SCOTTISH ART NEWS
38 Art Market James Knox
Art in Action Clare Harris
Exploring Modern Scottish Sculpture Neil Cooper
14 Aberdeen Art Gallery Susan Mansfield
42 Linda McCartney Retrospective Arabella Bradley 43
44 Transparency: Alberta Whittle & Hardeep Pandhal David Pollock
Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists James Knox
46 A Gift to Glasgow from New York: The Phillip A Bruno Collection Neil Cooper
The MacKinnon Collection Blake Milteer, Alice Heywood, Annie Lyden, Graham Hogg
Cample Line David Pollock
Katie Paterson Neil Cooper
SCOTTISH ART NEWS
SCOT TISH ART N EWS ISSU E 32
www.dumfries-house.org.uk 01290 425 959
AUTUM N 2019
Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire KA18 2NJ
The Italian Connection Susan Mansfield
18 Courbet and Wilkie Duncan Macmillan
ned by Robert and John Adam, ns of furniture from Thomas est collection of Scottish rococo
Private View Julian Cooper
34 Recent Acquisitions Rachael Cloughton
EXPLORING MODERN SCOTTISH SCULPTURE
urs, Art tours
teward of Scotland's Dumfries paintings by Scottish masters on
ISSUE 32 AUTUMN 2019 £3
PLUS Art in Action Aberdeen Art Gallery Courbet and Wilkie Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists The MacKinnon Collection Cample Line Katie Paterson
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.
Cover Image Katie Paterson (born 1981) All the Dead Stars, 2009 Photo © MJC Installation view Tate Britain, 2009 © Katie Paterson
Diary Arabella Bradley
Director James Knox Editor Rachael Cloughton Editorial assistance Paul McLean Design Lizzie Cameron www.lizziecameron.co.uk 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.
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 32 / AUTUMN/WINTER 2019 DIRECTOR’S NOTE
October marked the opening of Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal, Cumbria. Remarkably, our collaboration with Abbot Hall has resulted in the first ever museum show examining not just the work of the Colourists but their influence over successive generations of Scottish painters. Curator Chelsea Eves points out in her article on page 22 that Abbot Hall began collecting contemporary Scottish art just one year after its founding, following a landmark exhibition in 1963. The concluding room in the current exhibition features works from both the Abbot Hall and Fleming Collection by members of the Edinburgh School, such as William MacTaggart, William Gillies, John Maxwell and Anne Redpath, offering a first-time opportunity to make connections with the Colourist paintings in the preceding galleries. For good measure, there is also an outstanding Joan Eardley on show from Abbot Hall’s collection. In keeping with the Colourists’ residency in the Lake District, the Cumbrian painter, Julian Cooper, has been invited to choose a favourite Scottish painting for the Private View feature in this issue. His choice of a mountainscape by DY Cameron, offers a powerful formal analysis as to why this long-neglected artist should be seen in a new light. Cooper’s advocacy is all the more potent given his status as one of the most sublime painters working today, as his ‘South Face, Kailas’ testifies.
Another opportunity to see work afresh is presented at Turner Contemporary in Margate where the Fleming Collection’s ‘Lochaber No More’ by John Watson Nicol is on show as part of Oscar Murillo’s Turner Prize installation on the theme of migration and economic exile. This is not the first time that Watson Nicol’s iconic work has caused a stir in a high profile British institution. In 1883, it was exhibited at the Royal Academy when it rode a mounting wave of public protest against the Highland Clearances. Can it do the same today as the first historic painting to form part of a Turner Prize exhibit? All will be revealed when the winner is announced in December. Another notable loan by the Fleming Collection is James Cowie’s 1923 self-portrait with his first wife, Nancy, which will be on show in an exhibition at London’s Foundling Museum from 24 January – 26 April 2020. All this and more can be viewed and investigated on our re-launched website – flemingcollection.com – which allows visitors to explore the collection, keep abreast of Scottish art news, browse back issues of this magazine and much more. But to return to the Colourists and their heirs: the church in Kendal, which lies adjacent to Abbot Hall Art Gallery, has a fine carved memorial to the neo-classical portrait painter, George Romney, who in 1802 died in the town. Its inscription reads: ‘So Long as Genius and Talents shall be respected his Fame will Survive.’ One could apply the same epithet to the Colourists and their successors who are currently cutting such a dash in Abbot Hall where masterworks by Romney form part of the permanent collection.
‘Remarkably, our collaboration with Abbot Hall has resulted in the first ever museum show examining not just the work of the Colourists but their influence over successive generations of Scottish painters’
A Window into Scottish Art www.flemingcollection.com
1 Julian Cooper, South Face, Kailas, 2016. Courtesy the artist 2 Joan Eardley, Children and Chalked Wall No. 2, 1963 Courtesy Lakeland Arts 3 James Cowie, Self-portrait with his first wife, Nancy, 1923 © Fleming Collection
Discover the Collection, keep up with the latest news, dive into back issues of Scottish Art News, see exhibitions we recommend, explore themes in the collection and much more.
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Scottish Art News | DIRECTOR’S NOTE | 3
Fleming Collection’s historic painting causes a stir at the Turner Prize At the launch of the Turner Prize exhibition on 27 September at Turner Contemporary in Margate, one of the stars of the show was an historic painting borrowed from the Fleming Collection, entitled ‘Lochaber No More’ by John Watson Nicol (1856–1926). Acknowledged as one of the iconic images of the Highland Clearances, it forms part of the installation by Turner Prize nominee, Columbian-born Oscar Murillo.
