Exhibition Review: “Leitmotif” by Gary Stewart

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Arts Reviews
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When strolling the well known streets of your home town, it’s easy to forget the beauty and magic of your surroundings. The daily trudge with head down, facing the biting wind, your mind focuses on the next port of call. With his latest exhibition, promising young photographer Gary Stewart reminds us of the beauty and depth of our forgotten urban landscapes.

The stunning images, mostly of Aberdeen street scenes, are interspersed with those of Venice, a seemingly unlikely thematic bedfellow of his home town. The presence of Venetian ramshackle grandeur is comparable to the tattered archways and shaded alleys of Aberdeen city centre. Through the eyes of Gary and his adept gauging of perspective we see the long trails of calles and wynds side by side, taking us on a journey through our own memories while dreaming of distant shores. He reminds us though that we have our own Venice right here which should be appreciated just as fervently. The absence of canals in Aberdeen are matched by their being unseen in Gary’s snapshots of the former Italian city state.

Within each frame stands a lone figure or couple, mainly with heads down and unaware of either the camera or the encapsulating splendour of the architecture. The seemingly isolated individuals are tiny in comparison to the buildings, which display imposing majesty and rock sure reliability. The dark figures are thrown into stark contrast against the brightness of the looming walls, and imperceptibly move as if to escape the narrow grip of the streets or tunnels.

The leitmotif of these thirty wonderful photographs should not be the places themselves but what they inspire us to redress: we should hold our heads up, face into the wind and admire the beauty and immensity that is omnipresent, following us wherever we go.

Leitmotif will be exhibited in the Aberdeen Arts Centre from 5th to 31st May.

To contact Gary about purchasing framed or unframed prints of these works, email:



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