SCOTTISH ART NEWS
SCOTTISH A RT N EWS
Grand tours, House tours, Art tours ISS UE 31
Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire KA18 2NJ www.dumfries-house.org.uk 01290 425 959
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Take a tour of Ayrshire's Dumfries House, designed by Robert and John Adam, and discover one of the most complete collections of furniture from Thomas Chippendale's early Director period and the finest collection of Scottish rococo furniture in existence. Dumfries House, which is run by the Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust, is also proud to display a group of paintings by Scottish masters on loan from the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation.
ISSUE 31 SUMMER 2019 Â£3
UNCOVERING ALEXANDER RUNCIMAN
PLUS Victoria Crowe: 50 Years of Painting Cathy Wilkes Charlotte Prodger, Scotland + Venice Charles Dixon
SCOTTISH ART NEWS
32 Recent Acquisitions Rachael Cloughton
Private View Dougal McKenzie
36 Art Market Scottish Design Special
FEATURES 12 Victoria Crowe: 50 Years of Painting Susan Mansfield 16 Cathy Wilkes Fiona Bradley 18 Charlotte Prodger, Scotland + Venice Neil Cooper 21 Golden period for Gray’s? Rachael Cloughton
Scottish Art News The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, 15 Suffolk Street, London W1J 8DU United Kingdom T: (0)207 042 5730 E: email@example.com Scottish Art News is published biannually by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, London. Publication dates: May and October.
Director James Knox
40 Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing Kathryn Lloyd
Editor Rachael Cloughton
42 As We See It: Twentieth Century Scottish Art David Pollock
Design Lizzie Cameron www.lizziecameron.co.uk
43 The German Revolution: Expressionist Prints Neil Cooper
24 Charles Dixon John Webley
44 Thomas Kilpper: The Politics of Heritage vs the Heritage of Politics Susan Mansfield
26 Alexander Runciman’s The Ascension Duncan Macmillan
45 Document Scotland: A Contested Land David Pollock
Scottish Art News Diary Arabella Bradley
Editorial assistance Paul McLean
Print co-ordinated by fgrahampublishing consultancy Print Elle Media Group
ADVERTISING Director James Knox T: (0)207 042 5730 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Scottish Art News 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Scottish Art News accepts no responsibility for loss or damage of unsolicited material submitted for publication. Scottish Art News is published by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation but is not the voice of the Fleming Collection or the Foundation. All images copyright of the artist or artist’s estate unless otherwise stated.
In issue 30’s ‘An Artists’ Guide to Orkney’ the image ‘Yesnaby’ was misattributed. The photo was taken by Brittonie Fletcher.
Cover Image John Brown, 1749–1787, Artist (With Alexander Runciman, 1736 –1785. Artist - self portrait), 1784. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, David Laing bequest to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Gifted in 2009 Photo: Antonia Reeve
The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation pursues a programme of cultural diplomacy furthering an understanding and appreciation of Scottish art and creativity outside Scotland through exhibitions, events, publishing and education. The Foundation also owns the finest collection of Scottish art outside institutions comprising over 600 works from the seventeenth century to the present day. The Foundation has established a ‘museum without walls’ strategy using its collection to initiate exhibitions of Scottish art outside Scotland. It is a registered charity in England and Wales (No.1080197).
ISSUE 31 / SPRING/SUMMER 2019 DIRECTOR’S NOTE
The previous issue of Scottish Art News published Professor Duncan Macmillan’s discovery that the first known depiction of a Scottish landscape – the Bass Rock complete with gannets – appeared in an engraving by none other than Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The scoop made national and international headlines and sparked a debate on the likelihood of Bruegel, or for that matter the inhabitants of Flanders, knowing enough about Scotland and its topography to justify the claim, despite the accuracy of the representation. Macmillan’s response, published in the international edition of The Art Newspaper detailed the close cultural links between Scotland and Flanders from the 15th century to the Reformation, with families of Scottish and Flemish artists working in both countries. And as for knowledge of the iconic rock itself, he pointed out: ‘All ships sailing between Flanders and Scotland would sail close under the Bass Rock.’ Macmillan concluded: ‘The Scots name Fleming – so pertinent as the Fleming Collection publishes Scottish Art News – does itself patently bear witness to an intimate and long-standing link between Scotland and Flanders.’ In an example of wise minds thinking alike, Alexander Fleming and Roger Mason of St Andrews University have just produced, Scotland and the Flemish People, published by Birlinn, which tells the story of the ancient link between the two nations and peoples. The Fleming Collection continues to raise the profile of Scottish art and artists throughout the UK. Over 20 works were lent to the exhibition Darkness into Light: The Emotional Power of Art at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery, which drew over 40,000 visitors. The theme explored how artists respond to the gamut of human emotions and our loans ranged from a joyous still life by Anne Redpath to a magnificent drawing by the lesser known, Brian Nicol, evoking the Holocaust. One of the core strengths of the Fleming Collection has been its focus on acquiring works based on quality and integrity, rather than on an artist’s fame or fashion. Nicol is a prime example, who has slipped from view, but is still working in his eighth decade. Born in Kilmarnock in 1941 into a coal mining family, he left school at 15 and, after years of struggle, won a scholarship to the Royal Academy schools. His work ‘Journey, Survivors’ had particular resonance. Nicol said: ‘I very much like the theme of the Sheffield exhibition. I have experienced the dark night of the soul. But the anger and depression has gone now. I have found my true self as an artist.’
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Individual loans can be viewed in exhibitions across the country. One of the most covetable, Elizabeth Blackadder’s tapestry, ‘Irises’, is included in Elizabeth Blackadder: From the Artist’s Studio at the Willis Museum, Basingstoke (until 12 June). The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge are showing our two works by James Pryde in the exhibtion Beggarstaffs: William Nicolson and James Pryde (until 4 August). One is his famous wash drawing, ‘Notable Rascals’, which could describe Pryde himself, who led a chaotic bohemian life which ended in poverty. Finally, in London, Tate Britain has borrowed SJ Peploe’s ‘Cassis’ which joins other colourist paintings in Van Gogh and Britain (until 11 August). The highlight of our museum without walls programme this spring and summer is the opening of Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection at the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland (1June–28 September). Our holding of colourists, with added works from National Museums of Northern Ireland, tells the story from the birth of the movement, led by SJ Peploe and JD Fergusson in France before WWI to its coming of age with FCB Cadell and Leslie Hunter in the 1920s, to the glorious late maturity of the quartet as landscape painters, entranced by the distinctive beauty of Scottish light.
Taking the Scottish Colourists to Ireland has also fulfilled a long-held ambition to test their mettle against Ireland’s own French-inspired colourist, Roderic O’Conor. On loan from a generous private collector, three post-impressionist works by O’Conor, who in the 1890s was a friend and disciple of Paul Gauguin, can be judged alongside the early experimental work of Peploe and Fergusson. It offers a rare opportunity to consider the achievement of the Irish and Scots artists who were literally in the vanguard of the French-led avant-garde. With hindsight, it is all too simple to accept the greatness of the cutting-edge artists stretching back to the French realists and impressionists who laid the foundations for the course of modern art. But how easy is it today to spot radical genius – especially when painting is no longer seen as the driving force of change? Movements which rocked the art world, such as conceptualism (now into its second century), minimalism, neon, performance and their numerous spin-offs, have been around for decades, yet waves of art graduates still obediently follow these traditions – just as young painters have sought to emulate their masters since time immemorial. The choice of Hannah Mooney – a traditional tonal painter – as the winner of the 2018-2019 Fleming Art Bursary was a reminder that all art disciplines should be treated equally. The legendary curator, Ricky Demarco, who brought European conceptualism to Britain in the 1970s, concurs. A great fan of Mooney, he said at the prizegiving: ‘You couldn’t have picked a better winner. Every stroke is about beauty and truth.’ Today Demarco is sceptical of more modish disciplines, citing none other than the master of conceptualism, Joseph Beuys. ‘He once said to me when he was dying,’ recalled Demarco, ‘I’m not going to make it into the 21st century, but you will Ricky, and I pity you, as you will have to cope with the false avant-garde.’ Hannah Mooney has donated a wonderful still life to the Fleming Collection to mark the end of her year’s mentoring under the aegis of the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation. We are fortunate indeed to have a work by a young artist who practices at the cutting edge of her tradition.
‘One of the core strengths of the Fleming Collection has been its focus on acquiring works based on quality and integrity, rather than on an artist’s fame or fashion’
3 1 JD Fergusson, Blue Nude, 1909–10. Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection at FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio
2 Elizabeth Blackadder, Irises, tapestry, 1987 ©Elizabeth Blackadder 3 James Pryde, Notable Rascals, 1902
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2018 Fleming-Wyfold Award winner Hannah Mooney and mentor Susanna Beaumont reflect on working together over the last year In March 2018, the Glasgow-based painter Hannah Mooney won the FlemingWyfold Award, which included £14,000 prize money and a year of mentoring from the curator Susanna Beaumont. This period of support is now complete and was celebrated with a major exhibition of Mooney’s work at the John Martin Gallery, London, presented by the Fleming Collection.
The Fleming Collection on loan
Naomi O’Nolan, curator at Limerick’s Hunt Museum, on their upcoming exhibtion Lavery and Obsorne: Observing Life The summer exhibition at the Hunt Museum features paintings by two extraordinary and much-loved artists, Sir John Lavery (1856–1941) and Walter Frederick Osborne (1859–1903). Their work is internationally recognised and forms part of collections in major galleries throughout the world. Many of the paintings featured in the exhibition, Lavery and Obsorne: Observing Life, are taken from private collections in Ireland, the UK and the US. These hidden treasures are seldom seen. The Hunt Museum’s success is built around a private collection and it has been our intention over the years, through our exhibition programme, to continue to make art works rarely viewed available to the public. Both artists studied in academies abroad – Lavery in Paris and Grez-surLoing and Osborne in Antwerp and Brittany. Influences from these sojourns are reflected in a number of paintings on display; scenes of quotidian life demonstrating their observations of traditional ways of life. Both were influenced by movements in painting in 19th-century Europe, in particular pleinairism. Many of their paintings – portraits, landscapes and genre scenes – are executed in a naturalistic style. These atmospheric works are striking in their mastery of painting.
Thirty works by Sir John Lavery will be on display in this exhibition, including ‘Bridge at Hesterworth, Shropshire’ (1884) lent by the Fleming Collection. It is a beautiful, atmospheric, rural landscape, delicately painted with wonderful tones of green, most likely influenced by his time in Grez-sur-Loing. Lavery was a member of the radical group of artists known as the Glasgow Boys. One of the paintings in this exhibition is ‘Study for A Fair Flower’ (1887), thought to portray Bella Cullen who lived close to Lavery in Paisley. It is inscribed to the artist Robert Macaulay Stevenson (1854–1952), also a member of the Glasgow Boys. Two other Scottish works from
private collections in the exhibition include ‘A Young Woman Reading at Gleniffer Braes’ (1886) and ‘The Pond at The Glen, Paisley’ (1886), painted in the beautiful surroundings of the estate of industrialist James Fulton, who was a patron of Lavery. Lavery and Obsorne: Observing Life 1 June–30 September The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street, Limerick, V94 EV8A T: (0)353 61 312 833 | huntmuseum.com Open: Monday to Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 2–5pm.
‘Many of the paintings featured in the exhibition, Lavery and Obsorne: Observing Life, are taken from private collections in Ireland, the UK and the US. These hidden treasures are seldom seen’
‘Few young artists are fortunate enough to have a mentor who has had the same level of experience, insight and confidence as Susanna to consult on the day of hanging their first solo exhibition. Her mentorship and guidance on installation day was invaluable,’ says Mooney. ‘This year [we] attended a range of diverse exhibitions in London and Scotland together. Many of these were not directly related to my practice but they made me think differently about curation and use of space.’
Talking about the experience of mentoring Mooney, Beaumont says: ‘Art is about looking for both the artist and the viewer, so key to mentoring artists, I believe, is to encourage looking. To look carefully and closely at work by other artists, to the way a painting is framed and hung, to the way a weary figure sits on a park bench – to explore every day with your eyes.’ Mooney is the fifth artist Beaumont has mentored as part of the award in recent years. ‘All five artists were recent graduates, grappling with the reality of being an artist in the cut and thrust of the real world. This, of course, can be both challenging and exhilarating. Mentoring is about easing those challenges. It is about supporting, cajoling, offering advice and, importantly, introducing them to and taking a look at the real world,’ said Beaumont. Mooney is currently working towards a major exhibition of work at Edinburgh’s Scottish Gallery in October. ‘The experiences I have had this year will, without doubt, influence how I approach my solo show at the Scottish Gallery. After that, I plan to build another body of work and apply for a masters so that I can continue living and learning as a full-time artist,’ says Mooney. Hannah Mooney 30 September–1 October The Scottish Gallery 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ T: (0)131 558 1200 | scottish-gallery.co.uk Open: Monday to Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 10am–4pm
‘Art is about looking for both the artist and the viewer, so key to mentoring artists, I believe, is to encourage looking’ Marcus Murison wins Fleming-Wyfold Foundation Award 2019 Gray’s School of Art graduate Marcus Murison was awarded the first Fleming-Wyfold Foundation Award for a painter, draughtsman or sculptor at the Royal Scottish Academy’s New Contemporaries exhibition in March this year. Murison was born in Aberdeen and went on to study at the city’s art school (read more, page 21). He describes his practice as ‘concerned with the overlooked and unacknowledged objects and situations that occur in the everyday urban environment.’ The award was selected by Fleming Collection trustee, James Holloway, who said: ‘Murison’s work has real energy and elegance which has echoes of mid-century British abstract painting, but speaks strongly of today.’ Murison will be showing work at Aberdeen’s Look Again festival this year, participating in the group show Am I Using Material, or is Material Using Me? at The Anatomy Rooms between 6–13 June.