As Hannah Mooney, the 2018–2019 Fleming-Wyfold Art Bursary winner, enjoys her first solo exhibition, James Knox, director of the Fleming Collection, reflects on this milestone for the artist My eyes first locked onto the work of Hannah Mooney across the crowded galleries of the Royal Scottish Academy’s New Contemporaries show in 2018, which were crammed with monumental expressions of the historic avant-garde: installations of neon and black boards, industrial tanks, steel pipes and tapes, a large soft toy and ballooning latex, but none achieved the same visual impact as Mooney’s group of quiet landscapes and still lifes. And I was not alone. My fellow judges of the Fleming-Wyfold Art Bursary, numbering independent curators and teachers at the cutting edge of contemporary practice, agreed and we unanimously awarded Hannah the bursary. It was a brave decision to award the prize to a young realist devoid of modish irony. After presenting a stunned Hannah with the prize, I was keen to discover more. ‘I owe everything to my parents,’ she said. ‘They’re both artists and have always encouraged me. There’s never been a time when I haven’t had a brush in my hand.’ Growing up in Donegal, Hannah’s earliest experiences as an artist were steeped in the subtle light of the west. When painting a clay nativity scene at primary school, she eschewed bright primary colours in favour of ‘my own muted palette; a combination of warm browns, reds and gold.’
Tate director Maria Balshaw said: ‘Oscar Murillo has always been passionate about art history having included a painting by Alfred Wallis in a previous installation. It is a privilege for Turner Contemporary to display a work of such historical and contemporary relevance from the Fleming Collection.’ Nicol’s painting drew a crowd of interested viewers at the Margate opening, including Helen Whately, the newly appointed Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism. The winner of the 2019 Turner Prize will be announced on 3 December. The exhibition at Turner Contemporary will run until 12 January 2020.
This is the reaction of a child already transfixed by the world around her – a connection retained throughout her maturing as an artist and her continued use of a restrained palette to achieve dramatic climatic effects. Technically, she also relies on the unfashionable palette knife to capture the essence of the moment. ‘The sky is perhaps the most inspiring element of the landscape, being the key source of light, drama and movement,’ she says. ‘When in the landscape, I think about how I would address the ever-changing elements in paint; how a slither of the palette knife could suggest a wispy cirrus cloud or a deft brush mark the motion of a tree blowing in the wind. I think about colours that could honestly portray the poignancy of a daytime light or the oppression of an oncoming storm.’ Others – such as the young Cézanne and Manet – have used the palette knife to convey the depth of their emotions, but Mooney also looks further back to the landscape painter of the Barbizon school, Jean-Baptiste Corot, to whom she turns when overwhelmed by the challenge of painting outdoors in the eye of the storm:
‘I reflect how Corot would have expressed the movement of a tree in a spontaneous, childlike way with his wavering, shaky hand and squiggly lines. His sketches retain the freshness of his vision and direct response to nature.’ Back in the studio, Mooney can focus on still lifes revealing a technical accomplishment – particularly in the effects of stems seen through glass and water – worthy of old masters. ‘Like the landscape,’ she explains, ‘painting flowers is a way of building my relationship with paint which is key to my ability and confidence to express any subject matter.’ With Notes from the West – her solo exhibition which ran at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh throughout October – Mooney is now launched on the world, but her debut comes with a final plaudit from that RSA exhibition in 2018: none other than the legendary curator, Ricky Demarco, who brought European conceptualism to Britain in the 1960s and 70s, told me: ‘You couldn’t have picked a better winner. Every stroke is about beauty and truth. scottish-gallery.co.uk/exhibitions/notesfrom-the-west
‘Oscar Murillo has always been passionate about art history having included a painting by Alfred Wallis in a previous installation. It is a privilege for Turner Contemporary to display a work of such historical and contemporary relevance from the Fleming Collection’
For 33-year-old Murillo, Nicol’s painting makes a connection to past migrations in the UK’s history. He said: ‘The Fleming Collection has been very generous in lending Nicol’s truly exceptional painting for my submission to Turner Contemporary. I want to hold a mirror and show that notions of social movement are not other or exotic, but instead have roots in this country due to socio-economic change.’ Nicol was just 27 when he painted ‘Lochaber No More’ in 1883 at the height of discontent against the eviction and economic exile of Highland crofters. Appropriately, Murillo places the painting at the heart of his installation, hung between two painted backdrops, suggestive of society’s myopia, and opposite an immense blacked-out window, apart from a horizontal slit offering a slither of hope to the sea beyond. Before it sit a group of papier-mâché effigies, emblematic of worker-migrants.
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Scottish Art News | NEWS | 5
Business leader and entrepreneur Tim Allan has been appointed chair of the board of V&A Dundee Allan succeeds the founding chair, Lesley Knox, who led the board from the architectural competition stage, which appointed Kengo Kuma to design the new museum in 2010. Allan is the owner of Unicorn Property Group, which has invested significantly in the regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront over the last decade. He has a wide range of other business and philanthropic interests including being the president of Scottish Chambers of Commerce. He is also on the board of the Archangels investment syndicate where he is an active investor in Scottish start-up businesses. Edinburgh-based Sir Mark Jones has been appointed chair of the National Trust for Scotland Jones was director of the National Museums of Scotland, from 1992–2001, then later director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Currently, he is chair of the Pilgrim Trust, the Historic Scotland Foundation and the Patrick Allan-Fraser of Hospitalfield Trust.
