Sandy Grant : Views from the Crust

shown at Iain Irving projects, Greenwards, by Hatton, Aberdeenshire, June 1997.

Views from the Crust was a series of new pictures; landscape paintings in oil, which depict in a traditional way, views of the past, present and future: views that might have been seen; views that might never be seen.

Sandy Grant told me that amateur artists will one day paint what he paints. Quite simply, Grant makes beautiful images of scenes. Manhattan is a view of the city from the air. Texas Balloon Race is a balloon race over Texas. Down below perhaps is Fort Worth-Dallas, Houston, or maybe Texas City. And because Texas’ position on the globe is at a right angle to where Scotland is located – where Grant lives now – the balloons don’t fly up but, rather, to the left. For ‘up’ and ‘down’ are relative terms. By being pedantic about the details of points in space Grant points to a world (a universe) much bigger and more timeless.

Grant’s pictures – landscape paintings in oil – depict views of the past, present, and future; views that might have been seen; views that may never be seen. Sol is a picture of an x-ray of the sun.The Ultimate Achievement shows an American flag proudly claiming a lunar wilderness-our home planet is shining in the sky. In (Untitled) Faith a spaceship hovers near to a church – each is as real as the other. A painting of a deserted shore pictures a coastline which looks ordinary enough – there are seagulls and straw beach huts; the sea stretches as far as the eye can see – except over the horizon in a pink sky, there are three suns not one. Charles and John is a painting of a moon’s surface. It looks as though the place is uninhabited. But looking closer and more carefully, I can see tracks in the dust.

Caught up in the details of our lives it is easy to forget to look at and see and sense the breathtaking immensity of our situation; and faced with immensity and all its details, our worries and our ultimate achievements can seem quite tiny. “Small,” “large,” “here,” “there,” “normal,” and “strange” are relative terms too. In a post- modem world we come to terms with the skyline between recognition of infinity aligned with the need for a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think it was Einstein who said that when you ask simple questions and start getting answers, you’re beginning to hear God think. Grant paints simple pictures and perhaps also begins to hear people think. For some day people will go on lunar watercolour painting trips to capture the views from the Taurus Mountains or render exactly the light and shade of the Clavius crater.

Judith Findlay, text from, ‘Flash Art’, ‘Ouvertures : Sandy Grant’, page 105, November/December 1997.

Sandy Grant


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