Past To The Future: Robert Reddick At Project Ability In Glasgow

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 02 March 2006
a photograph of an older man standing in front of two paintings

Past to the Future is the first solo exhibition of work by 78-year-old Robert Reddick © Project Ability

Project Ability, the Glasgow based organisation that opens up the arts to people who find it difficult accessing mainstream activities, is currently hosting an exhibition by one of its oldest artists.

Past to the Future, the first solo exhibition of work by Robert Reddick, runs at Project Ability’s Glasgow Gallery until March 17, and features line drawings, paintings and 3-d objects.

78-year-old Robert has been attending Project Ability’s workshop for adults with learning difficulties for around four years. During this time he has created a huge volume of work and has exhibited and sold his artwork in many group shows, including the Glasgow Art Fair.

a photograph of an older man standing behind a small sculpture of a plane

© Project Ability

For his current show a number of themes are explored including the changing seasons, modes of transport (from the past and the future), historical events and townscapes – particularly old Glasgow.

Scottish holiday resorts like Rothesay and Ayr, and historic figures like Robert Burns also feature in his work and many of his drawings have a patriotic edge to them.

Robert works and draws from memory and he can draw buildings that he remembers from his childhood with an intimate precision. Many of the buildings he portrays have been knocked down and replaced with new shops and car parks.

Some of the art tutors at Project Ability have noticed that he seems to have an almost in-built need to constantly create work and how his work is intriguing in that it sometimes seems to depict snapshots of particular moments or memories from his life.

a photograph of an older man sat at a workbench in a studio working on a drawing

© Project Ability

Pictures often incorporate words and text, which adds further meaning and, sometimes, mystery to his work. Robert also has a learning disability so he has had to overcome a number of barriers to achieve his goal of having his own solo exhibition.

"Although I am quite a private person," said Robert, "I am happy to have my work displayed in my own exhibition."

Robert works with a wide variety of art materials and mediums, but he tends to favour line drawing and sketching in pencil and ink.

As well as working from Project Ability’s base in the Merchant City, he also creates work continuously at his home in Riddrie where he improvises with a wide range of materials.

a photograph of an older man standing in front of two paintings

© Project Ability

An artist who tends not to throw anything away, his works often incorporate paper, string, cartons and boxes and over the years he has made toys, cars, trains, ornaments and even dolls house furniture. Prolific and driven, he has been likened by some of the professional artists who support him to Outsider artists such as Scottish artist Angus McPhee.

Project Ability have been generating opportunites for people to create art and exhibit their work for over 20 years. Each week over 350 people are involved in their programmes. See the gallery link below for more information.

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