Charles Jencks – cultural theorist, landscape architect (born June 21 1939; died 13 October 2019) Charles Jencks, who has died aged 80, was a cosmic architectural visionary, who changed the cultural landscape both physically and intellectually in daring and unique ways. This was as much the case for his futuristic-looking landform sculptures as it was for the network of Maggie’s centres for cancer caring, named in honour of his late second wife, Maggie Keswick. Charles Alexander Jencks was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of composer Gardner Platt Jencks and Ruth DeWitt Pearl. He attended Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts before going to Harvard University, where he received a BA in English Literature in 1961 and an MA in architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1965. Jencks moved to the UK the same year, and in 1970 received his PhD in architectural history from University College, London, where he studied under radical modernist Reyner Banham. Jencks’ thesis was the basis for his 1973 book, Modern Movements in Architecture, which suggested, with what would become trademark stylistic panache, that modernism was a much more expansive
Commissions Edinburgh and Fife welcome two new projects from contemporary artist David Mach David Mach, one of the most publicly recognisable contemporary artists working in Scotland, has announced two very different sculptural projects for the east coast of Scotland, each of which dives into his practice of using found materials to create large and painstakingly designed sculptural objects and installations. Just opened at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries is Odyssey, which continues Mach’s fascination with shipping containers and printed media as art materials. The exhibit – presented by Fife Cultural Trust (ONFife), supported by DC Thomson Media with Briggs Marine – is part of Visit Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 and features six tons of Sunday Post newspapers appearing to spill from a container in frozen motion.
New partnership for the National Gallery and the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney The UK Partner Museum for the inaugural National Gallery’s Artist-inResidence scheme will be the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Orkney. Rosalind Nashashibi has been selected as the programme’s artist-in-residence. Glasgow School of Art graduate Nashashibi, a filmmaker and painter, began her residency at the National Gallery in London in September. She is working in the on-site artist’s studio, benefitting from the close proximity to the gallery’s collection. In 2020, she will visit the Pier Arts Centre’s outstanding collection of 20th-century British Modernist art, including works by William Gear, Barbara Hepworth, Margaret Mellis, Margaret Tait and Alfred Wallis. Neil Firth, director of the Pier Arts Centre, said: ‘It is a great pleasure and privilege to be involved in this inaugural partnership with the National Gallery and the Contemporary Arts Society. The Pier Arts Centre is a small independent museum, built around a very special collection of 20th-century British art. It is now expanding to include art made in the 21st century, and this partnership is a major fillip to our activities, and confirmation of our ambition.’ The residency will culminate in a publication and display featuring Nashashibi’s work at the National Gallery in summer 2020.
Mach, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1988, now lives in Lower Largo, but was raised in nearby Methil on the Fife coast and takes influence from the marine industry he saw in the town as a boy. ‘Sea containers carry the world’s stuff,’ he says of this work. ‘We make, we produce, we trade. We’re obsessed with it. It’s in our genes. We use these boxes to hold our ideas and designs. They travel the globe with our history and our culture in one long continuous journey. It’s no wonder they appear like Greek temples.’ Elsewhere, Mach has been commissioned by developers Parabola to design the marketing suite for their new 43-acre housing development at Edinburgh Park, just to the west of the capital. Working with the Stirling Prize-nominated architects Dixon Jones, the artist’s ‘Mach 1’ will also comprise a series of shipping containers. ‘It’s a building with a promise of a life in other ways – as a Fringe venue, a great place for comedy, for music, for talks,’ says Mach. ‘The look of the building is the important thing to me as a sculptor and now as an “accidental architect”.’ Odyssey Until 2 February 2020 Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, 1–7 Abbot Street, Dunfermline, KY12 7NL T: (0)1383 602365 | onfife.com Open: Monday to Wednesday & Friday 10am–5pm, Thursday 10am–7pm, Saturday 10am–4pm, Sunday noon–4pm
The story of one of the most talented, experimental and distinctive groups in 20th-century British art Today, the four artists known as the Scottish Colourists – SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, FCB Cadell and Leslie Hunter – are acknowledged as one of the most talented, experimental and distinctive groups in 20th-century British art. This book tells the story of their lives and their art; from the birth of the movement, led by Peploe and Fergusson, in the artistic ferment of Paris before the First World War, to its coming of age in the 1920s when the four artists first showed as a quartet, winning renown as masters of luminous colour and contemporary design. The story concludes with their glorious late maturity as landscape painters, entranced by the distinctive beauty of Scottish light.
Order today from The Scottish Gallery www.scottish-gallery.co.uk/publications £9.95 plus p&p
THE SCOTTISH COLOURISTS
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and diverse affair than those who attempted to junk it into the dustbin of history would have it. It was with post-modernism, however, that Jencks’ sense of playful provocation came into its own. His 1977 best-seller, The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, widened its palette and cast list with each of its eleven editions. Jencks went on to publish more than 30 books. As a designer, his most famed creation was his house in Holland Park, transformed with help from the likes of architects Terry Farrell and Michael Graves and sculptors Eduardo Paolozzi and Celia Scott into an elaborate embodiment of his theories. In landscape, the grounds of Jencks’ Dumfriesshire house were transformed with Keswick into the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Other major outdoor works in Scotland include Landform, created with Terry Farrell and Duncan Whatmore, which reimagined the grounds of what is now Modern One at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Cells of Life did something similar at Jupiter Artland, the sculpture park surrounding Bonnington House on the outskirts of the city. His last commission was Crawick Multiverse at Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire for the Duke of Buccleuch. After Keswick was diagnosed with cancer in 1993, it became apparent to Jencks that there was little that existed in the way of humane environments to support those in need of care, and the pair set up the Maggie’s centres. The first, designed by Richard Murphy, opened at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in 1996. These holistic environments are perhaps the most life-affirming aspect of the rich legacy Jencks brought into being. Jencks is survived by his third wife, Louisa Lane Fox, and his four children, two from his first marriage to Pamela Balding, and two from his second marriage to Maggie Keswick.