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Scottish Art News | NEWS | 5
Tai Shani’s exhibition for Glasgow International 2018 earns the artist Turner Prize nomination The London-based, multidisciplinary artist Tai Shani has been nominated for this year’s Turner Prize. Shani was selected for her Glasgow International 2018 work, where she showed ‘Dark Continent: Semiramis’ at Tramway, as well as her solo exhibition at The Tetley, Leeds, and participation in Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance at Nottingham Contemporary and the De Le Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. Developed over four years, ‘Dark Continent’ takes inspiration from a 15thcentury feminist text, Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies. Shani uses theatrical installations, performances and films to create her own allegorical city of women, populated by fantastical characters, transporting the viewer to another time and place. The jury noted the compelling nature of Shani’s ongoing project ‘Dark Continent’, particularly the work’s ability to combine historical texts with contemporary references and issues. The other nominees for the prize are Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock and Oscar Murillo. An exhibition of work by the four shortlisted artists will be held from 28 September 2019 to 12 January 2020 at Turner Contemporary in Margate. The winner will be announced on 3 December 2019 at an award ceremony live on the BBC, the broadcast partner for the Turner Prize.
Dundee V&A among finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2019 Dundee V&A is one of five museums selected as finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019, the world’s largest museum prize, which celebrates innovation and exceptional achievement in cultural venues across the UK. The other nominees are Nottingham Contemporary; HMS Caroline, Belfast; Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford; and St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff. Speaking on behalf of the judges, Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: ‘Despite (or perhaps because of) the complex environment of our times, the UK’s museums continue to challenge and inspire. The five shortlisted museums have each offered outstanding and different approaches to the vital task of engaging with the widest public in new and adventurous ways. We congratulate all those who are on the shortlist and encourage everyone to go and visit them.’ The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London on Wednesday 3 July and will receive £100,000. The other four shortlisted museums will each receive £10,000 in recognition of their achievements.
24 July - 24 August 2019 www.scottish-gallery.co.uk
Dame Seona Reid DBE has been appointed the new chair of British Council Scotland’s Advisory Committee Reid will succeed Willy Roe CBE who has chaired the committee since 2015. As chair, Reid will act as an ambassador for the British Council in Scotland. She will chair the work of the committee in informing and championing the council’s work in Scotland. Reid is currently chair of the National Theatre of Scotland, a board member of the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit and Tate Gallery, and chair of Tate Britain Advisory Council. Until recently, she was chair of Cove Park, an artist residency centre in Argyll, deputy chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and chair of its Scotland Committee, and Scotland’s commissioner on the UK– US Fulbright Commission. She also served as director of the Glasgow School of Art from 1999–2013 and director of the Scottish Arts Council from 1990–1999. ‘It will be a great pleasure and privilege to be part of the British Council, helping to shape and promote its crucial international work across education, culture and civil society in Scotland,’ said Reid. ‘I look forward particularly to serving alongside such a distinguished group of committee members and council staff.’
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CONTEMPORARY ART SINCE 1842
Scottish Art News | NEWS | 7
“Label Anne Hyde”, after Sir Peter Lely, 2019 oil on linen, 173 x 122 cm
Anniversaries Pier Arts Centre and the Scottish Sculpture Workshop celebrate 40 year anniversaries 1979 was a good year for Scottish art, with two pioneering projects launching – Pier Arts in Orkney and the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden, Aberdeenshire. They are both marking their anniversaries with special events and exhibitions this year. The Pier Arts Centre has organised a sequence of exhibitions that will highlight work from the centre’s collection of modern and contemporary art, alongside previously unseen archive material and reviews of past exhibitions, as well as a glimpse of future plans. Displays will also include letters, publications and photographs relating to the life and legacy of the centre’s founder, Margaret Gardiner (1904–2005), such as in the gallery’s summer exhibition, Margaret Gardiner – A Life of Giving. Gardiner was an early activist against fascism and war. In 1936, she became honorary secretary of For Intellectual Liberty, a rallying point throughout WWII for writers, artists and academics in active defence of peace, liberty and culture. Gardiner gifted her unique collection of art – which charts the development of British modernism – to the people of Orkney, establishing the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness in 1979. She continued to visit the islands well into her nineties, and died in London on 2 January 2005, aged 100.
SSW was also established in 1979 by a pioneering intellectual, the artist and educator Fred Bushe. When SSW opened, it was the first sculpture-specific artist workshop to be developed in the UK. Today SSW is a making and thinking facility, offering time, space, support and facilities to artists from all backgrounds to develop their practice, with an emphasis on experimentation and exploration of sculpture within the expanded field. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, SSW has programmed 40 Years of Making!, with a range of diverse courses offering participants a unique opportunity to discover and explore a variety of materials and processes, from Bronze Age casting to raku.
A new home for Edinburgh Printmakers The Edinburgh Printmakers’ new state-of-the-art facilities have opened on Dundee Street. The organisation’s new £11m base is home to an enhanced openaccess print studio, traditional and digital processes, a dedicated learning space, artist accommodation, art galleries, a shop, a creative industries hub, a café and print archive. It is one of the largest printmaking facilities created for artists in Europe. The first exhibition in the gallery space is by German printmaker Thomas Kilpper, titled The Politics of Heritage vs. the Heritage of Politics. Chief executive of Edinburgh Printmakers, Shân Edwards, commented: ‘Opening Castle Mills with a European artist signifies our vision for Edinburgh Printmakers in the future. Edinburgh Printmakers is an arts charity with printmaking at its heart. By 2023, our spaces will be creative communities that lead with our knowledge and heritage, innovate through our practice and ambitions, and welcome the wider world to art. Artist Thomas Kilpper’s exhibition will reflect the history of the building through his chosen material and portray a view of politics relevant today to mark this moment in history.’ Read a review of Kilpper’s show on page 44.
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Work nears completion on another milestone for National Galleries of Scotland’s new Scottish Galleries The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) recently announced that East Princes Street Gardens and the Mound precinct, where a new accessible path and landscaping are being created, are scheduled to re-open to the public in time for the start of the 2019 Edinburgh Festival in August. The work in East Princes Street Gardens is part of a wider redevelopment project by NGS that will transform former office, storage and display spaces in the Scottish National Gallery into a new worldclass set of galleries that, for the first time, will be entered directly from the gardens. The new accessible path will greatly help those with mobility impairments, wheelchairs and prams. Without this new path, the gardens would remain accessible only via steep gradients or a flight of stairs. While the creation of the path and the landscaping is a work of complex engineering, it has been met with some criticism due to the disruption to Princes Street Gardens. The work has now overrun, with the original intention to complete the works by spring 2019. John Leighton, NGS directorgeneral, said: ‘I want to extend a big thank you to the residents and visitors of Edinburgh during the construction works in East Princes Street Gardens. We apologise for any inconvenience and we appreciate you bearing with us whilst we make these transformative changes. The overall project is on schedule to be complete in early 2021. By then, we will be ready to reveal an amazing new suite of galleries, bursting with light and colour, with new views out into Princes Street Gardens. Previously only one in six visitors found their way to the dark and tucked away Scottish Galleries, so this will transform the presentation of the world’s greatest collection of Scottish art.’
Major extension and renovation project to begin for the Fruitmarket Gallery this summer The Fruitmarket Gallery has submitted a planning application to City of Edinburgh Council for the refurbishment of its existing gallery building at 45 Market Street along with an ambitious proposal to convert the adjacent warehouse building at 36–39 Market Street. Reiach and Hall Architects are leading the project, which will refresh the existing galleries while bringing the building next door (a former fruit and vegetable warehouse like the existing gallery) into active cultural use. The proposals work with the industrial qualities and directness of the existing steel frame, brick walls and timber floor of the warehouse. The project will create a doubleheight space that offers fresh opportunities for artist-led installations, performance and multi-artform collaboration. The gallery will close for refurbishment in July this year and open again in 2020. During this time, the Fruitmarket will be working with artists out in the community and offsite. In August, people can experience Night Walk for Edinburgh, a brand new video walk for Edinburgh from internationally renowned Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, commissioned by the Fruitmarket Gallery and presented in partnership with Edinburgh International Festival and in association with Edinburgh Art Festival.
‘The project will create a double-height space that offers fresh opportunities for artist-led installations, performance and multi-artform collaboration’
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Festivals New commissions announced for Aberdeen’s Look Again festival Look Again, Aberdeen’s festival of art and design, recently announced commissions for its 5th year. Through the prism of ‘New Narratives’, the 2019 programme seeks to ‘re-activate vacant or underused areas of the city, supporting creative activity and discourse through ambitious, thought-provoking visual art and design installations and events’. Highlights include new work ‘For Love at First Sight’ by designer Morag Myerscough, who will be working around the city’s historic Mercat Cross to create a free-standing structure that will reference the history of the space as a meeting point while the city’s historic Marischal College will host a new commission by John Walter called ‘The Fourth Wall’, described as a ‘virtual reality experience that tears up the rulebook about immersive space’. Jacqueline Donachie, one of Scotland’s most prominent artists, brings ‘Temple of Jackie’ to Aberdeen, previously exhibited in her solo exhibition at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery in 2017. This mobile unit will pop up in the city centre and will function as a DJ booth / soup kitchen / gathering space. Look Again 7–16 June Various venues, Aberdeen T: (0)1224 262383 |lookagainaberdeen.co.uk
18 1 Sir John Lavery, Bridge Hesterworth, Shropshire (1884), courtesy of the Fleming Wyfold Art Foundation 2 Hannah Mooney, Still Life 3
4 Tai Shani, DC Semiramis, 2018. Courtesy the artist and The Tetley. Photo Jules Lister 5 Tai Shani, DC Semiramis, 2018 Glasgow, Courtesy the artist, Photo Keith Hunter 6 Dame Seona Reid DBE 7 Margaret Gardiner beside Curved Form (Trevalgan) by Barbara Hepworth outside the Pier Arts Centre, c. 1980
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Edinburgh Art Festival 25 July–25 August Various venues, Edinburgh T: (0)131 226 6558 | edinburghartfestival.com
Marcus Murison at the RSA:New Contemporaries exhibition, image courtesy of the RSA
Scottish Art Elsewhere
Edinburgh Art Festival announces 2019 programme Highlights for this major festival of visual art include world premieres of new work from international and UK artists, including Samson Young at Talbot Rice Gallery, Joana Vasconcelos at Jupiter Artland, Hanna Tuulikki at Edinburgh Printmakers and Caroline Achaintre at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. There is also a strong presence for American 20th-century photography, with Cindy Sherman showing at Stills, and Francesca Woodman, Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Other major presentations include an eagerly anticipated retrospective for Victoria Crowe at the City Art Centre, (read more, page 12); Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs at The Queen’s Gallery; and Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland at the National Museum of Scotland.
8 Pier Arts Centre building c. 1907 courtesy of Pier Arts Centre
16 Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled, 1980 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
9 Carving series. Courtesy Scottish Sculpture Workshop
17 Bridget Riley, High Sky, 1991 © Bridget Riley 2018. All rights reserved
10 Edinburgh Printmakers at Castle Mills Dundee St Entrance photo by Jules Lister
18 Audrey Grant, Norman, sitting no. 17 of 36 © Norman McBeath and Audrey
11 Thomas Kilpper, The Politics of Heritage vs The Heritage of Politics. Photo by James Boyer Smith. Image courtesy of Edinburgh Printmakers
19 Charlotte Prodger, SaF05, 2019, singlechannel video, courtesy of the artist; Koppe Astner, Glasgow and Hollybush Gardens, London
12 National Galleries of Scotland, Link entrance foyer. Image courtey of NGS
20 SJ Peploe, Still Life with Melon and Fruit, 1912-13. Image courtesy of The Scottish Gallery
13/14 Fruitmarket Gallery planning, Market Street. Images courtesy of Reich and Hall architects
British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland invest in new international collaborations Scotland’s arts links with Europe are being boosted by over £138,000 of support from a partnership between British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland. Following an open call for proposals, 16 visual arts projects have been selected to receive a share of this funding. These include developing the Catihness-based North Lands Creative’s connections with Abate Zanetti, a glassmaking centre of excellence in Italy; a series of parallel residencies for artists based in Scotland and European Union countries at Cove Park; and a project with Edinburgh Printmakers which will bring together printmakers from Scotland, Greece, Ireland and other European nations to establish Studios of Sanctuary, offering residencies to refugee and asylum-seeking artists, and artists whose lives have been shaped by migration. Another major upcoming campaign is UK in Japan 2019–20. The project starts in September at the same time as the Rugby World Cup takes place in Japan and will close in September 2020, with the culmination of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The British Council will lead on cultural activities in Japan, bringing in work from across the UK in collaboration with a range of partners. At the same time, the Japanese government will lead on reciprocal activity in the UK. Scotland’s arts links with Japan are being supported by more than £100,000 of funding. Recipients include North Lands Creative, Creative Dundee and artists Gordon Douglas and Aisling Smith.
