Drag queen turned draughtsman, Donald Urquhart presents Big Jessie, a selection of bold, new hand printed works created in collaboration with Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen to be showcased at The Brunswick Hotel, Glasgow.
Born in 1963, writer, performer, artist and self confessed ‘big Jessie’ Donald Urquhart first gained public attention as the man behind the 90s high camp, creative cabaret night The Beautiful Bend – a club night which he ran throughout the 1990s with Sheila Tequila and DJ Harvey.
Interest in the imagery and artwork for the flyers and posters for this club resulted in a number of exhibitions of these sophisticated, graphic, and darkly humorous pen and ink drawings – with Donald now being renowned for these distinctive cartoon-like black ink drawings
In Big Jessie Urquhart continues this style of work with pieces including Scottish Alphabet, a screenprint portraying Uquhart’s homeland in twenty-six alphabetically ordered images counting Lulu, the Krankies and Molly Weir as important Scottish icons. In another of his works, Uquhart has given Hen Broon, Elvis and Desperate Dan a ‘Big Jessie’ make-over.
Referring to his piece Scottish Alphabet, Uquhart says, “No doubt Lorraine Kelly will be scunnered that she lost out to Lulu and the Krankies (how must that feel?), and Billy Connolly didn't even make it in as Y is for Big Yin. As the alphabet evolved I realised what a low-brow bunch I was assembling and that perhaps dancer Michael Clark might not be flattered to be included. Our cultural identity is often as garish and lurid as bright tartans and blaring bagpipes. This alphabet became no place for Greyfriars Bobby, John Knox and Mary Queen of Scots. In a vague attempt at balance I tried to incorporate equal numbers of men and women (ten of each) and this is why lovely Molly Weir appears in place of the more predictable W is for whisky.”
David McCracken, sales consultant at Peacock Visual Arts says “Donald articulates a personal narrative with a highly distinctive black and white graphic, brilliantly realised with tiny brush and Indian ink. The richness of his blacks lend themselves naturally to the print medium and poses great challenges to our print team to re-present them with an equal clarity.
Donald’s line is every bit as sharp as his mind and wit – he reveals much of this erudite personality through his drawing. It has been a great privilege to spend time in his company and to share in an ambition to make new and challenging work together.”
Peacock and Donald invite you all ”for a shooftie and a wee swally wi some Big Jessies who like it up the Brunswick” on Thursday 26 April, 7pm – late at Brutti Ma Buino, The Brunswick Hotel, 106/108 Brunswick Street, Merchant City, Glasgow, G1.
Exhibitions run 27 April – 27 May 2012.
Contact: Kylie Roux