T H E S COT T I S H CO LO U R I ST S
Kitty Anderson has been appointed as the new Director of LUX Scotland LUX Scotland supports, develops and promotes artists’ moving image practices in Scotland. Anderson was formerly curator at The Common Guild, Glasgow. In 2013 she co-curated the Scottish presentation for the Venice Biennale with an exhibition by Duncan Campbell, Corin Sworn and Hayley Tompkins. Campbell’s presentation for Scotland + Venice went on to win the Turner Prize 2014 and Janice Kerbel’s project with The Common Guild was shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2015.
JAMES KNOX flemingcollection.com
Published by Scottish Art News | NEWS | 7
Glasgow International 2020 line-up revealed The line up for the 2020 edition of the Glasgow International biennial has been announced and will centre around the theme of ‘attention’. With over 60 new commissions and exhibitions making up the programme, and a huge range of venues to explore across the city, the festival is one of Scotland’s most exciting and eclectic visual art events. Curators of the Director’s Programme, Richard Parry and Poi Marr, have commissioned new solo works by artists from across the globe such as Ana Mazzei, France-Lise McGurn, Yuko Mohri, Nep Sidhu, Duncan Campbell, Martine Syms and Jenkin van Zyl. Highlights of the programme include the UK premiere of work by the self-taught Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez, major new film commissions by Georgina Starr and Sarah Forrest, never-before-seen works by the late Scottish painter Carol Rhodes, and a brand new programme – Across the City – designed to improve support for Glasgow’s freelance artists and curators. All artists selected as part of the Across the City programme will receive awards between £1500 to £10,000, with the top prize being awarded to an exhibition curated by the collective Chapter 13, which will include work by Kadar Attia, Hikaru Fujii and Margaret Salmon. The programme promises a rich variety of works with some interesting contemplations to turn our attention to as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. Glasgow International 24 April–10 May 2020 T: (0)141 276 8384 | glasgowinternational.org 8 | ART
Artist Iman Tajik receives Glasgow International Bursary Award The Glasgow-based Iranian artist Iman Tajik has been selected as the recipient of the Glasgow International Bursary Award of £3000, for a work entitled ‘Bordered Miles’, which will form part of next spring’s Glasgow International art festival. Described by Tajik as ‘an activist mass performance walk with site installations’, the piece will take the form of a group walk between the centre of Glasgow and Dungavel House Removal Centre in South Lanarkshire. Tehran-born Tajik, who came to the UK as a refugee and is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art – and whose photographic works of the Calais Jungle camp have been purchased by the Fleming Collection – will here continue to explore the themes of borders and migration which are intrinsic to his work. Created with Claudia Zeiske and Deveron Projects, the piece is intended, he says, ‘to investigate the notion of borders that demarcate country from country, and also “internal” borders that are less visible; for example, city to city and council to council. Some of these borders go unnoticed as they remain invisible and embedded within the environments we inhabit.’ Following the walk, the project will also incorporate a one-day dissection and talk event, and all of Tajik’s process work and documentation will be made available online. This piece follows on from his recent participation in the From the Other Side group show of public art in London, showing work on Borough High Street, as commissioned by Tate Modern’s community and social team with Better Bankside.
‘Running throughout 2019 and on into 2020, the programme has seen artists and arts professionals from both countries visit the other in order to experience arts practice there’
Bordered Miles Part of Glasgow International 24 April–10 May 2020 T: (0)141 276 8384 | glasgowinternational.org
‘Tehran-born Tajik, who came to the UK as a refugee and is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art – and whose photographic works of the Calais Jungle camp have been purchased by the Fleming Collection – will here continue to explore the themes of borders and migration which are intrinsic to his work’
Tokyo Olympics marked by cultural exchange between Scotland and Japan Ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, a range of cultural activities involving the host country are taking place. One of these is the British Council’s UK/Japan Season of Culture 2019/20, of which the Scotland/ Japan Residency Exchange Programme is a part. Running throughout 2019 and on into 2020, the programme has seen artists and arts professionals from both countries visit the other in order to experience arts practice there. Already this year, Glasgow-based artist Florence Dwyer and Edinburghbased curator, writer and producer Stacey Hunter have travelled for residencies at Arts Initiative Tokyo and Creative Residencies in Arita, respectively, the latter location being the birthplace of Japanese porcelain. This autumn, meanwhile, has seen Japanese sound artist Nao Nishihara spend a month at Hospitalfield in Arbroath, while Nobuko Tsuchiya – a graduate of Goldsmiths, who is from Yokohama but based in London – has experienced a month at Cove Park in Argyll and Bute.
