The Park Gallery
Gongoozler : Lesley Banks
06 May – 25 June 2017
Scotland's first-ever canal artist-in-residence has captured the spectacular sights of the nation's inland waterways on canvas and is inviting the public to go 'gongoozling' – a term for someone who takes joy from watching the world, and one or two boats, pass by on canals. The exhibition marks the culmination of a 15-month residency that saw artist Lesley Banks travel the Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan Canals creating paintings that celebrate the environments and stories of Scotland's 250-year-old waterways.
The residency, funded by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding and supported by Falkirk Community Trust and Scottish Canals, has resulted in the creation of more than 40 paintings of the nation's canals, covering everything from The Falkirk Wheel to Neptune's Staircase, The Kelpies, and even the few remaining sections of the Monkland Canal.
Once bustling transport arteries that stoked the fires of the industrial revolution, today the character of Scotland's canals is very different, with the waterways home to cyclists and social enterprises rather than coal scows and Clydesdale Horses. Passing through some of Scotland's most beautiful landscapes, rural villages and the bustling cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness, the 250-year-old waterways remain vital venues for business, leisure and tourism that attract more than 22 million visits a year.
Born in 1962, Lesley Banks grew up in Denny, Stirlingshire. In 1980 she began a four year Degree course at Glasgow School of Art specialising in Drawing and Painting. After graduating she travelled and painted throughout Europe funded by an Elizabeth Greenshields Scholarship.
In 1988 she became a gallery assistant in the Compass Gallery, Glasgow, where she exhibited more of her artworks winning various prizes and awards, such as the 1991 Scottish Prize, Royal Overseas League London. This gave her the confidence to concentrate on painting full-time.
In 1999 Lesley was appointed 'Artist in Residence' at Edinburgh Zoo where her popular "Urban Zoo" exhibition gained funding from the Scottish Arts Council.
Since this time Lesley has exhibited throughout the UK and even as far afield as Singapore and the USA. Many locals will recall Lesley's successful 2009 Park Gallery exhibition 25 years of Painting, part of the Homecoming programme.
See www.lesleybanks.com for more information on Lesley and her work.
Read more about Lesley's forthcoming exhibition in the latest Falkirk Herald article.
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