Exhibition: Gracefield Art Centre, Dumfries
25 November - 6 January : Gallery 1
The Album Cover, Paintings, Music and Story
This new exhibition by William Neal has the feel of a mini-retrospective. It includes the story from art school in the 60s, rock album cover artwork in the 70s, Galloway watercolour landscapes, plus projects with abstract concepts involving music related shows over the past half century.
'The Dreamer' 30" x 90"
The album of the Exhibition - The Exhibition of the Album
"One More Time" will be my final large-scale exhibition and brings me full circle to reconnect my current practice with my early career. My album designs for Emerson, Lake & Palmer were hugely successful, and Tarkus, the armadillo-like creation that appears on the cover of the album of that name, has its own cult following. My second cover for the band was "Pictures at an Exhibition", the band's version of Mussorgsky's famous work, and for this I painted a series of large paintings which formed the basis of the album cover design. With "One More Time" a series of new paintings and new musical work is once more brought together - the paintings inspired by the music, and the music by the paintings.
My main collaborator has been Scottish musician and composer Alan Cameron who has composed a suite of new pieces to accompany the work. This has been supplemented by Alan's own performance of "Promenade" from "Pictures at an Exhibition" as well as a piece contributed by my old friend Phillip Goodhand Tait, and of course "The Dreamer" by Keith Emerson. Before his untimely death, Keith was excited about this project and keen to contribute, and I am hugely grateful to his estate for the opportunity to include his piece on the record. Also contributing to the project with two evocative contemporary pieces is young Swedish composer Daniel Rosenqvist.
A key component of the exhibition was the idea to produce a limited edition catalogue of the exhibition in the form of a 70s-style gatefold album containing the music composed for the exhibition on a vinyl record and the images within the full sleeve notes. For his help with these I am very grateful to rock author Martyn Hanson who previously provided the sleeve notes for Emerson, Lake & Palmer. These notes, which form the exhibition catalogue, place the exhibition in the context of its development out of the 70s, my role as a maker of album graphics of the time, and leading up to the present and my recent work.
I hope the exhibition of paintings, supporting drawings and other visual material will be enjoyed for what they are. However, the project is very much about the collaboration. I very much enjoy inter-disciplinary projects - particularly with musicians, not surprisingly. This project works with some of my contemporaries who I have known for nearly half a century as well as current collaborators for whom many new challenges and opportunities have emerged. Daniel Rosenqvist works closely with the digital gaming industry - which in some ways inhabits the same place in culture today as the concept rock of the early 70s did then. The project both spans a creative lifetime and finds parallels in today's creative process, nearly fifty years apart.
'One More Time', the Album is available as a 12-inch LP with accompanying sleeve notes.
It is produced as a limited edition of 500.
Post and Packing: £5 UK; £6 Europe; £10 North America (airmail)