Alpha Art in Stockbridge first opened as a coffee shop with a small back room gallery, but the exhibitions of well selected contemporary art soon became a great success.
The sofas, cappuccinos and cakes have now gone to create a spacious arts and crafts Boutique with a regularly changing display of paintings, prints, jewellery and sculpture.
The 2013 Edinburgh Festival exhibition, Double Vision, has just opened, combining an eclectic range of exciting new talent, a celebration of Edinburgh-inspired artwork and well established names.
Many regular Alpha Artists are here, such as the series of Scottish icons by Stephen O’Neill – Forth Road Bridge, Tunnocks Tea cakes, Irn Bru - designed as smart red digital prints.
A few blossoming trees by Jack Frame and John Bellany’s portraits and drawings of fishing port life are also on show. Seascapes are always popular – tranquil beach scenes around Scotland from Iona to the Bass Rock, North Berwick.
Almost taking centre stage around the gallery, perched on cabinets and display tables, are eleven small Scottie Dogs hand crafted by Gosia Bruchlikowska. Made out of approximately 7,000 individually hand-rolled pieces of newspaper – the quality press of course - The Scotsman, Guardian, The Times, as well as colour supplements, Yellow Pages and the Fringe brochure 2013.
The dog’s body is made out of a papier mache frame and like a cute wee puppy, they measure around 12 by 14 inches. Each has a unique character, with heads, ears and tails turned in a different direction.
Named after Scottish islands, such as Flotta and Yell, each has a story about the place name. Gosia's clever, witty Scottie dog artwork has already brought in many commissions, including one for a Highland cow!.
In the back room, the end wall is taken up by a large bright, bold cityscape of Trafalgar Square by Rhona Fairgrieve, who has just graduated with a first class degree in Visual Arts from Leeds University.
The scene focuses on the impact of urban life - traffic, people, shops, music around our city streets. Rhona suffers from tinnitus, and, as she describes the experience, she finds silence in the city because the street noise cancels out the constant repetition of ringing she hears. This painting, with its crowd of people and a visual sense of fireworks, light and sound, is reminiscent of Lowry’s matchstick men in their city landscape.
In contrast is the work of Michael Dix, whose artistic subject is the study of insects. Thankfully for me no spiders or moths here, but the honey bees, ladybirds and butterflies of summer. Dix is interested in the idea of Scale, and in these acrylic paintings he observes the magnified transparent wings and yellow and black hairs of the bees in minute detail.
Browse around the gallery to find sculptured mini-figures by John McPhail, fine vintage-styled jewellery by Louise Pringle, and decorative pewter spoons and tableware by Glover and Smith.
The Double Vision exhibition runs to 31st August, 2013.
Alpha Art 52 Hamilton Place, EH3 5AX t. 0131 226 3066