With support from British Council Scotland, Creative Scotland, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the programme is facilitated in Scotland by Cove Park, Hospitalfield and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, the latter of which will host another Japanese artist next year. Applications are currently being considered, meanwhile, for Scottish artists who wish to visit TOKAS (Tokyo Arts and Space) and Arcus in the city of Moriya. Hopefully the artistic results might be available to view in a gallery context at some point. For more information, go to covepark.org, hospitalfield.org.uk and edinburghsculpture.org
1 Hannah Mooney, Co Donegal Landscape 1, 2018. Courtesy Hannah Mooney & The Scottish Gallery 2 John Watson Nicol, Lochaber No More, 1883 © Fleming Collection 3 Oscar Murillo, installation Turner Prize 2019 at Turner Contemporary. Photograph by David Levene 4 Oscar Murillo, installation view of surge (social cataracts), 2019, Turner Prize 2019 at Turner Contemporary. Photograph by David Levene 5 Tim Allan, Chair of the Board of V&A Dundee. Image courtesy of Michael McGurk 6 Sir Mark Jones. Image courtesy of National Trust Scotland 7 David Mach. Image by Peter Searle
8 Rosalind Nashashibi in front of Gustave Courbet’s Still Life with Apples and a Pomegranate © The National Gallery, London 9 Carol Rhodes, Deposits, 2009. Image courtesy Andrew Mummery and the estate of Carol Rhodes 10 Iman Tajik, Can you hear me 2. Image courtesy Iman Tajic/ The Fleming Collection 11 Group shot at Hospitalfield. Photograph by Cicely Farrer 12 Daniel Brown, Curator for Research at ESW with Kaori Otake and Yuki Kondo 13 Lesley Young’s trip to Japan, doing a short research residency at ARCUS. Photo by Yukiko Koshima
Scottish Art News | NEWS | 9
ART IN ACTION Clare Harris
With the launch of its Art in Action campaign, Clare Harris, director of the Scottish Contemporary Art Network, looks at the vital role art plays in Scottish communities and calls for better recognition of its value in government decision-making 1
One of the most pleasing sights for me this autumn was of various MSPs heading off into the corridors of the Scottish Parliament with a specially commissioned, limited-edition Ruth Ewan print tucked under their arms. The occasion was the parliamentary reception of the Art in Action campaign, at which some of the leading lights of Scotland’s contemporary art scene gathered to discuss the impact that contemporary art and artists have on policy areas beyond the culture silo. Launched in May by the Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN), Art in Action’s aim is to champion the valuable role visual art plays within communities across Scotland – and to call for stronger recognition of this value when it comes to decision-making. Over the summer parliamentary recess, SCAN members and other arts organisations invited their local MSPs to see the work they did, resulting in some incredibly rich and encouraging discussions around the intrinsic transformative value of art, and how it can feed long-term change, building empathy and resilience. Claire Baker MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture, visited SCAN member Lada Wilson in Fife. Baker says: ‘I hope that through the Art in Action campaign, the role of art and artists in communities can be better understood so we can work to ensure better recognition of its value in decision-making at all levels.’
As part of the campaign, SCAN commissioned Ruth Ewan to create an artwork that would be presented to every single MSP as a permanent reminder of our call for art to be at the heart of decision-making. Ewan created the print with the expertise of Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Print Studio and it shows the words of poet Mary Brooksbank, a socialist and trade unionist working in the Dundee jute mills in the early years of the 20th century. ‘The verse from Brooksbank’s poem “Labor Omnia Vincit” seemed to connect well to the Art in Action campaign,’ says Ewan, ‘to value cultural workers, to stop and consider what creative people contribute to our lives and our society, and also to think about our cultural potential. Although Mary is a voice from the past, she was really interested in shaping the future and her voice seems as relevant today as it ever has.’ On the evening of the Art in Action reception, Ewan spoke eloquently about the precarious position of artists in Scotland today and how their contribution should be better recognised by those in power. ‘Mary Brooksbank, like Brecht, believed art should not just be a mirror to be held up to society but a hammer with which to shape it,’ said Ewan. ‘If as a country we want to continue to be at the forefront of contemporary art, then we need to enable artists to be artists.’
‘Mary Brooksbank, like Brecht, believed art should not just be a mirror to be held up to society but a hammer with which to shape it,’ said Ewan. ‘If as a country we want to continue to be at the forefront of contemporary art, then we need to enable artists to be artists’
1 Nicola Sturgeon visits Studio Pavilion as part of Art in Action campaign. Image by Julie Howden 2 Ruth Ewan creates special Art in Action print at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Image by Cara Pirie
Read more about SCAN’s Art in Action campaign at sca-net.org
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Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 11
EXPLORING MODERN SCOTTISH SCULPTURE
Patrizio’s updated tour began with images of the ticketed and rarefied Sculpture in the Open Air exhibition held at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow in 1949, took cross-country diversions that included David Harding’s key work as Glenrothes town artist in the 1970s and John Latham’s similarly visionary environmental work. The 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival, the Kelpies and the utopia of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Sparta sculpture garden were all there. As was Martin Creed’s marble reimagining of Edinburgh’s Scotsman Steps in ‘Work No 1059’, before Patrizio alighted back at the seemingly more open Kelvingrove Park of today. In a session on collecting Scottish sculpture for both public and private collections, Jupiter Artland curator Claire Feeley spoke about how private individuals are stepping into the breach as public funding dissipates. Curator and ‘creative broker’, Matthew Jarratt, whose adventures in public art have included major projects from Newcastle to China, talked about trying to persuade property developers to take risks, while Burge spoke about the ongoing transformation of Marchmont House over the last couple of years in terms of its sculpture collection and his ambitions for its future. ‘What is Contemporary Scottish Sculpture Today?’ was the big question posed by Pangolin’s gallery director, Polly Bielecka, in a post-lunch session in which living proof was provided by a panel of artists including David Mach, Kenny Hunter and Sandy Stoddart, alongside senior curator of the National Galleries of Scotland, Alice Strang. Strang showed off the fantastical possibilities of sculpture by way of images from Monster Chetwynd’s recent show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh that saw all manner of creatures burst through the frame, barely contained by the gallery walls.
