A ‘re-imagining’ of the golfing classic by Charles Lees is the centrepiece of a new exhibition of works by David Mach which has opened this week at Fraser Gallery St Andrews.
The Charles Lees’ iconic piece, “The Golfers”, is recognised as the greatest golfing painting in the world and is known to many golfers, as reproductions of it hang in golf clubhouses around the world. Mach’s piece – a large, one-off, original photo collage, depicts a wide range of contemporary people from a range of backgrounds – including Tom Watson, Barack Obama, Sir Ian Wood, Judy and Andy Murray, Alex Salmond, Brian Cox, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Rory McIroy, Val McDermid, Lorraine Kelly and many more are included in the piece.
Mach – who is famed for his dynamic large-scale collages, sculptures and audacious installations – will, for the first time, take on the world of golf. His collages depict golf scenes and the beautiful landscapes of famous golf courses, adding his artistic flair and humour and playing with composition, style, colour and points of view.
“I never thought golf could be so inspiring.” Mach said, “The landscapes I came across in my research of visuals made me realise how beautiful and peaceful it is. The irony, of course, is that everyone concentrates on the holes.”
He added, “Crazy for me to have grown up in Fife and be surrounded by these amazing golf courses and never having taken up the game. There is a real obsession to it and, although I am not a player, obsession is something I understand very well as an artist.”
The exhibition, entitled ‘Two Over Par’, also features new works by Harold Riley, an eminent portrait painter and golf enthusiast, who has attended every Open Championship since happening upon the event at St Andrews in 1946. ‘Two Over Par’ chronicles his love, not just of the game, but of his relationship with the home of golf itself, which stretches almost 60 years.
“Every time I went to the Open I did something,” Riley said. “I tend to keep sketch books for events but often things are drawn on the back of envelopes or pieces of paper. The main interest I had in going to the Open was not necessarily the players and the results, but in making drawings of what was going on around me.”
Born in Salford in 1934, he attended Salford Grammar School, and in 1951 won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. After a one year postgraduate course at the Slade he won a travel scholarship to Italy, followed by a British Council Scholarship to study in Spain and went on to study in Florence also before returning to Salford, where he has lived ever since.
During his student days he met and became friendly with LS Lowry, who became a huge influence on Riley’s work. A lifelong sports enthusiast, Riley played for Manchester United’s junior team and often paints sporting scenes of golf and football.
He sold his first painting to the Salford City Art Gallery when he was 11, and has since held exhibitions of his work there. Indeed, it is thanks to Salford City Council, that an Archive and Studio have been created for him in a conservation area around the old Fire Station in Salford. Here Harold continues to work and his drawings, paintings, and photographs of the city will be housed here as well as his extensive collection of sports studies.
Fraser Gallery, 53 South Street, St Andrews www.frasergallery.co.uk