Lucy Skaer: The Green Man

Lucy Skaer: The Green Man

Talbot Rice Gallery

Text adapted by Lucy Skaer from The Green Man Trail of Oxfordshire.

July 9, 2018
Lucy Skaer
The Green Man
July 26–October 6, 2018
Opening: July 27, 2–4pm
Talbot Rice Gallery
Old College
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh EH8 9YL
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm

T +44 131 650 2210
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / #talbotrice

Lucy Skaer’s exhibition The Green Man is an exploration and reanimation of the desire to collect. Throughout her practice, Skaer mines and manipulates pre-existing imagery—from art, history, and from her own oeuvre and personal history—transforming and destabilizing relationships between materials and meanings. For this exhibition, Skaer has selected items from the collections of the University of Edinburgh and invited fellow artists to inhabit the galleries of Talbot Rice alongside her—Fiona Connor, H.D., Will Holder, Nashashibi/Skaer and Hanneline Visnes. 

To Skaer, the Green Man is a deeply irrational figure, spewing leaves and vines in the place of language. Present in both pagan and Christian imagery, the Green Man made a resurgence after the plague, when wilderness and weeds took over much of the arable land. Skaer has selected items from the collection, bringing them into dialogue with her own constantly shifting works. She has opened windows into the Gallery, allowing in light that may cause them to sprout, grow and form a thicket, where before there was order. In calling the exhibition The Green Man, Lucy Skaer likens the spontaneous generation and evolution of form in artworks such as Sticks and Stones (2015–18) to the symbol of destruction and renewal found in carved stone figures made of leaves and vines. 

Amongst this scene are Hanneline Visnes’ paintings which comment on the representation and control of nature using stylised motifs of animals and plants; Will Holder’s interpretive re-publishing of H.D.’s Palimpsest; Nashashibi/Skaer’s film revisiting the tableaus of Gauguin; and Fiona Connor’s exposure of the Gallery’s secret places. These all contribute to the exploration of collections, forms, print and language. Including a number of new works commissioned by Talbot Rice Gallery for the exhibition, The Green Man carves playful new ways for the collections of the University to speak to visitors, and represents Skaer’s most in-depth exhibition in the UK to date.

The Green Man will be accompanied by a guide written by Talbot Rice Gallery Director, Tessa Giblin, including installation photography, which can be accessed and downloaded free of charge at following the opening of the exhibition.

The Green Man is a partnership between Talbot Rice Gallery, the Centre for Research Collections, and Edinburgh College of Art, all part of the University of Edinburgh. It has been supported by Creative Scotland, the John Florent Stone Fellowship and is part of Edinburgh Art Festival. 


Lucy Skaer has had recent solo exhibitions including Peter Freeman, Inc., New York, Salzburger Kunstverein (2018); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Museo Tamayo, México City, MRAC Serignan, France, Grimm, Amsterdam (2017); Witte de With Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2016); Musees Gallo Romains, Lyon (2015), Tramway, Glasgow (2013); SculptureCenter, New York (2012); Kunsthalle Basel (2009). She was nominated for the Prix Canson in 2016, the Turner Prize in 2009 and was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award in 2016. Born in 1975 in Cambridge, she now lives and works in Glasgow. 

Talbot Rice Gallery is the art gallery of the University of Edinburgh. It is dedicated to furthering curatorial research—with forthcoming solo exhibitions of Jesse Jones and Samson Young who are given access to the University’s collections and research capacity—but also in the creation of conceptual group exhibitions, exploring ideas around frontiers in the age of Brexit, raising the volume on female self-empowerment, and the idea of the “extended mind” finding its nucleus in contemporary art. With a 19th century gallery and a contemporary white cube to fuel its engine, Talbot Rice Gallery is exploring what the University of Edinburgh can contribute to contemporary art production today.


Save the date:

Tremble Tremble & At the Gates
October 26–January 26, 2019
Including Maja Bajevic, Georgia Horgan, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Teresa Margolles, Olivia Plender, Suzanne Treister, the Artists Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment, alongside Jesse Jones’ Tremble Tremble.
Inspired by the tidal wave of change that has been sweeping the world, At the Gates brings together artists whose voices have amplified the global struggle towards female self-empowerment, and in the case of Ireland’s historic fight against the 8th amendment, right to bodily self-determination. Often brushing up against the law or institutions of power, these artists and their individual projects attest to the volume that can amass as these voices, images, banners, objects and artworks become part of a public discussion. Shown alongside Jesse Jones’ performance installation Tremble Tremble, the implication is clear: “tremble, tremble, the witches have returned.”

RSVP for Lucy Skaer: The Green Man
Talbot Rice Gallery
July 9, 2018

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