Art speaks volumes for Graham Wands

Girl on a Train by Graham Wands.
Girl on a Train by Graham Wands.

The latest exhibition at the Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir features the work of Scottish artist Graham Wands.

Graham was born and grew up in Irvine. Having spent time in Wester Ross and the Borders, he has for almost the last two decades lived and worked in rural Perthshire.

His own creativity has largely formed his life journey but, like many an artist, he has balanced that inventiveness with what might have been described in generations passed as a ‘real job’.

Not for him the classroom (although he has done that too). No, Graham Wands was one of the last graduates of piano tuning from a now defunct artisan course in Edinburgh.

This self-driven career has taken him around Scotland – and always left scope for him to develop his passion for visual art.

Working in many different media, Wands is self-taught and pragmatic.

He is perhaps best known for his use of a monochrome pallet. His charcoal portraits enjoy popular appreciation, tapping in to the feel-good nature of the retro lifestyle.

A quiet man, you might pass Wands in the street - but he is watching you. Look at the detail of his portraits. His facility to capture character is honed in his comic drawings.

Not only can he create mood in his work - his technical ability in the creation of light can be breathtaking - he can also set up mood in his audience.

His pheasant series is a glorious example of his manipulation of the spectator. At first sight, those cartoons make use of the viewer’s expectations of hunting art.

The faithful gundog loyally waiting behind his master is what a first eye believes it has seen, but look again.

Wands’ humour is manifest in his manipulation of his audience’s expectations. A man of few words, his art speaks volumes.

The exhibition runs at the Bank Street Gallery until January 24.

For opening times check the website

The gallery, opened by owner Susie Clark in 2005, is renowned as the perfect venue for hosting art exhibitions, as well as live acoustic music sessions, poetry recitals, book launches and play readings in its tiny, intimate setting in the centre of Kirriemuir.