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Assemblages & Drawings

All images and text Douglas Robertson 2010

‘The Net Mender’ An Exhibition of Assemblages & Drawings Bedales Gallery, Steep, Hampshire. 26th February - 27th March 2010

Introduction I was born and brought up on the east coast of Scotland, and this has had a major influence on my work. My world at that time had three main lines of influence: the spine of the Sidlaw Hills and the Angus Glens to the north; the city of Dundee, with its port and industries; and the River Tay, from its Highland stretches around Dunkeld and Kenmore to the wide river firth between Angus and Fife. Like many other artists, writers and musicians, the foundations for the colours and themes I have used in my work were put in place by the environment and experiences of my childhood. I lived in a landscape rich with folklore and traditions, where the footprints and legacy of the previous people who had passed over the land were not only a memory, but a part of everyday life. As a child, I spent a great deal of time looking into the display cases of the local museums. Many Saturdays and school holidays were occupied in the dimly lit rooms full of local treasures. Pictish stones and objects found in the fields near my home fired my imagination. Relics of the cities whaling industry including beautiful scrimshaw work and personal possessions gave an insight into the lives of people who had shaped the city I grew up in. I believe the occupation of museums, collecting artifacts and how they were displayed, has had a direct bearing on how I have chosen to create my work. The museum cases have left their mark! The wide river firth of the Tay had a major part to play in my upbringing. Not only did it provide a workplace at the docks for my father, but it was another great source of ideas and images. Strangely enough, many of these stem from the futility of fishing with homemade drop lines from the pier at Broughty Ferry as a young boy. Hours spent dangling a line into the water hoping that something would bite. Most of the time the hooks were baited with nothing more than homemade milk bottle cap lures, sparkling in the water below the pier. What I didn't know was that what I was 'catching' was a love of the coastline. The stories of the old fishermen, the history of the river in the Castle Museum, and the colour and mood of the changing river that would be a main part of my artistic vision. I now travel and exhibit widely around Scotland and the UK, and carry with me the same curiosity and sense of place that I developed growing up on the banks of the Tay. The coast still plays an important role in my work along with the countryside. New folklore and traditional tales, similar to the ones I heard as a boy, still inspire me and evoke images and ideas for my art. That wee boy peering into the museum case still lives inside me and is still drawn to finding new treasures in the landscape and imaginations of Scotland. Douglas Robertson


Emigrant (detail)

The Wee Boy and the Museum Case

Bas Baile - Rotal

Bas Baile - Seol

Emigrant - Departure

River Tay


The Gallan Whale

King O’ The Herring


Blue Men Of The Minch

Salt Book

Small Expectations I

Small Expectations II

Poem Boat ( for Ian Stephen )


Uig Bay

Traigh Mor

Abertay Sand

Ardneil Bay

Study for ‘Craw’ I

Study for ‘Craw’ II


Douglas Robertson Born Dundee 1961 Selected one man shows 1991 Ancrum Gallery, Jedburgh 1992 Netherbow Arts Centre, Edinburgh 1994 East Kilbride Arts Centre 1994 David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre (Artist in residence) 1994 Clydesdale Arts Festival (Artist in residence 1994/7) 1996 Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther 1999 Ether Gallery, Southsea 2000 Timespan Gallery, Helmsdale 2000 Maltings Gallery, Farnham 2001 An Lanntair, Isle of Lewis 2002 Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow 2002 An Tuireann, Isle of Skye 2002 McLean Museum, Greenock 2003 An Tobar, Isle of Mull 2006 Bonhoga Gallery, Shetland 2007 Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther 2010 Bedales Arts, Hampshire 2010 Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh

July 2004: Artist in Residence, An Tobar, Isle of Mull; producing seven sketchbooks based on his experiences of the island and its history. Touring exhibition during 1993/4 on the theme of the River Tay, featured two artists Angus McEwan and Douglas Robertson, and two poets, Valerie Gillies and Harvey Holton. The River Spirits show travelled to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery; Gracefield Art Centre, Dumfries; McLean Museum, Greenock; Netherbow Arts Centre, Edinburgh; Barrack Street Museum, Dundee; and the Balbardie Gallery, Bathgate. Work in public collections Inverclyde District Council, East Kilbride District Council, Scottish Fisheries Museum, Clydesdale District Council, Biggar Museums Trust, Calderglen Country Park, Borders Television, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Poetry Library, Timespan Heritage Centre, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, Shetland Arts

Catalogues, Publications, and other media The Dictionary of Artists in Britain Since 1945 - David Buckman (Ed.) - Art Dictionaries Ltd Cover images for ‘Small Expectations’ by Donald S. Murray 2010 Cover illustration for ‘Praising The Guga’ by Donald S. Murray 2008 Douglas Robertson - Timespan Heritage Centre, 2000 Lines Review 118 - Macdonald Publishers, Edinburgh 1991 Lines Review 124 - Macdonald Publishers, Edinburgh 1993 Mistaken Identities: New Scottish poetry and short stories - B&W, Edinburgh, 1995 Edinburgh Review - Polygon, Edinburgh, 1995 'River Spirits' - Documentary series made for the BBC World Service, and broadcast worldwide, 1994 'Usual Suspects' - Arts Review broadcast by BBC Radio Scotland, 1994. Featured an interview with Douglas Robertson 'Poem Boats' - TV magazine feature about Douglas Robertson and Kevin MacNeill, and broadcast on BBC Scotlands 'Eorpa', the Gaelic arts programme on Burn's Night 2001

2010 Bedales Exhibition Draft  

Draft version of exhibition catalogue

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