running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Great Gray Stuff

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Alasdair Gray Self PortraitIt's been a long time coming, but at last Alasdair Gray, perhaps Scotland's greatest living writer, is being formally recognised for his amazing illustration and design work.

Gray Stuff: Designs for Books and Posters, 1952 – 2010, is at Edinburgh's Talbot Rice Gallery from October 23rd, and is an exhibition of Gray's extensive visual works.

The exhibition will chart the development of his idiosyncratic designs and unique illustrative style which adorned both the covers and interiors of critically acclaimed novels such as Lanark (1981), 1982 Janine (1984) and Poor Things (1992).

Gray studied at Glasgow School or Art, and originally turned to writing to 'subsidise my picture-making' as he once put it.

He created the designs for all his books, and both illustrated and typeset them. 1982 Janine in particular features some remarkable experiments with type, in the ergodic tradition.

Janine and Old Men
Covers for 1982 Janine and Old Men in Love

Poor Things and Lanark
Covers for Poor Things and Lanark

The exhibition will also feature a selection of sketches, illustrations and photographs of Gray's murals, and examples of the dozens of other books and magazines Gray has provided artwork for.

Gray Stuff coincides with a flurry of other related events.

Firstly his work is to be included in the 2010 British Art Show, which opens in Nottingham (23 October 2010 - 9 January 2011). Then there's the launch of A Life in Pictures, an extensive visual biography published by Canongate. There's also a selection of Gray's portraits going on show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and BBC2's The Culture Show is also featuring a special on Gray on 21st October.

Talbot Rice Gallery
British Art Show 2010
A profile of Alasdair Gray, Scotsman, 16 Oct 2010.