James Tweedie – Glasgow Dreams

Back in 1972 when we presented James Tweedie’s first solo exhibition we quoted him as saying that he was virtually “self taught”. That remains true but in the time that has elapsed since then he has acquired a wealth of experience, exhibiting in a long list of important group shows, mixed exhibitions and art fairs across the UK.
Today the individual blend of realism, imagination and mystery that we have come to expect of him remains the hallmark of Tweedie’s work.
James Tweedie has never had to look far to find his subjects. In fact he his surrounded by them in Glasgow’s leafy West End: elegant Victorian villas; small wrought iron fences and footbridges by the Kelvin; children mingling with prams, bikes and pushchairs.
But for Tweedie nothing is quite what it seems. The surrealist character of his work is always an important element. Hints of mystery and unfamiliarity raise our curiosity and hold our attention. His deep personal response to the scene adds a potency and atmosphere to his work.
The locations are always real places and are important in the sense that they are the “jumping off point” for a picture. There has to be something about a place that will turn me on, light, shade, volume, a sense of something other. Usually, but not always, the picture will be started as an urban landscape, and after the image has soaked in for a while something sometimes happens which is the addition of other, foreign, elements which hopefully, will provide a spark that will heighten and amplify the sense of mystery or whatever may have sparked the first idea. They are not symbolist pictures, which would tie them down to a literary and literal meaning, I hope that they would constitute a kind of visual poetry not based on words.