Charlotte Prodger’s new commissioned film for Scotland + Venice to tour Scotland For the first time in the Scotland + Venice partnership, the commissioned work will be touring Scotland at the same time as it is being presented to audiences in Venice. The tour will start at The Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh on 27 June and will end in Aberdeen at Belmont Filmhouse on 21 November. Each screening will include a short trailer documenting the project development, made by Connolly Clark Film, followed by a talk. This new work by Charlotte Prodger, commissioned by Scotland + Venice, is the last in a trilogy of videos that began with ‘Stoneymollan Trail’, followed by ‘BRIDGIT’ for which she was awarded the 2018 Turner Prize. It builds upon Prodger’s sustained exploration of subjectivity, self-determination and queerness. Through her work, Prodger explores the experience of wilderness, the presence and effect of the natural world on memory and emotion, and reflects upon ways in which queer bodies might understand and be understood in this space. Read more on page 18.
Important Scottish Colourist painting on sale in Edinburgh The Scottish Gallery’s Still Life exhibition includes an extraordinary painting by SJ Peploe, made available for sale from a private collection in Glasgow where it has been since the early 1970s. The work, ‘Still Life with Melon and Fruit’ (c.1913) dates from an important stage in Peploe’s career when his practice was most aligned with French modernism. Another example of Peploe’s work from this period can be seen in the Van Gogh and Britain exhibition currently showing at Tate Britain until 11 August. Guy Peploe, the painter’s grandson and director of The Scottish Gallery, said: ‘Painted in a rich impasto, the paint in furrows, contained with strong outlines, these works owe a clear debt to Van Gogh in terms of technique and palette, but go further; they are less naturalistic and, certainly in “Still Life with Melon and Fruit”, tend towards a cubist analysis of form, albeit energised with the swift, sure laying in of the paint.’ The painting will be available to view until 29 May.
15 Hanna Tuulikki, Deer Dancer, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist
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VICTORIA CROWE: 50 YEARS OF PAINTING Susan Mansfield
With a career already spanning 50 years, Victoria Crowe has become one of Scotland’s most important artists. Susan Mansfield believes Crowe could be about to find a whole new audience, with a blockbuster retrospective that promises to be a highlight of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival It’s rare for an artist to have the chance to look back at the works they have made over a long career. But that’s what Victoria Crowe has been doing as she prepares for the opening of a major retrospective at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh this summer. The exhibition, over four floors, will be the biggest show of Crowe’s work to date, and one of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival. Working diligently for 50 years, she has quietly become one of Scotland’s most important artists. This show, which is accompanied by a new book on her work, will bring her to a whole new audience. ‘It has been very, very interesting for me,’ she muses, speaking at her home in West Linton as paintings arrive in Edinburgh from all over the UK and beyond. ‘You can see connecting threads between things that happened, even a long time ago. They’re all steps on a journey. I used to worry that I was going off in too many directions, but there’s a sense now that it’s all fed into the same stream.’ Crowe arrived in Scotland in 1968, after graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, to take up a teaching post at Edinburgh College of Art. She and her husband Michael Walton, who joined the ECA staff a few years later, settled in the hamlet of Kittleyknowe on the edge of the Pentlands. Some of the first
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works she made here were paintings of the landscape which came to feature her neighbour, shepherdess Jenny Armstrong. Over the years, as Armstrong aged and the two became friends, she became the focus of the work. The paintings were exhibited as A Shepherd’s Life at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2000. ‘Sometimes, I worried that I could have stopped painting after Jenny died because that’s what people liked and remembered,’ Crowe says. But she came to recognise that the paintings played an important part in her development. ‘It’s almost like A Shepherd’s Life was a rehearsal for life in general. In those paintings, I was dealing with all sorts of things that came up later.’ In her paintings of Jenny Armstrong, Crowe learned to fuse elements of landscape, still life and portraiture, to paint objects imbued with meaning and memories, and to depict the passage of time. All these she would draw on in a time of personal tragedy, when her son Ben died, aged 22, in 1995, after suffering from a rare form of oral cancer. ‘I think [A Shepherd’s Life] sowed the seeds not only for an aesthetic but for a way of exploring things other than real things. So that when Ben became ill and died, it was as if I had a vocabulary already beginning that wasn’t illustrative of what we were going through, but was somehow a kind of parallel metaphor.’
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All images by Victoria Crowe 1 Sheep, Shepherdess and Harbour Craig, 1975. Photo by Antonia Reeve 2 Stephanotis Ascending, 2004. Photo by Antonia Reeve 3 Last Portrait of Jenny Armstrong, 1986–7. Image courtesy of City Art Centre, City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. Photo by Antonia Reeve
4 Known and Imagined World, 2012. Photo by Forth Photography 5 Venetian Mirror with Remembered Landscape, 2018. Photo by John McKenzie 6 Forty Lilies, 2010-11 7 How the Snow Fell, 2018. Private collection. Photo ©John McKenzie
The retrospective will reveal how Crowe’s paintings have developed, but also how her themes and concerns have remained consistent since the earliest works made five decades ago. Her work is beautiful but rigorous. These are paintings which ask questions about meaning, about the nature of things, about what lies beneath the surface, and what there is beyond ourselves. She is aware that, because her paintings are beautiful, it is easy to see them purely as depictions of objects, people, the natural world, but she has always resisted this. A painting is always about more than the things depicted on its surface. ‘It’s always been a dichotomy, that I draw so much but also I think of my paintings as abstract paintings. They are not illustrative. If I could somehow do it without having to paint anything, that would be great, but it’s never worked for me like that. I’ve had to have some involvement with the real world.’ Even as an accomplished painter of portraits, she is always more interested in the inner world of her sitters than their outward appearance. When her portraits were brought together last year for a show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery called, appropriately, Beyond Likeness, she described some of the encounters – with psychoanalysts Dr Winifred Rushforth and RD Laing, poet Kathleen Raine and physicist Peter Higgs – as ‘a thread of thoughts that has taken [me] along the road to self-discovery’. She sees her work as having a close affinity to poetry and music, and was delighted to have the chance to collaborate in 2017 on Wintereisse: A Parallel Journey, a performance of
Schubert’s song cycle by singer Matthew Rose and pianist Gary Matthewman, in which a film of her paintings was projected on a 20-foot screen behind the musicians. A trumpet concerto by Thea Musgrave, inspired by some of Crowe’s recent paintings, will be premiered at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Although she is never forthright about her work, Victoria hopes that the retrospective will introduce it to many more people. ‘I think people have become aware of the work, especially the shows at the Portrait Gallery and the festival shows [at the Scottish Gallery, where she has exhibited since 1970]. Hopefully, this one is going to join all of these together and make a big statement.’
‘Her work is beautiful, but rigorous. These are paintings which ask questions about meaning, about the nature of things, about what lies beneath the surface, and what there is beyond ourselves’
Susan Mansfield is an arts journalist based in Scotland Victoria Crowe: 50 Years of Painting 18 May–13 October City Art Centre 2 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DE T: (0)131 529 3993 | edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue /city-art-centre Open: Daily 10am–5pm Victoria Crowe: 50 Years of Painting, by Susan Mansfield, is out now, published by Sansom & Company
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CATHY WILKES Fiona Bradley
Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes has been chosen to represent Britain at this year’s Venice Biennale. Dr Fiona Bradley, director of Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery and a member of the British Pavilion selection committee, explains why Wilkes won the prized commission Cathy Wilkes is one of Britain’s senior artists, with an established and increasing international reputation for her work. Born in Dundonald, Belfast, in 1966, and trained at the University of Ulster and Glasgow School of Art, she lives and works in Glasgow. She has had major recent exhibitions at Tate Liverpool and at MOMA PS1 in New York, was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2008 and was the inaugural winner of the Maria Lassnig Prize in 2017. In 2014, a solo exhibition of her work at Tramway in Glasgow was one of the highlights of Generation, the Scotland-wide show celebrating 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland. Some of that is why she has been commissioned by the British Council to represent Great Britain at La Biennale di Venezia this year. Mostly, though, it is because of the quality of her work. Cathy Wilkes makes installations which bring together figures, objects and images – some of which she has made, some of which she has collected over years – in tableaux which evoke domestic interiors and tell stories of loss and longing, of people attempting to come together or being broken apart. Her work is haunting and melancholy, and sometimes brims with incipient violence, yet it is also generous in its capacity to engage with a viewer, inviting you to wander within it, piecing it together in a way that makes sense to you.
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Being chosen to represent your country in Venice is fraught with complications and contradictions. How can one artist represent a whole nation, especially Great Britain right now? I was part of the British Pavilion selection committee deliberating some 18 months ago. We thought less about representation and more about how Cathy Wilkes’ work might speak eloquently across borders and language barriers, particularly in the context of people displaced and on the move. We felt that the spaces of the British Pavilion would suit Wilkes’ work, and allow her to weave together her images, objects and figures in personal yet universal scenarios. Her work has a quietness to it that we thought might sound loudly in Venice, reaching out to people, making its own meaning in their minds and memories. Cathy Wilkes 11 May–24 November British Pavilion, Venice Biennale venicebiennale.britishcouncil.org
1 Cathy Wilkes,Untitled, 2012. Installation view of Cathy Wilkes, on view at MoMA Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo by Pablo Enriquez. Gift of the Speyer Family Foundation and Mrs. Saidie A. May (by exchange) Courtesy of the Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow
2 Cathy Wilkes, Untitled, 2016. Photo by Keith Hunter. Courtesy of the Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow
3 British pavilion © John Riddy
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OUT OF THE WILDERNESS: CHARLOTTE PRODGER, VENICE AND SAF05
‘It’s very much about the evolution of identity,’ says Young. ‘Charlotte has talked about the stratification of self being like geological ruins that build up over time to build up yourself’
After scooping the Turner Prize in 2018 for BRIDGIT, Charlotte Prodger debuts her latest film SaF05 at this year’s Venice Biennale. Neil Cooper takes a closer look at this keenly anticipated final part of Prodger’s trilogy Things seem to come in threes for Charlotte Prodger. This was the case even before the Glasgow-based artist’s new film SaF05 became the final part of an accidental trilogy that began in 2015 with Stoneymollan Trail, followed a year later by BRIDGIT. First, Prodger took home the Margaret Tait Award for her debut single-channel film, Stoneymollan Trail. Then she went on to win the Turner Prize in 2018 for her second, even more personal work, BRIDGIT, shot solely on Prodger’s mobile phone. Now, with SaF05, she’s been chosen to represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale. Commissioned for Scotland + Venice by curator Linsey Young and Alexia Holt of Argyll-based artists’ residential centre, Cove Park, SaF05 is filmed using various formats, from mobile phone to a drone. Using narration by Prodger herself over the film’s 39 minutes, SaF05 evolves into an anthropological dig into Prodger’s own psycho-sexual landscape as she explores the wilderness of self-imposed exile.
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This becomes a rites of passage, catalogued with the forensic anonymity of what sound like rediscovered diary entries gathered up as evidence. Related with an understated calm that recalls the intimacy of some of the late Derek Jarman’s own self-portraits over impressionistic outdoor images, SaF05 melds the personal and political to create a visual poem that seems to traverse the globe. ‘It’s very much about the evolution of identity,’ says Young. ‘Charlotte has talked about the stratification of self being like geological ruins that build up over time to build up yourself. She did this with the other films in the trilogy, but here goes even further. Charlotte’s voice is the only one heard, and that makes for something incredibly intimate. ‘There’s a thing there about the moments in your life that are important, but in really subtle ways. The way that this is set against the images speaks volumes about class, ownership, land use and power. In that way, Charlotte is positioning herself inside
a much bigger culture. It’s very much what I want Scotland to be – left-wing, open-minded, queer and international.’ Arriving into the world in the midst of the mess of Brexit, such a multi-faceted view of identity at every level is key to Prodger’s canon. For her, internationalism is vital, and, following the film’s Scottish dates, Dutch arts organisation, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Revolution, will oversee an international tour. ‘In terms of production, the film is incredibly ambitious,’ says Young, who reveals Prodger travelled to the Highlands, Greece and Botswana and worked with a film crew on the project. ‘The film also has a really sophisticated use of sound’ adds Young. ‘Charlotte used to be a DJ and is interested in noise.’ Young, who is currently on sabbatical from her post as curator of British contemporary art at The Tate to work with Cove Park on Scotland + Venice, has worked with Prodger for several years. ‘I think Charlotte is the best artist working in the UK,’ she states. ‘I think she shows a different side of Scotland. It’s so current. There’s still a resistance to people who don’t live in a hetero-normative way. Charlotte is interested in queer identity, and what that means in terms of political independence, and what that by turn means to be an independent group of people or nation, and how that plays out on an international stage.’ At the same time as Prodger shows in Venice, SaF05 will be screened at several venues in Scotland, with its UK premiere in Helensburgh. ‘We felt it was important to try and be
really democratic,’ says Young, ‘so rather than just put the focus on Venice, Charlotte thought it was really important to share around Scotland.’ Following Stoneymollan Trail and BRIDGIT, SaF05 feels like the end of something, as if the anxieties drawn from Prodger’s back pages have been purged or cast out into the wide-open spaces she travelled through. ‘There are some quite heavy things being dealt with in terms of the relationships and experiences Charlotte shares in the film,’ Young observes. ‘It looks like maybe those experiences have been worked through. It’s something warmer than purging. It’s a working through. It’s closure.’ SaF05 Arsenale Docks, Venice Biennale, as part of Scotland + Venice 11 May–24 November scotlandandvenice.com UK premiere at The Tower Digital Arts Centre, Helensburgh, 27 June before touring to Glasgow Film Theatre, 3 July; Campbeltown Picture House, 25 July; Aros Community Cultural Centre, Skye, 22 August; An Lanntair, Isle of Lewis, 27 September; Mareel – Shetland Arts Centre, Shetland, 24 October; Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen, 21 November.
