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Wrong Beat and Baby (2021)

France-Lise McGurn

oil, marker and spray paint on canvas

Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow

© France-Lise McGurn. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery Photo credit: Eva Herzog





Oil, Marker pen, Spray paint, Canvas


250 x 350 cm


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society with support from Byron and Susan Roth and Christie Zhou, 2021/22

Ownership history:

Purchased from the Simon Lee Gallery by the Contemporary Art Society, with support from Byron and Susan Roth and Christie Zhou, 2022; presented to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow Museums, 2021/22
France-Lise McGurn’s paintings have a dreamy quality, the tones and figures are imbued with a feeling of intimacy and fluidity. The people that appear are anonymous, they are not meant to be specific people but rather give the presence of others to convey the same experience of when you are in a room filled with people like being at a crowd in a club. Through McGurn’s practice of working quickly in simple strokes she brings an immediacy to her work and creates an emotional connection with the audience. The lack of detail in terms of clothing make the figures timeless.

Renowned for her wall paintings such as the one in Tate St Ives, McGurn’s practice has expanded in recent years to working with neon or creating sculptural works. While expanding her artistic language, she is also exploring what it is for her to be contained on a canvas. Wrong Beat and Baby is a shift in McGurn’s practice and relationship with the canvas. Additionally, the work also represents a shift in her life in becoming a mother. The ‘wrong beat’ references the different rhythm of night McGurn now has, rather than the rhythm of the nightclub that has so influenced her life and work. A baby can be seen within the womb of one of the figures in the painting.

As McGurn was born and raised in Glasgow. Thus for The Gallery of Modern Art it is essential to acquire a work by the artist. The painting is a reflection on motherhood, shifts in working practice and life that a female artist needs to contend with, a focus within the museum’s existing collection and programmes. The work continues Glasgow Museums drive for more equal representation within the holdings of the collection celebrating the influence of women artists on the visual arts scene in the city.

This image may be shared and re-used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (CC BY-NC-ND). Any further use will need to be cleared directly with the rights holder.

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