Leading artists, curators and industry experts gathered in the Scottish Borders in September to explore and celebrate modern Scottish sculpture. Neil Cooper rounds up the highlights and key messages to emerge from this illustrious gathering ‘I’m not here to talk about Scottish sculpture,’ Richard Demarco declared towards the end of a symposium designed to talk about exactly that, ‘because it doesn’t exist. I’m a European,’ the now 89-year-old cultural whirlwind added as he beetled about the music room of Marchmont House, the 18th-century country pile set in the heart of the Scottish Borders that hosted the event. It’s a house Demarco knows well from his time spent there in the company of musician, artist and former resident, Rory McEwan, whose work he showcased in several exhibitions at his Edinburgh gallery during the late 1960s and 70s. The heartfelt address that followed was delivered by Demarco without recourse to any kind of slideshow presentation, in essence giving him the air of a living sculpture in constant motion. Pieces by the likes of Eduardo Paolozzi and Antony Gormley are already in place in the 390-acre grounds close to the house, now styled by its current resident and driving force behind its reinvention, Hugo Burge, as ‘a home for makers and creators’. The presence of work by the late Tim Stead inside the house, with large-scale outdoor works by local artists, including Charlie Poulsen, Frippy Jameson and Keith McCarter, all of whom spoke at the symposium, bears out its refreshed status. 12 | ART
But in his talk, Demarco wasn’t just asking for McEwan’s work to be shown at Marchmont House: his emotional plea was for sculpture to be allowed to thrive today in the face of what he sees as its ongoing intellectual and artistic denigration. This may be a familiar refrain for long-term Demarco watchers, but, given the context of this day-long event – sponsored by Pangolin London, one of the few galleries in the UK devoted solely to sculpture, and Edinburgh-based international auction house, Lyon & Turnbull – it had an extra resonance. There were plenty of other rhetorical flourishes during the course of the day’s packed programme, ushered in by Burge, who somewhat magnificently described sculptor William Turnbull as ‘the Billy Elliot of the sculpture world.’ Art historian and Scottish Art News contributor Bill Hare’s fascinating preview of his forthcoming book on the parallel lives of Turnbull and Paolozzi – ‘Two Giants of Scottish Sculpture’ as they were presented here – gave weight and depth to both artists. Andrew Patrizio of Edinburgh College of Art introduced the day with a provocative primer in contemporary Scottish sculpture, from the end of WWII to today. Drawn in part from his now 20-year-old book, Contemporary Sculpture in Scotland,
Stoddart lobbed a semantic grenade into the mix by gleefully suggesting that the word ‘contemporary’ was a stupid one, fostered by a leftist plot. He preferred the word, ‘contratemporary’, and, in-between references to Schopenhauer and Moses, pointed out how ‘being a sculptor is being on the edge of catastrophe every single month, week, day’. In a session on supporting Scottish sculpture, Audrey Carlin, CEO of Wasps artists’ studios, emphasised the necessity for affordable studio spaces in the social enterprise initiative’s 19 buildings. This was echoed by Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop director Laura Simpson, who highlighted how ESW and Wasps formed part of a much bigger network. Meanwhile, writer and trustee of the Tim Stead Trust, Giles Sutherland, emphasised the need for more outlets for critique in a world where print media was shrinking. In wrapping up the day, while Burge stressed the importance of a broader creative spirit, Demarco quoted a conversation he had with Joseph Beuys not long before the German icon of social sculpture died. Beuys told Demarco he not only wanted to come back to Scotland again, but that, rather than simply making a work, he wanted to transform the entire country into a sculpture. If Burge and other fellow travellers gathered in Marchmont House have their way, it may happen yet. Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh
1 Charles Poulson with sculpture. Image © Colin Hattersley 2 Anthony Gormley, Another Time. Image © Hugo Burge
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ABERDEEN ART GALLERY Susan Mansfield
Almost five years after it closed its doors, Susan Mansfield takes a sneak peek at the multi-million pound redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery ahead of its November reopening REFLECTIVE vests and protective glasses are still the order of the day when I visit Aberdeen Art Gallery, but it’s clear that work has reached the finishing touches stage. The paintings are hung, the stock is being put on shelves in the gift shop and the new level-access doors are getting ready to swing open to welcome the first visitors on Saturday 2 November. There is plenty of curiosity about the gallery, which closed in January 2015 for a £34.6million refurbishment. The collection has long been highly regarded and the redevelopment by Hoskins Architects significantly increases the space in which it can be shown, as well as adding major new rooftop spaces for touring exhibitions and modern visitor facilities. A key aim has been to improve navigation around the building and link it effectively with its neighbours, the Remembrance Hall (behind the city’s war memorial) and the Cowdray Hall. ‘It’s a challenge because it’s three separate A-listed buildings,’ says Christine Rew, manager for Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums. ‘The whole complex has grown up ad hoc; this is the first time it’s been thought of holistically.’ Aberdeen Art Gallery opened its doors in 1885, with the Remembrance Hall and the Cowdray Hall (a small concert venue noted for its fine acoustics) following in the 1920s. Now, for the first time, it is possible to stand in the Remembrance Hall and look straight through to the gallery’s Sculpture Court with its iconic pillars (each showcasing a different type of granite) and 14 | ART