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GOLDEN PERIOD FOR GRAY’S? Rachael Cloughton
It may be the smallest art school in Scotland, but Rachael Cloughton finds that Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen is punching above its weight at the forefront of new Scottish painting
1-3 Charlotte Prodger, SaF05, 2019, single-channel video, courtesy of the artist; Koppe Astner, Glasgow and Hollybush Gardens, London
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Gray’s School of Art is Scotland’s smallest and most northerly art school. It doesn’t hit the headlines as often as its peers in the central belt – Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art – but over the last few years there has been an increasing focus on its painting department. Leading Scottish painters have been moving to teach at the school and recent graduates have swiftly made their mark on the Scottish art scene, going on to exhibit at galleries nationwide after clinching some of the top prizes at the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy’s (RSA) New Contemporaries exhibition. The school’s head of painting, Keith Grant, has noticed the attention his department has been getting – and it isn’t unwarranted: ‘I often cite the class of 2013 as the best group of students that I had worked with up to that point . . . but, if I’m being honest, each of the cohorts since 2013 have followed in their footsteps, with so many gifted young painters starting to shape careers for themselves.’ So what is it that’s making Gray’s such an exciting hub for new Scottish painting? One of the gifted young painters Grant references is Catherine Ross, who graduated from the school in 2014, winning the prestigious BP Fine Art Prize before going on
to be one of ten UK graduates shortlisted for the Woon Art Prize exhibition. Ross is currently a visiting lecturer at Gray’s, teaching alongside fellow graduates Peter Chalmers and Lyndsey Gilmour. For Ross, Gray’s current wave of success is in part down to following and maintaining a taught drawing programme. ‘There is a rigorous drawing programme where the students are taught under the direction of the painting staff,’ explains Ross. ‘Whilst doing so, there is a focus on nurturing and developing the students’ natural ability.’ Ross still has a sketchbook stack in her studio, with drawings created during her studies at Gray’s that continue to support her work today. This focus on drawing, in relation to the recent success of the department, is echoed by alumni Barry McGlashan, who taught drawing at Gray’s in the 1990’s. ‘[Drawing] has long been a major element of the painting department . . . It seems to get into every corner of visual art and yet it’s not being maintained in schools as much as it once was. It’s a slow-motion medium when so much of what we do now is instant and easy. You just tap the phone in your pocket and you have the world in your hand; it’s a whole different game when you’re in the drawing studio.’
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‘If it isn’t being taught as much, then it doesn’t take long for art schools to be full of people who are teaching but who perhaps don’t understand the value of drawing and the whole thing slides off the table,’ continues McGlashan. Grant agrees with the the significance of drawing for the success of the programme: ‘Drawing is not just something that takes place on a weekly basis in the life room at Gray’s, but is central to all of our projects. We really believe that if we are going to deliver and maintain a meaningful drawing programme, then it has to be taught, and every year we see the benefits.’ Unsurprisingly, Gray’s has developed important links with London’s Royal Drawing School in recent years, with many graduates going on to study there to continue their education. ‘The painting department’s core philosophy is built around drawing and one-to-one teaching,’ continues Grant. ‘The department is relatively small at Gray’s, with 100–110 students over the four years of the course. There is also a committed group of staff working in the department who each bring individual qualities to their teaching whilst also being practitioners in their own right.’ Ross echoes 22 | ART
what Grant says: ‘I think that because Gray’s is a smaller school in comparison to many others, the tutors can give much of their time to one-to-one teaching and as a result manage to convey the most difficult key areas within the learning process.’ It’s not just the nature of the teaching that’s working, but who is delivering it that’s playing a part in the college’s success, with major names on the Scottish art scene teaching alongside recent graduates from the school. Until recently, the painter Andrew Cranston, whose work gripped audiences at Frieze last year, selling out almost immediately, taught here for almost 20 years. He was replaced by the equally well-regarded painter Derrick Guild, whose solo show at The Scottish Gallery is an eagerly anticipated highlight of the Edinburgh Art Festival this year. Guild agrees there’s something very special about the school, which is what attracted him to teach there: ‘The department has a uniquely warm and industrious feel, a place where good things have happened, and will happen.’ In the current climate of higher arts education in Scotland, even the existence of a discrete paining department is relatively unique. Ironically, it seems that through maintaining more
Artist in Residence Award and Marcus Murison receiving the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation Painting Award. For Grant, these most recent successes aptly demonstrate Gray’s ability to rise to the challenges it faces, almost making the pay off even greater. ‘The fact that we continue to punch above our weight, while being the smallest art school in Scotland, is incredibly satisfying and puts the student’s achievements into perspective,’ concludes Grant.
traditional models of teaching and learning, Gray’s has established an innovative painting department where the medium is flourishing. However, according to McGlashan, one thing Gray’s does lack which the other Scottish schools enjoy is ease of access to other works of painting and a structure of support outside of the school. ‘The City Art Gallery [in Aberdeen] has a world-class collection but has now been shut for four years for renovation and expansion,’ he says. ‘This has been a big loss to the city but we are told it should reopen later this year.’ ‘There are a couple of small commercial galleries and we also have Peacock Visual Arts, which has been a major part of what goes on in the city for decades. They have a print workshop and recently opened a small gallery space, WORM, which shows a mixture of contemporary art exhibitions but again, not much in the way of painting. Even on a practical level, there is only one art courier running between here and London and they are only in Aberdeen every two weeks so you have to be a good planner or you’ve missed the boat . . . if you need something you have to plan and source.’ Perhaps being based in a city that does not have the same ease of access to collections and galleries nurtures a grit and determination that serves painters more broadly? ‘I often think it strange that [Aberdeen] has produced so many good artists over the years given the challenges faced and I wonder if this has come about from a need to work hard here to succeed,’ says McGlashan. ‘Those who do well do so out of a kind of tenacity; that and a love for the discipline of painting. They make the work because they have to. I often think that painting becomes who you are rather than what you do.’ While Gray’s reputation is gaining recognition, it remains, in many ways, the underdog among the Scottish schools. Take the prestigious RSA New Contemporaries Exhibition, for example. The schools are each allocated places based on the number of students graduating that year, which meant that Gray’s only had six fine art students exhibiting in the 2019 show, only two of whom were painters. It speaks volumes that they both clinched the top prizes on the opening night, with Samantha Cheevers winning the Glenfiddich
Rachael Cloughton is editor of Scottish Art News Gray’s School of Art Degree Show 15–22 June Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QD T: (0)1224 262000 | rgu.ac.uk
1 Catherine Ross, Ghost, 2017 2 Barry McGlashan, Painter’s Copy (Bruegel). Image courtesy of the artist 3 Derrick Guild, Ever After, 2018–2019 4 Marcus Murison at the RSA:New Contemporaries exhibition, image courtesy of the RSA
Images all courtesy of the artist
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CHARLES DIXON John Webley
John Webley looks at the life of the 18th-century Scottish miniaturist and the mystery surrounding a lost portrait Charles Dixon was born around 1715, probably in Dundee, where his father, son of a Provost of Forfar, was working as a goldsmith. Charles also started life as a goldsmith but, in the 1740s, switched careers and became a portrait miniaturist (signing his works CD). He practiced in Edinburgh until the early 1750s before moving to London and subsequently to Bath. Among his known works of identified sitters are Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Edward, Duke of York, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Dinwiddie (LieutenantGovernor of Virginia) as well as his own self-portrait. After leaving Scotland, he maintained very strong connections with the Scottish diaspora in England, particularly those with Jacobite leanings, before his death in London in 1775. In 2017, the miniature pictured on the far right came up for sale. It was merely described as ‘Miniature of a gent by C. Dixon 1753 in original gold frame’. Although dated 1753, it was clear that the sitter was dressed in clothes from an earlier period. Since Dixon was still in Edinburgh in that year, it was reasonably assumed that the sitter was likely to be a Scot. Advice was sought from Dr Lucinda Lax (Scottish National Portrait Gallery) and Dr Duncan Thomson, who both concluded independently that the miniature was undoubtedly a copy of an earlier portrait of a Scot, probably painted in 1610–1620. It was also thought that the original painter, being quite accomplished, may have been Dutch. 24 | ART
It transpired that the miniature had previously appeared on the market in 1989 when sold by Christie’s. But at that time, it came with a more complete description – ‘Charles Dixon, Bailee Cochrane, nearly full face, in black doublet with small buttons, brown hair, moustache and beard’. On the basis that the reference to ‘Bailee’ was probably an indication that the sitter was, in fact, a Scottish bailie (civic officer), a search began to identify any possible Cochranes who were acting as bailies in the early 17th century. There was really only one possible candidate – James Cochrane of Rochsoles, a wealthy Edinburgh merchant, born circa 1580, who had not only been part of the Edinburgh Town Council for many years but had been a bailie and was also referred to as Bailie Cochrane in some contemporary documents. The records show that he had extensive trading interests in the Netherlands, importing goods from Campvere, Rotterdam and Middelburg as well as being a factor in Edinburgh for a Dutch merchant. This identification was established beyond doubt by tracking down his present-day descendants who not only confirmed that their ancestor had been known in the family as a bailie but that the miniature had first appeared on the market in 1989 following the death of the last survivor of the main line. It was also revealed that, in 1753, the year of the miniature, the
family estates had been split between two brothers which would have been an occasion for commissioning a copy of the family portrait of their ancestor. Dixon was, in all probability, self-taught, but demonstrated considerable skill in his portrait of Bailie Cochrane and his other miniatures. For some time, like his mystery sitter, Dixon’s own identity was unknown and was only revealed in 1955 when an American scholar, looking through Benjamin Franklin’s account books, found a reference to the name Dixon which could be linked to the CD initials on Franklin’s miniature. He also received a mention in Daphne Foskett’s major work on miniatures, who described him as ‘painting with a soft technique and sometimes used a lot of opaque white in the hair’ and concluded that ‘his miniatures were worth including in a collection’. Despite an extensive search, the original portrait of Bailie Cochrane that Dixon copied has not been found. It would be of great interest if it could be tracked down and reunited for comparison with his miniature.
John Webley is a private collector and researcher living in Woodstock
1 Charles Dixon, self-portrait, 1748 ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2 Charles Dixon, Miniature thought to be Bailie Cochrane, c. 1753 © John Webley
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ALEXANDER RUNCIMAN’S THE ASCENSION Duncan Macmillan
Alexander Runciman’s epic masterpiece Ossian’s Hall was destroyed by the fire that gutted Penicuik House in 1899. But Duncan Macmillan reveals that another lost Runciman gem on a grand scale is on the brink of being brought back to life More than 50 years ago, when I first came to teach in Edinburgh, the plan was that I would also pursue a London University PhD on Picasso with my former tutor, Anthony Blunt. However, a chance discovery quite unexpectedly turned my interests to Scottish art, a wholly new direction which I have followed ever since. For me, it all began while browsing in the library, where I came across a reference to Alexander Runciman’s painting of ‘The Ascension’ in St Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh’s Cowgate. Like Runciman’s more famous painting of ‘Ossian’s Hall’ at Penicuik House, destroyed by a major fire which gutted the house in 1899, ‘The Ascension’ too was believed to have been lost. My curiosity piqued, I went to St Patrick’s and realised that if it had been painted on the still-intact fabric of the church, it could not have been destroyed. After some tests, sure enough, under a good many coats of paint and adorned with a plaster dove in glory, Runciman’s painting had indeed survived. There and then, I decided to abandon Picasso and follow Alexander Runciman, transferring my PhD from London to Edinburgh University. My decision was, I am afraid, much to Anthony Blunt’s disgust. That was perhaps understandable. Alexander Runciman was totally unknown. Indeed, with the honourable exception of Ellis Waterhouse (author of the landmark Painting in Britain 1530-1790), the concept of Scottish art effectively did not exist in 26 | ART
the eyes of the art establishment. A catalogue from the time of a survey exhibition of ‘British’ art, found in an Amsterdam secondhand bookshop, provides a vivid illustration of this mindset. It includes those two great Scottish artists, Ramsay and Raeburn. It also has a helpful map. In it, Britain ends at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Further north was terra incognita. Trained in Edinburgh as a decorative painter in the established firm of James Norie & Co, Runciman went to study in Rome in 1767. Accompanied by his talented younger brother John, he was funded by an advance payment from Sir James Clerk of Penicuik for the proposed decoration of the saloon of his new house at Penicuik, designed by Runciman’s close friend and companion in Rome, John Baxter. John Runciman died in Naples early in 1769, but Alexander returned to Scotland in 1771 and completed his contract with Sir James in 1772. What had been planned as a decorous Palladian ceiling decoration had, however, evolved in Rome into the vivid and dramatic scheme that came to be known as ‘Ossian’s Hall’. From the surviving evidence – in the watercolour of ‘Ossian’s Hall’ illustrated, for instance – it is clear that it was truly remarkable. Hugh Blair was a champion of the bard Ossian, describing the supposedly primitive poetry attributed to him as ‘shooting wild and free’. Runciman’s painting seems to have captured exactly that sense of uninhibited, primitive freedom.
