused and contradictory.” Seeking clarity, he turns to Ian, renowned for his unique artistic perspective, and asks, “What’s good and what’s bad… Do you know, Ian?”

Their discussion humorously draws parallels between Primitive Art and their childhood art, as well as Renaissance Art and their art during secondary school. Ian playfully remarks, “Same as the rest of us, you were a primary school primitive that had a secondary school Renaissance.” They delve into the significance of post-Impressionism, reflecting on its enduring impact even centuries after the “five-hundred-year Renaissance-influenced period,” and subsequently explore art since post-Impressionism.

Towards the end of their conversation, as they approach the Belford Road Gallery of Modern Art, Ian retrieves a list from his pocket containing the names of approximately seventy-five artists spanning from 1890 to the present day. The list is divided into three sections: A group (labelled “meaningful and abstract”), B group (“meaningful but not abstract – too realistic”), and C group (“abstract but not meaningful – too abstract”). Ian explains that every artist in the world can be categorised into one of these groups. The A group, which he considers the most important and the most challenging to be part of, features renowned names like Paolozzi, Hockney, Picasso, as well as lesser-known artists such as illustrator Clare Curtis and painter Simon Quadrat. The B group includes artists like Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Jenny Saville, and Grayson Perry, while the C group consists of artists like Anish Kapoor, Jackson Pollock, and Callum Innes. Ian emphasises that his A group represents artists who have achieved a strong, individual style—a result of being guided by the figure he refers to as “Mother Art,” symbolising honesty and integrity in art.

Ian’s theory suggests that this “own style” art, belonging to the A group, represents the new and exceptional art that has been present all along, even during the era of Britart and conceptual art. In contrast, groups B and C are viewed as weaker alternatives for artists who are unable to enter the A group, leading them to create patterns or adopt a purely conceptual approach.

The exhibition, showcasing MacIntyre’s distinctive “own style” art, along with the captivating cantata composition and performance, promises to be a tour de force. The essay itself is a remarkable, eye-opening, radical, and controversial piece that delves beyond fame and wealth to explore the true essence of great art. MacIntyre predicts that this exhibition will be remembered simply as “The MacIntyre Show”—a title that might prove prophetic.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday, 12th July 2023, at 6:30 pm and will run until Tuesday, 18th July 2023.

Live cantata performances will take place on Wednesday, 12th July, at 7:00 pm and Thursday, 13th July, at 7:00 pm, with free admission.

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