chequered marble floor. Today, the Sculpture Court is home to work by Barbara Hepworth and Jacob Epstein, a glittering neon piece by Tracey Emin, and work by contemporary Scottish artists Christine Borland, Sara Barker and Lucy Skaer. As the gateway into the rest of the gallery, it’s a taster of just how remarkable Aberdeen’s collection is. When the gallery was founded in the 1880s by a group of local philanthropist-collectors, one of the key figures was granite merchant Alexander Macdonald who not only left his own extensive collection to the institution but endowed a bequest for the purchase of works no more than 25 years old. ‘It means we have been collecting contemporary art for more than 130 years,’ says Rew. It was a bold move at the time – it took until 1960 before the National Galleries of Scotland revoked its unwritten rule and started to collect works by living artists – and the choices were not always popular. ‘When Francis Bacon’s “Pope I, Study After Pope Innocent by Velazquez” was bought, it was thought of as ugly,’ Rew says. ‘With hindsight, it was a really bold, adventurous acquisition to make, and part of my job is to encourage today’s curators to do the same.’ The nature of Macdonald’s bequest shaped the future, enabling the gallery to build up a major collection of British art from the first half of the 20th century – Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, Stanley Spencer – and important post-war works by
‘The gallery celebrates its local heroes too – jeweller and collector James Cromar Watt and “artistadventurer” James McBey. One room looks at women’s changing place in art, displaying superb works by Scottish female artists Dorothy Johnstone and Cecile Walton, alongside a display on Aberdeen suffragette Caroline Phillips’
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the St Ives school, Bridget Riley, Jon Schueler and others, many of them purchased when such work could be bought much more affordably than it can today. And now, thanks to Macdonald, Aberdeen is one of few regional galleries able to collect contemporary art. With the redevelopment, the number of galleries available to display the permanent collection has increased from 11 to 18. Some 300 objects were on show when it closed in 2015 – now there are more than 1000. The bright, airy BP Galleries on the second floor (formerly the building’s roof), currently housing two exhibitions by photographer Martin Parr, mean that visiting shows can be accommodated without having to make space within the permanent collection. For the first time, there are opportunities to display craft, decorative arts and jewellery, but it is in fine art that the collection excels again and again. The 19th-century Scottish favourites are all here – Edwin Landseer, George Phillip, Joseph Farquharson. John Lavery’s ‘The Tennis Party’ is currently being shown next to ‘The Ferryman’ by Willian Stott of Oldham, which is on tour from the Tate. Sir James Guthrie’s goose girl in ‘To Pastures New’ has pride of place in a room giving background to the collection. One room pairs 19th-century European paintings with Scottish companions: Fantin-Latour and Leslie Hunter, Daubigny and George Reid, Bastien-Lepage and Alexander Mackenzie, Monet and MacTaggart, each one a much-loved masterpiece. There are such riches in this collection, they come at you almost casually. The gallery celebrates its local heroes too – jeweller and collector James Cromar Watt and ‘artist-adventurer’ James McBey. One room looks at women’s changing place in art, displaying superb works by Scottish female artists Dorothy Johnstone and Cecile Walton, alongside a display on Aberdeen suffragette Caroline Phillips.
And everywhere there are surprises. In a room about Victorian Scotland, we find ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’ by contemporary artist Rachel Maclean, who represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2017. A room titled Human Presence houses further gems from the contemporary collection: Calum Colvin, Alison Watt, Kenny Hunter’s ‘Feedback Loop’ alongside large works by Gilbert & George and the Chapman Brothers, all delivered without apparent ceremony. For the art lover, all this is reason enough for a trip to the Granite City but collections, these days, must be accessible – and that goes far beyond a passenger lift and some interactive displays for children. Curators have worked with exhibition designers Studioarc to present the collection in new ways, drawing heavily on public consultations. Not everyone will agree with all the decisions they’ve made, but no one can deny the quality of the raw material. To explain the evolution in landscape painting, for example, there’s a neat projection from Turner to Pissarro to Mackintosh Patrick to Eardley. A room of portraiture goes from Raeburn to Martin Parr via David Wilkie, Benno Schotz and Ken Currie. A display on sea and shore includes not only MacTaggart and Eardley, but Dalziel + Scullion, Will Maclean and a wall of maritime prints by Ian Hamilton Finlay. The surprises just keep coming. In Rew’s words: ‘If you don’t like one room, keep walking, you will find something you do like.’ And she’s isn’t wrong. Whether the new-look gallery will create a cultural quarter for Aberdeen as the V&A has for Dundee remains to be seen. But there can be no denying the riches of its collection or what a pleasure it is to see them on show again in fine new surroundings. 1 Sculpture Court with For You by Tracey Emin, 2008
Aberdeen Art Gallery Schoolhill, Aberdeen, AB10 1FQ T: (0)3000 200 293 | aagm.co.uk Open: Monday to Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
2 View of Gallery 1 with Gexhi by Eduardo Paolozzi, 1967, in the foreground 3 Kenny Hunter, Feedback Loop, 2003 4 Exploring the royal love affair with the Scottish Highlands in Gallery 9: Balmoral Phenomenon 5 Detail of Man Riding Bird, by Henry Coombes, 2007, with Jungled by Gilbert & George, 1986 in the background
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COURBET AND WILKIE Duncan Macmillan