In Rome, his ambitions had been fostered by the example of Gavin Hamilton and by his friendships with James Barry, Henry Fuseli and Tobias Sergels. Barry’s Progress of Human Culture series of paintings in London’s Royal Society of Arts clearly sprang from the same inspiration as ‘Ossian’s Hall’, but it is tame in comparison. It also took years to paint. Runciman, on the other hand, painted ‘Ossian’s Hall’ and an adjacent staircase with scenes from the ‘Life of St Margaret of Scotland’ between July and September 1772. There were 21 separate compositions altogether and the central oval of Ossian singing was 24 feet across. The whole work was done in a fever of creativity: imitation of the primitive, spontaneity, conventions of finish abandoned in favour of imaginative freedom of expression and creative excitement; it was truly modern. ‘Ossian’s Hall’ was painted in oil directly onto white primed plaster, which evidently gave it great brilliance. This was also the technique used in ‘The Ascension’, painted the following year in the apse of the magnificent new Episcopalian Chapel opened in Edinburgh in 1774. The architect was again John Baxter. By 1818, however, the Episcopalian congregation had migrated to Edinburgh’s New Town. The church was sold to the United Presbyterians who painted out ‘The Ascension’. In 1856, they in turn sold the building to the
Roman Catholics and it has been the parish church of St Patrick ever since, though it has changed considerably. A large new chancel was added on the north side of the building, rendering the original apse redundant. Baxter’s design also included a grand portico. This was never built, but in 1929 a neo-classical facade was added by Reginald Fairlie. ‘The Ascension’, probably the first public religious painting done in Scotland since the Reformation and certainly the grandest, is painted on an elliptical half-dome, 24 feet across. It is thus on the same scale as ‘Ossian’s Hall’. We have no certain drawings for it and no visible record of what it looked like, though a brief description given by the artist in a letter to his friend, the antiquarian George Paton, indicates that it has the apostles beneath and Christ rising in glory above them. This composition was, however, only the main feature of a scheme that embraced the whole apse. Beneath ‘The Ascension’ are four subsidiary paintings – ‘Moses’, ‘Elijah’, ‘Christ and the Woman of Samaria’, and ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’. These were not painted over and, though now in dire need of restoration, have always been visible. The prophets Moses and Elijah are appropriate supporters to the Ascension, having been present at the Transfiguration which foreshadowed it. The two narrative scenes, however, are good Episcopalian propaganda. ‘Christ
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and the Woman of Samaria’ represents the Episcopal church among the heathen (Presbyterian Scotland) and ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’ is the return of a prodigal Scotland to its true, parent church. These four large pictures, though in such a poor state, nevertheless give a vivid idea of what the main painting must be like and indeed reveal the freedom and vigour of execution that was evidently so distinctive in ‘Ossian’s Hall’. Tests reveal that all this was also framed by vivid secondary decoration of swags and garlands, with images of the apse in the late 19th century showing part of this still survived at that time above later ornaments. The secondary decoration in ‘Ossian’s Hall’ was likewise elaborate and brilliant in colour. Recovered, the whole scheme at St Patrick’s would give us back an astonishing and precocious masterpiece. In 1771, Henry Fuseli wrote that Runciman ‘is the best painter among us here in Rome’ and when, more than 30 years later, a young Scot, David Wilkie, turned up in his class at the Royal Academy, one of the first things Fuseli asked was if he had seen ‘Ossian’s Hall’. Fuseli knew that Runciman alone, among the young artists forging a new kind of art in Rome, had at his command all the expressive possibilities paint offered in colour and freedom of handling. These qualities were best seen in his large-scale work, but with his masterpiece ‘Ossian’s Hall’ lost, it makes the recovery of ‘The Ascension’ so important. Over the years, I have promoted various attempts to recover ‘The Ascension’, but it soon became clear that with the methods available at the time, the damage would be too great – the painting would be destroyed even as we recovered it. A few years ago, however, we embarked on a new exploration. Two conservators, Owen Davidson and the late Sally Cheyne, devised a method that, while extremely tricky, would nevertheless uncover the painting without damage. With the enthusiastic support of the church, its parish priest and its congregation, we have recently formed the Runciman Apse Trust to raise the funds and oversee the recovery of ‘The Ascension’, as well as the restoration of the other paintings and of the decoration in the apse. Fundraising can now begin and I hope, in the not too distant future, to see this great painting restored in the full glory of the original scheme which once framed it.
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The Runciman Apse Trust has been formed with the aim of recovering Alexander Runciman’s painting of ‘The Ascension’ and restoring the four subsidiary paintings and the other decoration of the apse. The work will be put out to tender, but following extensive investigation by Owen Davidson of the Conservation Studio, Edinburgh, the estimate for the whole work is £440,000 and that is the trust’s current target. One course of action might be to seek the funds to restore the subsidiary paintings first. Seeing them in their full glory could help raise funds for the restoration of the main picture, but that is yet to be decided. The trust is chaired by former Lord Advocate, Lord Hardie, and is working closely with the congregation and church authorities. Monsignor Philip Kerr, the parish priest of St Patrick’s, is a trustee, as are representatives of both the local Episcopalian and Presbyterian parishes, Old St Paul’s and the Canongate Kirk respectively. Architect James Simpson, with long experience in conservation, is adviser to the trust and indeed over many years he has been a close ally in my determination to eventually see this work completed.
More information and a link to the trust’s Just Giving page is available at runcimanapsetrust.com
Duncan Macmillan is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, an art critic and art historian
‘Fuseli knew that Runciman alone, among the young artists forging a new kind of art in Rome, had at his command all the expressive possibilities paint offered in colour and freedom of handling’
1 Alexander Runciman (173685), Christ and the Woman of Samaria. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, purchased 1969 Photo by Colin McLean 2/4 Alexander Runciman murals, photographed by Colin McLean. Images courtesy of Duncan Macmillan 3 Alexander Runciman (173685), The Blind Ossian Singing and Accompanying himself on the Harp, about 1772. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy transferred 1910
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 29
Work is currently on display at Tate St Ives
A significant figure in British modernism, Scots-Irish painter William Scott’s bold abstract work continues to inspire a new generation of artists We live in provocative times, so I feel it apt to select this favourite painting of mine by William Scott (1913–1989), one from a series he undertook following a scholarship to Berlin. In choosing a work by someone who may not even be considered a Scottish artist by most (although born in Greenock, Scott is more often thought of as a Northern Irish painter and registered as an Irish ‘natural-born’ citizen in 1940), I want to draw attention here as much to how we think about ‘identity’ as to the painting itself. Nationalism is the crisis of our times here in the UK, across Europe and also further afield. In contrast, artists have always been internationalists, unconcerned by borders and narrow definitions of nationality. Scott’s life and work epitomises this I feel, particularly through a painting such as ‘Berlin Blues 4’, made only 20 years after the end of WWII. For me, paintings are as important for the histories they speak of throughout our times, as much as they speak to the actual time they were made in. This painting signals to me a hopeful openness and a continuing modern outlook taken by Scott, no doubt stimulated by his time spent in Berlin between 1963 and 1964. These are attitudes we need again, now more than ever. I last saw this painting in a large exhibition of Scott’s work at the Ulster Museum in 2013; among the many other works in the show, it stood out for me as a still very current and contemporary-looking work. As my own work is now taking a turn away from image-type painting towards a more abstract idiom, I have been looking again, particularly at Scott’s most boldly simplified paintings.
As all painters know, doing seemingly simple things really well is no easy matter in painting. Not unlike Matisse in his paper cut-outs, Scott in his Berlin Blues series is making extremely thoughtful and carefully considered decisions about the balance of composition and his placing of shapes, all held in tension by an audaciousness in its overall design. Contemporary American painters such as Mary Heilmann and Stanley Whitney come to mind in this regard. Scott’s use of this particular blue, he said, was the result of finding the pigment during his time in Berlin. It might be Prussian blue (which is also known as Berlin blue) but my recollection of seeing the painting is that the blue had a very powerful chroma, suggesting that perhaps ultramarine or cobalt blue had been mixed in to the original pigment. In any case, it is a striking feature of the work that Scott decided to use only blue and white, which is something else I love about the painting. So here we have a Scots-Irish painter, a significant figure in British modernism, married to an English artist, painting a most European type of painting. We need more of that attitude today I think. Dougal McKenzie is a Belfast-based painter, born in Edinburgh, who moved to Northern Ireland in 1990. He also teaches at Belfast School of Art. Recent exhibitions include A Dream and an Argument at The MAC, Belfast (2017) and Belfast-Type Pictures at PS Squared Gallery, Belfast (2019)
The Fine Art Society Edinburgh
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William Scott, Berlin Blues 4, 1965. Image courtesy of Tate St Ives © The estate of William Scott
Joseph Crawhall rsw (1861-1913) L’enfant Prodigue inscribed with title watercolour and gouache on linen 6 x 10 inches
6 Dundas Street Edinburgh EH3 6HZ +44 (0)131 557 4050 www.fasedinburgh.com email@example.com Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 31
RECENT ACQUISITIONS Scottish Art News highlights the latest acquisitions to enter Scottish collections
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At the end of 2018, the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) acquired one of the most famous of all 20th-century sculptures, Salvador Dalí’s ‘Lobster Telephone’ (1938). The work, which is part of a series of ‘Lobster Telephones’, was made for Edward James (1907–1984), Dalí’s main patron in the 1930s. Born in Gullane, East Lothian, James’ family was immensely wealthy and when he came into his inheritance in his twenties, he used much of it to support the arts. Eleven of the plaster lobster receivers were made to fit to telephones at James’ house in Wimpole Street, London, and at his country house, Monkton in West Sussex. Four of the lobsters were painted red and seven were painted white. The Lobster Telephones are now almost all in museum collections around the world: the Tate in London has a red version on a black telephone. The white version acquired by the NGS remained with the Edward James Foundation in West Sussex until it was sold at auction. It would have left Britain, but in view of its artistic and historical importance, it was subject to an export license deferral. With the support of the Henry and Sula Walton Fund and a grant from Art Fund, ‘Lobster Telephone’ was acquired for the nation for the sum of £853,000 and is now on show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It joins NGS’s prestigious collection of surrealist art, which also includes major paintings by René Magritte, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Toyen, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington and others, and sculptures by Alberto Giacometti. Until now, there was no major surrealist object sculpture in the collection; at the time, they were generally quickly assembled for exhibition and often simply discarded, making them incredibly rare and this acquisition all the more significant. Another recent, ambitious purchase for the NGS is a portrait of James Adam by Antonio Zucchi (1726– 95), jointly acquired with the Victoria
and Albert Museum (V&A) in April and ‘one of the most valuable publications The video was first shown as 2019. The work is the third outstanding of our day’. The commercial success of the part of the 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival artwork to be jointly acquired by the V&A work led to its reproduction in England in the memorial chapel of St Patrick’s and NGS after together securing two and abroad; a French version appeared in Church in the city’s Cowgate. 