The sculpture, 'The Palace of Façade' is based on the Bridge Place palace which hosted Cooke’s colourful Royal Circus, a world-famous equestrian establishment, providing family entertainment in Aberdeen for 125 years.
In later life, the building became the ‘Palace of Varieties Music Hall’ and subsequently the Palace Cinema which subsequently burnt down in 1896. All that remains is the façade.
The sculpture has been created by Iris Walker-Reid, Gray's Contemporary Art Practice Graduate in Residence, whose work forms part of Gray’s MA Postgraduate Degree Show 2021, ‘Onwards’.
Iris, who is from Aberdeen, said: 'My work explores our environment, in both its past and present, and looks at the relationships between ourselves and our surroundings through the marks we leave behind. A city’s landscape constantly changes through abandonment and the need for change and restoration. These places form fragile memories that I seek to express through my work.
“It’s important to show these small changes as they build a portrait of human life and living. A familiar example can be found in the ever-changing streets of Aberdeen where granite facades, which are often empty, undergo repeated deconstruction, renovation and reconstruction.”
Members of the public are invited to come and see Iris’s ‘Palace of Façade’ sculpture which has been installed on RGU’s campus at the Gatehouse exit for the next few months.
The sculpture is made of Chinese plywood with pine frame and is almost 5metres wide by 2.4m in height.
A small model of the sculpture is also on show at Gray’s Postgraduate Degree Show 2021, ‘Onwards’ which is being held at Gray’s Look Again Project Space on St.Andrew’s Street until Sunday 28 November.
This is the first physical degree show post-pandemic and includes a vibrant collection of Design and Fine Art MA disciplines including: Photography, Animation, Video and Sculptural installation, Painting, and Jewellery.
Speaking about Gray’s postgraduate showcase, Iris said: “Grays has really helped me develop my practice further and I’ve had great support from the staff. I would definitely recommend studying at Grays, mainly for the support, workshops, and courses.”
Course Leader, Jon Pengelly from Gray’s School of Art said; “I’d encourage everyone to come to RGU’s campus to see Iris’s ‘Palace of Façade’. This is a really exciting piece of work that draws upon Aberdeen’s cultural history. Iris’s work is part of a dynamic postgraduate showcase at the Look Again Project Space on St.Andrew’s Street. It’s great to be hosting a physical exhibition again and to be celebrating the creative talent from Gray’s School of Art.”