2016 marked exceptional sculptures, Antonio Canova’s 1843 and American editions in 1855 and the 100th anniversary of Connolly’s ‘The Three Graces’ (purchased 1994) and 1879–84. The publication made Roberts death and he grew up in the parish of St Lorenzo Bartolini’s ‘The Campbell Sisters’ a wealthy and famous man and remains Patrick’s Church. The City Art Centre’s (purchased 2015). The newly acquired celebrated to this day. These acquisitions close proximity to the Cowgate area gives portrait is currently exhibited among the have gone some way to filling the gap in added significance to the acquisition of 18th-century collection at the Scottish the NGS collection. this work, its significance to the city’s National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, and art collection is twofold – the status of will go on display in the V&A’s British Other recent acquisitions the artist himself, but also the intrinsic 4 Galleries in London later this year. for the National Galleries of Scotland importance of the film’s content, with its The painting depicts James include a series of photogravures, gifted relationship to Edinburgh’s local history Adam during his grand tour of Italy to the collection by photographer and within the broader political context of the in 1763, before he returned to London long-time admirer of the NGS’s holding establishment of the Irish republic. to work with his brother, Robert Adam of photogravures, Mark Katzman, and, (1728–92). Robert and James Adam, along poignantly Ryan McGoverne’s portrait of 6 Another important addition with their brothers John and William, the late Scottish singer songwriter, Scott to Edinburgh’s public collections is were the sons of the mason-architect and Hutchison, frontman of Frightened Rabbit. the National Museums Scotland entrepreneur William Adam (1689–1748). acquisition of a rare piece of maritime Together the family enjoyed the status of 5 Elsewhere in Edinburgh, history, purchased with support from being Scotland’s foremost architects of the City of Edinburgh Museums and the Art Fund. The Bruce-Oosterwijck the 18th century. Their role as designers of Galleries have acquired the video artwork, longitude pendulum sea clock is one neo-classical buildings and interiors was ‘Understanding versus Sympathy’ (2016). of only two examples of its kind in the to prove profoundly influential not only This is the most recent work by the eminent world and represents the first attempt in Edinburgh and London but all across contemporary Scottish artist Roderick to solve ‘the longitude problem’ – the Europe, North America and Russia. James Buchanan and continues to explore his issue of measuring longitude which undertook a Grand Tour of Italy to seek interest in the links between Scotland and scientists tried to solve as people began inspiration for his work, between 1760 and Ireland, which were previously referenced to make transatlantic voyages. Alexander 1763. This impressive portrait was painted in ‘Legacy’, a film commissioned by the Bruce, Earl of Kincardine, and one of the in the final year of his tour. Imperial War Museum in London, and founding members of the Royal Society, which explored the Irish Republican and commissioned the mechanism for this Another significant recent British Unionist communities in Scotland. clock from the Dutch maker Severyn 3 acquisition for the NGS are two ‘Understanding versus Sympathy’ is a Oosterwijck in 1662. Bruce also worked lithographs by David Roberts (1796–1894), video portrait of eminent Irish historian with the Dutch mathematician and from The Holy Land and Egypt series; Owen Dudley Edwards explored through astronomer Christiaan Huygens, who ‘The Temple called El Khasne, Petra’ and the prism of Dudley Edwards’ lifelong invented the pendulum clock in 1656, on ‘The Tomb of the Khalifs, Cairo’. Despite engagement with the ideas of James the project. Although the sea clock was the overwhelming importance of the Holy Connolly. A key figure in the 1916 Easter ultimately unsuccessful in accurately Land tour to Roberts’ career and NGS’s Rising and widely commemorated across measuring longitude, it was a significant extensive holdings of works on paper Ireland, it is less well known that Connolly attempt and represents a pivotal moment by Roberts, the galleries previously had was born and grew up in Edinburgh. in maritime history. It would take 100 more very little material relating to this in their Now residing in Edinburgh, Dublin-born years before the longitude problem was collection – just a single drawing, ‘The Holy author Dudley Edwards is central to the famously solved by English carpenter and Tree of Materia’, and an oil, ‘Interior of the city’s intellectual public life and through clockmaker John Harrison. The BruceMosque of Metwalis, Cairo’. The Holy Land a lifetime of research and study can reach Oosterwijck sea clock is on permanent and Egypt series stood out for the quality back further than most into the collective display in the Earth in Space gallery at the and sophistication of its illustrations and memory of the city. He is an Honorary National Museum. was hailed as ‘a noble and beautiful work’ Fellow of the University of Edinburgh. Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 33
The Art Fund has also recently art across the UK and beyond. supported an important purchase for the ‘The Tumblers’ (1998) is a preparatory Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine; maquette for a large-scale public art John Bellany’s ‘The Boat Builders’. commission, ultimately realised as The work is one of the earliest and ‘Tumbler Falls’ at Kingsway West Retail most significant large paintings by the Park, Dundee, in 2003. The final piece celebrated Scottish artist (1942–2013), (which featured the three figures leaping painted in 1962 when he was attending over a fountain) was commissioned by Edinburgh College of Art. The painting’s Land Securities through Dundee Public depiction of the construction of a Art Programme. boat is thought to represent Bellany’s ancestry, growing up in Port Seton near Finally, the Arts Council 10 Edinburgh within a family of fishermen Collection (ACC), a national loan and boatbuilders. It is also said to signify collection of modern and contemporary Bellany’s relationship with his wife Helen, British art, recently announced its with the boat symbolising the beginning acquisitions for 2018–19, which included of their journey together through life. a number of works by Scottish artists, The work is an important addition to the including three by Hayley Tompkins, museum’s collecting initiative, which two by Jacqueline Donachie and one by aims to create a nationally significant Mick Peter. ACC director Jill Constantine art collection that represents Scotland’s said: ‘We’ve made a number of visits to extensive maritime heritage. The painting Scotland over the past year and hosted is currently undergoing conservation Curators’ Days at Glasgow International in preparation for going on permanent the last couple of times, too. Acquisitions display later in the year. committee member Helen Nisbet (curator and artistic director, Art Night, London) 8 Glasgow Museums have knows the Scottish art scene very well and acquired the painting ‘Land Levels and always ensures we are looking at artists Rises’ (2010) by the late Carol Rhodes, across the UK. Hayley Tompkins has who died in 2018. Until this acquisition, been on our list for a long time so we’re there was no work by the Glasgow-based delighted to have made such a substantial painter in the city’s collection. Rhodes purchase.’ also generously gifted the city collection a In total, 59 works were acquired number of works on paper, the earliest ‘Sea from 25 artists. Over 75% of the works and Motorway’ from 1998, up to ‘Houses, acquired for 2018–2019 are by female Gardens’ and ‘Open Ground and Mudflats’ artists, building upon the Arts Council made in 2017. Collection’s mission to support and champion the breadth and diversity of 9 The University of Dundee British art and artists. Museum Services is currently leading a major project to research and catalogue all of Dundee’s exceptional collection of public art, which comprises over 500 pieces. Many of these works were created by staff or graduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, such as David Annand, who studied at the college from 1966–72. Like many other artists, the sculptures Annand created in Dundee have led to a career creating public
1 Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone, 1938. Image courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland 2 Antonio Zucchi, portrait of James Adam. Image courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland
3 David Roberts, The Tomb of the Khalifs,Cairo, 1842 . Image courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland
4a Mark Katzman Hoi An, 2021, 2016. Image courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland 4b Ryan McGoverne, Scott Hutchison, 1981–2018. Image courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland
5 Roderick Buchanan, Understanding versus Sympathy, 2016. Image courtesy of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries
6 Bruce-Oosterwijck, The longitude pendulum sea clock. Image courtesy of National Museums Scotland 7 John Bellany, The Boat Builders. Image courtesy of Scottish Maritime Museum
8 Carol Rhodes, Land Levels and Rises, 2010. Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums 9
David Annand, The Tumblers, 1998. Image courtesy of The University of Dundee Museum Services 10a Hayley Tompkins, Chair, 2011. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist
10b Jacqueline Donachie, Pose Work for Sisters, 2016. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist
10c Mick Peter, Untitled (Figure carrying Zip), 2015. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist. Image courtesy the artist and Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris
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Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 35
The Scottish Gallery Christina Jansen, managing director
Exciting things are happening on the Scottish design scene. The newly launched Dundee V&A has opened with soaring visitor numbers (half a million in less than a year) and now a nomination for the Art Fund’s prestigious Museum of the Year Award. The third Dundee Design Festival takes place towards the end of May and, following a successful debut last year, Design Exhibition Scotland is back at Lyon & Turnbull’s showroom in Edinburgh in July.
The Open Eye Gallery Ashley Rooney, gallery manager The Open Eye Gallery mounts up to 20 craft exhibitions every year and specialises in ceramics, wood, jewellery and sculpture. It seeks to primarily promote and represent Scottish makers creating innovative design and craft and represents a mix of well-established and emerging makers in a constantly changing programme of exhibitions. Showcases regularly highlight traditional craft-making skills with a contemporary twist. A prime example of a maker that exemplifies this is Anna Younie, a ceramicist based on Orkney, who graduated from Gray’s School of Art last year. As winner of the Graduate Craft Scotland Award 2018, she has been highlighted as ‘one to watch’. This year’s trending craft material is wood and we have an exciting showcase of Malcolm Martin and Gaynor Dowling’s work scheduled for late May. As husband and wife, they create large elongated carved vessels, often with an ebonised finish. For the festival period, we will be showing unique ceramics by Hilary Mayo.
Scotland really is a leading light in terms of design: we have an abundance of talented architects, graphic designers, photographers, industrial designers and a dazzling array of contemporary and applied artists – either trained in Scotland or who have chosen to live in Scotland. We show and exhibit the very best of Scottish jewellery designers, including all the artists featured in the Dundee V&A Scottish design section – Dorothy Hogg, Susan Cross, Malcolm Appleby, Anna Gordon and Andrew Lamb. We also represent several artists who are currently shortlisted for the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize 2019: Andrea Walsh, Harry Morgan, Akiko Hirai, Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley and Koichi Io. The Loewe Craft Prize has been a very welcome boost to object sales; craft being seen as works of art as opposed to nice knick-knacks. Akiko Hirai had a major work acquired for the V&A London and I feel that that was part of the Loewe effect. In May, we have one of our most anticipated exhibitions of the year, A Natural Selection, which combines ceramic and metalwork in still lifes inspired by nature, featuring the extraordinary work of Hitomi Hosono and Peter Ting. Mixing mediums with one another (and timelines) has had a profound effect on the market allowing design work to be seen in a different context and appreciated afresh.
Open Eye Gallery 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6QE T: (0)131 557 1020 | openeyegallery.co.uk
The Scottish Gallery 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ T: (0)131 558 1200 | scottish-gallery.co.uk
Thinking of starting or expanding your own collection of design? We get the lowdown from gallerists and curators supporting sales of Scottish design at some of our leading galleries and design festivals and find out about the artists they’re showcasing in 2019. 2
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Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 37
Roger Billcliffe Gallery Lynn Park, applied arts exhibition organiser
Dundee Design Festival Lyall Bruce and Ryan McLeod, festival curators
Design Exhibition Scotland Susanna Beaumont, founder and curator
The Roger Billcliffe Gallery exhibits work from designers and sculptors working in wood, bronze, precious stones, metals, glass and ceramic. Our exhibitors all share a creative background, having graduated from British art schools, hand-making exciting and unique pieces from their studios. The gallery is unique in its range of experience. Roger Billcliffe’s combined academic knowledge of Scottish art and his expertise on the subject of Charles Rennie Mackintosh informs the established artists’ exhibitions. Michael Corsar, an established artist himself, locates and exhibits new and upcoming Scottish painters, while I use my background as an established metalsmith and winner of awards and commissions to search for unique and extraordinary applied artists and sculptors. The combination of this team produces three floors of the very best in Scottish painting, British sculpture and applied arts. An upcoming highlight of our programme for those looking to buy works of design is Back to the Drawing Board (opening 31 May) which will include a mix of designers and artists, including Wally Gilbert, Helen Denerley, Cathy Miles and Celia Smith.
Buying work from local designers and makers is a way of showing your support for Scotland’s outstanding design community. A decade ago, many designers felt they needed to move away to make it. A combination of economics and technology has helped to change that. You can encourage talented designers to stay, and know that you’re also making more sustainable choices by supporting local businesses. There are great opportunities to buy contemporary Scottish design at this year’s Dundee Design Festival where the city’s Keiller Centre is being transformed into an exciting series of exhibition spaces and design-led experiences. Our Design Superstore has been organised in collaboration with Joanne MacFadyen of Tea Green Events with a retail environment fabricated by Dundee designers Roots Furniture and Aymeric Renoud. The store will be open for the duration of the festival and brings together a range of designers and products that have been curated around the festival theme of ‘Liveable/ Loveable’. Many of our invited designers are stocked by prestigious venues such as Tate Modern, Liberty, the V&A and the Design Museum. Highlights include: Kate Trouw’s elegant yet playful jewellery; Clod & Pebble’s ceramic tableware; Emma McDowall’s contemporary concrete vessels; modern quilts by Lucy Engels and luxury menswear accessories by Niki Fulton. It’s rare for these homegrown brands to be found together under one roof so the festival is an exciting chance to see and buy new and classic pieces from a diverse range of designers and makers.
I have long thought that there was a need to raise the visibility of contemporary design. Scotland is home to numerous energetic and innovative designers, but opportunities were rare to see their work in curated exhibitions. A desire to remedy this was the impetus behind a decision to launch Design Exhibition Scotland last year. The aim is simple to champion design excellence and exploration with a particular focus on functional objects such as tables and chairs. And vitally to encourage debate about design. How should we as a comparatively small country move deftly and dynamically to think about design today; about materials and sustainability; production and distribution? Integral to Design Exhibition Scotland is the belief in the importance to work closely with designers; to help incubate ideas, encourage risk and ambition. This year DES will be showcasing around 30 designers and artists, introducing their work to a wide audience and in turn developing a market to buy and support exceptional objects for the everyday. And I also believe DES demonstrates Scotland to be open to ideas and exchange, hospitable to design students and practitioners from across the world. So I am delighted that this year we are supported not only by Creative Scotland but by the Embassy of the Netherlands, enabling us to invite Dutch speakers to take part in an evening of conversation, DES Debates.
Dundee Design Festival 21–28 May Keiller Centre, 3 Chapel Street, Dundee, DD1 1DQ T: (0)1382 307 456 | 2019.dundeedesignfestival.com
DES Debates 1 July 5.30–8pm designexhibitionscotland.co.uk
Roger Billcliffe Gallery 134 Blythswood Street, Glasgow, G2 4EL T: (0)141 332 4027 | billcliffegallery.com
1 Hitomi Hosono, Sassoon. Courtesy of The Scottish Gallery 2 Anna Younie, Courtesy of Open Eye Gallery 3 Dundee Design Festival, Keiller Centre 4 Installation View, Lyon & Turnbull Edinburgh. Photo © Ruth Clark
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‘Integral to Design Exhibition Scotland is the belief in the importance to work closely with designers; to help incubate ideas, encourage risk and ambition’
Design Exhibition Scotland 28 June–2 July
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Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing REVIEWS
1 Hew Locke, Here’s the Thing, 2019 2 Hew Locke, Rag-tag band of vessels … 2019 3 Hew Locke, Hinterland (A painted photograph of a Queen Victoria monument), 2013 All images courtesy of the artist and Ikon. Photo by Tom Bird
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham Until 2 June As a phrase, ‘here’s the thing’ carries a practiced, world-weariness, but also a faltering uncertainty – a rooting around for meaning through the very action of speaking. As the title of his new show at Ikon, the dualism of these words permeates Hew Locke’s practice. Encompassing sculpture, painting, drawing, collage, film, installation and found objects, his work shifts between history and revision. Locke is interested in the languages of governmental authority, as well as colonial and post-colonial powers and the exploitations of their economies. Fusing together historical sources, traditional motifs and contemporary politics, he examines and re-examines, frames and re-frames. His work is both a knowing critique and a fluctuating exploration. Locke was born in Edinburgh but spent a large portion of his childhood in Georgetown, Guyana. With a particular focus on the UK, the monarchy and his childhood home of the then newly independent Guyana, Locke meticulously 40 | ART
augments and dismantles the objects through which cultures assume and assert identity. ‘Souvenir’ (2018) is a series of busts of British monarchs, which the artist has overwhelmingly adorned with regalia. Queen Victoria is barely visible under a hoard of plastic beads, netting, lace, African gold coins and crests; others are suffocated by military badges, skulls, plastic foliage and replica medals. Queen Victoria appears again in ‘Hinterland’ (2013), a large-scale reworked photograph of her statue in Georgetown. The monument was removed in 1970 and dumped behind the local botanic gardens, only to be reinstated outside the city’s Supreme Court in the 1990s. In ‘Hinterland’, Locke has painted the sky behind her a lurid yellow. She is surrounded by undergrowth and a barely visible army of figures – skeletons piping and children drumming. Her nose is missing; so is her right arm. In Locke’s vocabulary, alongside recognisable symbols of colonialism, a bank of loaded objects constantly reappear:
beads, plastic flowers, financial certificates, ships and boats. In Here’s the Thing, the latter reoccur throughout the exhibition – from drawings and collages to a mammoth installation of suspended, customised model boats. Locke’s maritime references range from the well-known and iconic – HMS Belfast, HMT Empire Windrush – to generic trade vessels, trawler boats, galleons and cruisers. As Locke explains, the boat is a multi-faceted container, a symbol of power, of trade, conflict, safety, migration, transition: ‘Here’s the thing: Guyana means “land of many waters” – you are constantly aware of boats. I went to Guyana as a five-year-old kid on a boat. I came back here on a boat. So many things, good and bad, travel by sea.’ Premiering at Ikon, the video installation ‘The Tourists’ documents Locke’s installation of the same name on board the British battle cruiser HMS Belfast in 2015. The work, which was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, intercepts the ship’s 27 cabins
and its mannequin crew. The camera traverses the vessel’s extensive repository of functional spaces – kitchen, operating theatre, dentists, sick bay, carpentry workshop, butchers, bakery – each replete with models, frozen in their performative actions. Here, Locke presents an alternative history. The sick man lies in the hospital wing, his striped pyjamas visible above the bed covers, with a skull tattooed on his deliberately pale face; the butcher raises his cleaver wearing an elaborately beaded skull mask, pearls dangling into his lamb chop; the captain wears a red cape, his head crowned in vibrant plastic flowers and greenery. Subverting the museological role of the figurative sailors, Locke’s intervention re-imagines the Belfast’s final voyage in 1962 and its brief stop in the Caribbean. On board Locke’s ship, the men prepare their costumes and props to take part in the Trinidad Carnival. Continuing their daily tasks, they are clad in beads, masks, flowers, skulls and hats. Their
outfits exist somewhere between opulent and lo-fi, deathly and revelatory. Alongside the video, two clusters of mannequins lean casually and sit against the gallery walls, watching the camera explore the ship. The life-like figures are too uncanny to truly become audience members, their own carnivalesque embellishments linking them to the figures on screen like a private joke. In a video interview, Locke says of the exhibition: ‘I thought about it one way when I made it but now as I sit here, with everything we are facing, I am looking at it differently.’ His work is restless, constantly open to revision and reassessment. He examines how we are affected by the burden of history – how it has informed our current thinking and conventions. It is rooted in the past while assessing our current socio-political climate. Locke’s much-used phrase of ‘here’s the thing’ is indicative of this slipperiness. It echoes over and over, as a constant reminder of our (historical) failings and abuses, but
also of the universal need to always look, look and look again. Kathryn Lloyd is a writer and editor living in London Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS T: (0)121 248 0708 | ikon-gallery.org Open: Tuesday to Sunday 11am–5pm
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As We See It: Twentieth Century Scottish Art
The German Revolution: Expressionist Prints
1 Edvard Munch, In the Man’s Brain, 1897
2 Käthe Kollwitz, The People, from the portfolio War, 1922
Alberto Morrocco, Still Life on Red Cloth 2 John Houston, Sunset over Moorland, 1973
3 Kollwitz, Three Studies of a Woman in Mourning
Images courtesy of Dundee Art Gallery & Museum
Images courtesy of The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 1/2/3
Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow Until 25 August
The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum Until 31 December The issue with a curated body of work predominantly drawn from a museum or art gallery’s collection is that the curator might find themselves restricted to what’s packed away in the storage facility to illustrate the point they’re trying to make. Yet while the theory behind As We See It is somewhat tenuous – seeking to highlight ‘the unique vision of the artist’ and ‘the different approaches that artists have taken in their creative practice’ – the result is an altogether satisfying whole. In one large upstairs room at the McManus, what impresses at first glance is the range and variety of the work, without the space feeling cluttered or overdone. There are painted landscapes from John Maclauchlan Milne, including a beautiful piece featuring a Highland valley, yet there’s something faintly amusing about an artist from Buckhaven painting St Tropez in rich, thirsty brush strokes, as though drinking in the natural light. The Dundonian Sydney d’Horne Shepherd also recreates a similar Riviera landscape, 42 | ART
although this time viewed from the 1950s and not the 1920s. John Houston is another Fifer from Buckhaven, although his painting ‘Sunset Over Moorland’ (1973) brings a dazzling fireball of colour to a Scottish scene, and his ‘Birdman’ (early 1960s) is a dreamlike, almost negative-effect study of himself as a youthful pigeon fancier. Throughout the show, the landscapes conjure up a most redolent sense of Scotland. The Orcadian Stanley Cursiter portrays his home islands with a vaulting great sky, while his stunning, stylised, geometric image of grey rain lashing the umbrellas of Edinburgh’s Princes Street is hugely evocative. Then there are the abstract, almost Dalí-esque views of the land wrought by William Johnstone, and of course, Joan Eardley’s stark views of the Aberdeenshire coastline at Catterline are seminal and always welcome. James Morrison’s grey and imposing scene of old tenements at Glasgow’s Rottenrow is a
striking painting, as is the pure, blood-red abstraction of William Burns’ ‘Seatown with Unterseeboot’ (1955). Elsewhere there can be found the occasional still life, portrait or sculptural piece (a large piece by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, for example, or the familiar gnarled figures of Benno Schotz), but it’s the rich and unique sense of the Scottish outdoors – the wet, the warmth, the weather – which gives this show a real feeling of time and place. David Pollock is an arts journalist based in Edinburgh As We See It: Twentieth Century Scottish Art The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum, Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee, DD1 1DA T: (0)1382 307200 | mcmanus.co.uk Open: Monday to Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 12.30–4.30pm
In the beginning was the woodcut. So said art historian Gustav Hartlaub in his Die neue Deutsche Grafik volume in 1920. It’s a suitably dramatic epithet immortalised at the start of this major retrospective. The exhibition covers an era-defining burst of energy that captured the disaffected and ever-so-slightly lost spirit of a defeated Germany following WWI and the failed revolution of 1918–19. Unlike painting, multiple editions of woodcuts and lithographs were possible and this more democratised artform was disseminated with the last-gasp urgency of something subversive being passed around in the after-hours shadows of the short-lived Weimar republic. Gathered together largely from the Hunterian’s own impressive collection of German expressionism, it’s a black and white world that is occupied here behind the monumental headings of each section – Love and Anxiety, A Bridge to Utopia, Conflict and Despair. The stakes are high, the drama intense. The only brighter colours come in two works by Austrian painter Marie-Louise
von Motesiczky that predate her tutelage under one of expressionism’s unwilling figureheads, Max Beckmann, and an exhibition poster by Gabriele Munter. Even these seem pale and washed-out by the societal sickness that rumbles throughout much of the work on show by the likes of Beckmann and Otto Dix. Any exhibition of expressionism wouldn’t be a show without Munch, and there are other familiar names, including Picasso, Goya and Gauguin. There is even a fleeting appearance by an on-the-make Egon Schiele. A stark sombreness pervades throughout. Figures are all angles, their faces blank or else pinched and flint-eyed, their body language contorted, so razorsharp elbows jut out like weapons hiding in plain sight. It’s as if survivors of the Great War had come stumbling onto the streets, shell-shocked after the blast, but the damage already done in a world set to explode once more in a fervour of political, moral and sexual taboo-busting. In their messy immediacy, some of
the work here is almost punk in execution, as, finally, we get to ‘Hell’, Beckmann’s twelve-print cycle of impressively grim images of the collective fallout. As darkly incendiary as this mix of emotional nihilism, existential dread and oppositionist provocation might have been, like all revolutions, it was never going to last. Soon the soul-baring howls would be silenced, and much here would be deemed degenerate. The storm clouds may have already been gathering, but for a fleeting moment, the expressionist revolution could vent its spleen beneath them. Neil Cooper is an arts writer based in Edinburgh The German Revolution: Expressionist Prints Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, Hillhead Street, Glasgow, G12 8QQ T: (0)141 330 4221 | gla.ac.uk/hunterian Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 11am–4pm Scottish Art News | REVIEWS | 43
Thomas Kilpper: The Politics of Heritage vs the Heritage of Politics
Document Scotland: A Contested Land
1 Colin Mcpherson, Willie on his daily walk, Easdale Island, 2018
1 Thomas Kilpper, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage in The Politics of Heritage vs The Heritage of Politics. Photo by Jules Lister
2 Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Pro-Scottish Independence march, in Bannockburn, Scotland, 23 June 2018
2 Thomas Kilpper at Edinburgh Printmakers for The Politics of Heritage vs The Heritage of Politics. Photo by Neil Hanna
Images courtesy of the artists
Images courtesy of Edinburgh Printmakers
Perth Museum and Art Gallery Until 23 June, then touring
Edinburgh Printmakers Until 13 July Edinburgh Printmakers’ new home at Castle Mills in Fountainbridge is a truly impressive building. Under the guidance of architects Page/Park, the former headquarters of the North British Rubber Company has undergone a sensitive restoration and conversion, and now begins a new life as what is believed to be one of the largest artist printmaking facilities in Europe. The new building includes two gallery spaces, a double-height white cube and a smaller atrium above the shop. An early decision was taken to invite German artist Thomas Kilpper to make the inaugural work in the main gallery. Kilpper is known for site-specific printmaking which responds to a building’s history, and he spent time in Edinburgh last year delving into the history of the Printmakers and of this new site. His work is a giant banner, the size of the room, made by cutting into rubber on the floor then taking an impression on fabric which floats above our heads. 44 | ART
It’s a Sergeant Pepper-esque collage of faces from the past and the present, the famous and infamous, the unnamed (a group of rubber factory workers) and the hidden histories (two peasants beheaded in Malaysia as the British cleared land for rubber plantations). Donald Trump and Nigel Farage have rats on their shoulders; David Cameron looks mildly alarmed; Theresa May is there largely for the purposes of a joke (Leader In Name Only – LINO, geddit?). A ‘window’ of politicians and cultural figures from Kilpper’s native Germany look in on the unfolding Brexit chaos. The slogan ‘Printmaking is a total hoax invented by China’ bastardises Trump’s infamous quote about climate change, while the artist has the last laugh: printmaking actually was invented by the Chinese. It’s satirical and serious, celebratory and commemorative all at once. It’s an idiosyncratic selection: Samuel Beckett, Johnny Rotten, Scottish artists Jim Lambie and Ross Sinclair, Kate Moss
in Hunter wellies (once made on this site), chef Lionel Simenya, who was killed in March not far from here. But it reminds us that history is always subjective, coloured by the interests and biases of those who record it. What Kilpper has done is captured a moment – the precise point when two histories come together in this building – and the political context around it. His other achievement – which might be even more important – is to explode the possibilities of printmaking both in content and scale, a marker of the ambition for what might be achieved on these new premises. Susan Mansfield is an arts journalist based in Scotland Thomas Kilpper: The Politics of Heritage vs the Heritage of Politics Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle Mills, 1 Dundee Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9FP T: (0)131 557 2479 | edinburghprintmakers.co.uk Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10am–6pm
Document Scotland is a collective of four Scottish documentary photographers who seek to represent contemporary Scotland in new and interesting ways which speak of the present as much as the history of the land. With this group exhibition – created for and first seen at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, and here enjoying its debut in the nation which inspired it – the quartet have captured a wealth of stories in just a single room. Colin McPherson’s ‘Treasured Island’ is a photo series taken on the island of Easdale, the smallest of Scotland’s permanently inhabited Inner Hebrides. Like all of the sets here, McPherson’s work is presented with just an introductory blurb and no individual text for each photograph, so we’re left to piece the meaning of these fragmented images together; the now-bust slate mining industry is only suggested in images of separated rocks and a crumbling old bothy amid the hills, but the sense that this is a place to live life
amid the isolation is richly illustrated by placing scenes of home and community alongside the rainswept empty harbour and hills. In a similar vein, Sophie Gerrard’s ‘The Flows’ looks at the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland through sectioned-off samples of the peaty ground itself, alongside landscapes of the area and portraits of the people who live and work there. Again, the scant details we’re given of the environmental value of these lands is enough to conjure a sense of place and ongoing value around the richly illustrative images we’re shown. With Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert’s ‘Let Glasgow Flourish’, meanwhile, the focus shifts to an urban one, where the very clear political symbols woven through his candid images – of Scottish independence marches, pro-refugee demonstrations and pyro-wielding young Rangers fans under a monarchist flag – feel secondary to the shared humanity of the Glaswegians featured within them.
Finally, Stephen McLaren’s ‘Edinburgh Unchained’ is the set which features probably the most well-imposed narrative thread. Focused on the shameful echoes of Scotland’s past profit from slavery, it looks at the geography of Edinburgh and of Kingston, Jamaica, for this evidence, from Edinburgh street names and the New Town properties which were compensated financially for the loss of slaves, to a surviving St Andrew’s Scots Kirk in Jamaica. Each of the groups of work here tells a rich story, all within the space of the frames chosen. David Pollock is an arts journalist based in Edinburgh Document Scotland: A Contested Land Perth Museum and Art Gallery 78 George Street, Perth, PH1 5LB T: (0)1738 632488 | culturepk.org.uk Open: Tuesday to Sunday 10am–5pm
Scottish Art News | REVIEWS | 45
SCOTTISH ART NEWS DIARY 46 | ART
Dumfriesshire Summer Programme Cample Line, Thornhill Sat 13 Jul–Sat 14 Sep W: campleline.org.uk The summer programme at Cample Line will include newly commissioned works by artists David Osbaldeston and Charlie Hammond, as well as screenings of films by Karel Zeman (1910–1989) and Shireen Seno.
Dundee As We See It: Twentieth Century Scottish Art The McManus Until end of 2019 W: mcmanus.co.uk This exhibition of works by 20th-century Scottish artists, including John Houston, William Johnstone, Joan Eardley, Wilhelmina BarnsGraham, James Morrison and Will Maclean, explores how artists have the power to enable viewers to see the world in unique ways. The selected artists all explored new modes of expression – whether real, abstract or imagined – at a time when painting finally broke free of its former confines.
Edinburgh The Politics of Heritage vs. the Heritage of Politics Edinburgh Printmakers Until Sat 13 Jul W: edinburghprintmakers.co.uk The new site at Castle Mills opens with an exhibition by Berlin-based installation
artist and printmaker Thomas Kilpper, known for his critical social and political interventions. The work produced for this show will reflect the history of the building, as well as the current political climate in Europe. Joe Fan: Counting Leaves The Scottish Gallery Wed 1–Wed 29 May W: scottish-gallery.co.uk Aberdeen-based artist Joe Fan draws on medieval tapestry, traditional Chinese painting, and the Northern European Renaissance to create works which seem to be a hybrid of landscape, still life and imagined narratives, giving them a magical quality. Running alongside Counting Leaves are two other exhibitions which explore the themes found in Fan’s work: Still Life explores the diverse nature of the genre, and the works chosen by Guy Peploe will each be accompanied by a haiku he has written; while A Natural Selection brings together artists from across the globe working in sculpture, ceramics and metal to interpret the natural world. Victoria Crowe: 50 Years of Painting City Art Centre Sat 18 May–Sun 13 Oct W: edinburghmuseums.org.uk City Art Centre presents the first major retrospective of Scottish painter Victoria Crowe, with the opportunity to see works from public and private collections from the UK and abroad. The exhibition tracks the artist’s progress over the course of her 50-year career, offering visitors the
chance to see how her work has developed, from starting points documented in sketchbooks to finished works on canvas. The Long Look Scottish National Portrait Gallery Sat 25 May–Sun 27 Oct W: nationalgalleries.org A collaboration between the painter Audrey Grant and the photographer and printmaker Norman McBeath, The Long Look explores the conventional relationship between artist and sitter, with both being equally involved in the creative process. The exhibition contains four finished portraits, as well as photographs of the entire process by McBeath. Holy Rood Fine Art Society Fri 31 May–Mon 22 Jun W: fasedinburgh.com The seven photographs on display are from Holy Rood, Edinburgh photographer and printmaker Norman McBeath’s collaboration with poet Robert Crawford, a translation of an Old English poem that bears associations with the Ruthwell Cross in Dumfriesshire and with the ruins of Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh. NOW | Anya Gallaccio, Charles Avery, Aurélien Froment, Roger Hiorns, Peles Empire, Zineb Sedira Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art (Modern One) Sat 1 Jun–Sun 22 Sep W: nationalgalleries.org NOW is centred around the work of Paisley-born artist, Anya Gallaccio. Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2003, she is
renowned for her installations and sculptures made from a multitude of organic materials, including trees, flowers, candles, sand and ice. She creates temporary works that are transformed over time as they are subjected to natural processes of decay. The other artists in the show also explore themes of change, growth and decay in their work. Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland National Museum of Scotland Wed 26 Jun–Sun 10 Nov W: nms.ac.uk Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland presents an exploration of the defining images of Scotland, from bagpipes and tartan to Highland landscapes, and considers how they have been used to shape Scotland’s appearance around the world for centuries. Ever After The Scottish Gallery Wed 24 Jul–Sat 24 Aug W: scottish-gallery.co.uk As part of Edinburgh Art Festival, Ever After is an exploration by Derrick Guild of his knowledge and understanding of art history. The exhibition title derives from the main work in the show; a mixed-media piece made up of 40 individual works, all of which relate to works by prominent portrait artists from the 16th to 19th century (Sir Peter Lely, Sir Anthony van Dyck, Sir Henry Raeburn and Pompeo Batoni).
Nicole Farhi: Writing Heads Fine Art Society Thu 25 Jul–Sat 31 Aug W: fasedinburgh.com Sculptor (she trained with Paolozzi) and former fashion designer Nicole Farhi exhibits 25 small busts of writers from the 20th century, from Françoise Sagan to Muriel Spark. She modelled the figures as a response to their identity and work, sculpting her feelings towards the character as much as their recognisable qualities. This show is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.
Fife Fife Portraits for LGBT+ History Month Various venues across Fife Until Sun 14 Jul W: fcac.co.uk Fife Contemporary has given young photographers from Kirkcaldy’s Flavours of Fife and Madras Pride groups the opportunity to work with professional photographer Jannica Honey to create images which consider ideas about identity and selfpresentation, and how the way we photograph people can influence how we relate to them. The exhibition will be on display at Kirkcaldy Galleries during Fife Pride in early July.
Glasgow MFA Degree Show Glasgow School of Art Sat 1–Sun 9 Jun W: gsa.ac.uk The MFA degree show is a fantastic opportunity to see
work by the next generation of emerging talent from GSA. GSA graduate and Turner Prize-winner Charlotte Prodger will be representing Scotland at this year’s Venice Biennale, and many of the graduates will be hoping to follow in her footsteps in the future. The German Revolution: Expressionist Prints Hunterian Art Gallery Until Sun 25 Aug W: gla.ac.uk/hunterian Featuring works from the Hunterian collection, and including artists from Germany and beyond, such as Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya and Paul Gauguin, this major exhibition explores artists’ responses to a turbulent period in Germany’s history: the German Revolution of 1918–1919.
Helmsdale No Colour Bar: Highland Remix: Clearances to Colonialism Timespan Until Sun 9 Jun W: timespan.org.uk For this project, Timespan and Friends of Huntley Archives at LMA Foundation (FHALMA) will bring radical black publishing to the Highlands, in order to mediate discussions about the local history of the Highland Clearances within the wider colonial framework of the British Empire.
Inverness Another Country Inverness Museum and Art Gallery Thu 25 May–Sat 6 Jul W: highlifehighland.com/ inverness-museum-and-artgallery Examining contemporary immigration to Scotland and exploring themes of integration, nationality and identity, this exhibition brings together 11 leading artists from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds, all of whom were born in Scotland or currently live in Scotland, including Graham Fagen, Owen Logan, Andrew Gilbert, Toby Paterson and Julie Roberts.
Irvine Age of Oil Scottish Maritime Museum Until Sun 7 Jul W: scottishmaritimemuseum. org Age of Oil presents works by visual artist Sue Jane Taylor from her residences on North Sea oil platforms over the last decade. She has produced artworks, films and hundreds of sketches which document everyday life on the rigs, and the community who call those offshore work spaces home.
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Perth Document Scotland: A Contested Land Perth Museum and Art Gallery Until Sun 23 Jun W: culturepk.org.uk A Contested Land consists of four new projects by Document Scotland photographers Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Sophie Gerrard, Colin McPherson and Stephen McLaren, all of which examine the relationships between Scotland’s people, its history and its land.
Ullapool As Coastline is to Ocean An Talla Solais Sat 20 Jul–Sun 8 Sep W: antallasolais.org This summer exhibition sees Joseph Calleja and David Cass respond to coastalthemed works by the late Robert Callender. An open call is being held for artists who wish to exhibit alongside Calleja and Cass in a microexhibition – Coast – based on the theme of coastal change. Both exhibitions are precursors to Visit Scotland’s 2020 project Year of Coasts and Waters.
Palimpsest: Society of Scottish Artists An Lanntair Sat 18 May–Sat 29 Jun W: lanntair.com Twenty four artists from across Scotland come together to exhibit works as part of the ongoing partnership between An Lanntair and the Society of Scottish Artists. Inspired by the concept of palimpsest – something reused or altered but still bearing traces of its earlier form – the artists have created works in response to this idea.
FLOW Photofest An Talla Solais Sat 14 Sep–Sun 27 Oct W: antallasolais.org An Talla Solais will be participating in the second edition of the photography competition and festival, FLOW Photofest, involving exhibitions, talks, films and workshops surrounding the theme of ‘borders’. FLOW is an international festival, taking place every two years in Inverness and across the north of Scotland.
Beyond Landscape Pier Arts Centre Until Sat 9 Nov W: pierartscentre.com Beyond Landscape brings together a small selection of artists who all go beyond literal interpretations of landscape in their works. 48 | ART
Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing Ikon Gallery, Birmingham Until Sun 2 Jun W: ikon-gallery.org Here’s the Thing is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of Guyana-born, British artist Hew Locke, with works
spanning painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and installation. Drawing on his Guyanese heritage, Locke’s work often explores colonial and post-colonial narratives, and the ways in which different cultures use symbols to assert their identity. Palimpsest Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore Until Sun 13 Oct W: lismorecastlearts.ie Palimpsest is a group show including works by Nicole Eisenman, Zoe Leonard, Hilary Lloyd, Charlotte Prodger, Martine Syms, Lynette YiadomBoakye and Andrea Zittel, many of whom have made new works for the show, based on the definition of the word palimpsest – something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form. This notion plays on the rich, layered histories of Lismore Castle itself. Cathy Wilkes British Pavilion, Venice Sat 11 May–Sun 24 Nov W: venicebiennale. britishcouncil.org Glasgow-based, Irish-born artist Cathy Wilkes will be representing Britain at this year’s Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition of entirely new works, including sculptural installations and paintings. The works question how art can relate to human experience and often takes on a highly personal, autobiographical angle.
Lavery and Osborne: Observing Life The Hunt Museum, Limerick Sat 1 Jun–Mon 30 Sep W: huntmuseum.com This summer exhibition presents works by two of Ireland’s most prolific modernist painters: Walter Osborne and Sir John Lavery. Working at the turn of the 19th century, both artists distinguished themselves from Irish academy teaching, aligning themselves instead with European painting of this period.