Critic and art historian Duncan Macmillan argues that far from being unaware of David Wilkie, the French realist painter Gustave Courbet was inspired by the Scottish artist and owes a debt to the Scottish Enlightenment David Wilkie was much admired by his contemporaries in France. Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix both visited his studio in London. Richard Parkes Bonington probably did too and Wilkie’s influence is clear in the historical genre – much of it inspired by Walter Scott – that these and other artists in Paris painted in the 1820s. In 1825, when Wilkie himself was in the city, the artists held a dinner in his honour, and in 1835, he was made a corresponding member of the Institute de France. Four years later, the young Gustave Courbet arrived in Paris. Wilkie’s reputation would not have entirely faded in four short years and Courbet would certainly have known of him by reputation. Prints of his work circulated widely and he was also what Courbet aspired to be: a successful metropolitan painter whose origins were nonmetropolitan and whose art, in his earlier years at least, reflected the simplicity of his own rural and unsophisticated world. It was Wilkie’s painting of his home village, ‘Pitlessie Fair’ (1804), for instance, that prompted his breakthrough commission from the Earl of Mansfield in 1806 for the ‘The Village Politicians’. The overtly autobiographical character of ‘Pitlessie Fair’ was new and radical. It represented a profound shift from the historical and generalised towards the personal and subjective, the route that Courbet was later to take. Constable also followed his close friend Wilkie’s example when he turned for inspiration to the Suffolk landscape of his boyhood. 18 | ART
Wilkie himself said of ‘Pitlessie Fair’ that ‘most of the figures in it are portraits’ and they include his father and grandfather. The picture was also described as ‘the portrait of a village with its people’ by his biographer, Alan Cunningham. That description could equally apply to Courbet’s ‘Burial at Ornans’ (1849–50). Both paintings include identifiable individuals in the artists’ home community. Courbet’s picture, however, is enormous and solemn. Wilkie’s is small and comic. But it is unlikely that Courbet would have been interested in it, or indeed in Wilkie’s other small figure compositions. ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night’, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1837, was very different, however. This great picture illustrates Robert Burns’ poem of the same name, but it also revisits the artist’s childhood. In the manse of his father, the Rev David Wilkie, family prayers would have been held every Sabbath’s eve exactly as Wilkie portrays it. We also know from Allan Cunningham that in the picture, the gudeman – the head of the house reading the Bible – is Wilkie’s brother, Thomas. We don’t know who the four women are, but after his father’s death in 1812, his mother and his sister Helen lived with him. Helen stayed with him, too, after his mother’s death in 1824. His was a household of women, as this one appears to be, though there was no child in it as there is in the picture.
An engraving of the painting was published in 1839, so it would have been perfectly accessible to Courbet. He might well have been impressed by it, too, for it is a masterpiece. Few artists since Rembrandt had captured, as Wilkie has done here, the simple dignity of ordinary, unadorned humanity seen at a moment of solemnity and inward reflection. The diversity of response in the audience – the child playing with a kitten, the boy in the shadows furtively admiring the pensive girl seated left – further endorses the humanity of the scene. In 1849, just 12 years after Wilkie had exhibited ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night’, Courbet exhibited ‘L’Après-dinée à Ornans’ and the two paintings are strikingly similar. Both owe something to Rembrandt’s ‘Supper at Emmaus’, Wilkie’s more than Courbet’s perhaps, but they are closer to each other than either to Rembrandt. The scene in both is domestic, a group loosely gathered round a table. Courbet has moved the table and, dropping the subsidiary figures, brought the four principal figures closer. He echoes the diversity of response in Wilkie’s picture and also represents his own familiar world. His father, Regis Courbet, to the left, is dozing. In the foreground, the hunter – Adolphe Marlet, a hunting friend – lights his pipe. The musician, Alphonse Promayet, a friend from Courbet’s childhood, is half-standing; a little higher than Wilkie’s gudeman, but in the same relative position. Another friend, Urbain Cuènot, has taken the place
of the woman with a child, but in pose and pensive air, he also closely echoes the girl to the left in Wilkie’s picture. Overall, the figures correspond very closely to the principal figures in Wilkie’s painting. The mood of quiet reflection is the same, too, and its focus is the figure to the right. Of course, Wilkie’s principal figure is reading the Bible, while Courbet’s is playing the violin. These are very different activities. Unaccompanied psalm singing was, however, also customary in these family prayers (as a young man, my father witnessed it still practised in the Highlands) and in the poem, Burns describes how they ‘chant their artless notes in simple guise’. Wilkie himself played the fiddle and music is a constant theme in his work, most notably in the ‘The Blind Fiddler’ (1806) and ‘The Penny Wedding’ (1818). He was also concerned, however, with the simple, direct response that music could command. Already in ‘Pitlessie Fair’, a boy playing the Jew’s harp to his attentive friends offers an island of aesthetic calm in the adult hubbub. In ‘The Blind Fiddler’, too, the character of the fiddler’s music is reflected in the rapt attention of the children. In this childish appreciation of music, sound substitutes for vision; the artist invites us to infer that his painting is as direct and intuitive as the fiddler’s music and our response to it should be as unaffected as the children’s (gently to underline his point, Wilkie has a child’s drawing pinned to the dresser). Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 19
‘The idea of a natural, spontaneous and personal art did not simply begin with ‘L’Après-dinée à Ornans’ in 1849 as the conventional story of modern art would have us believe’
1 David Wilkie, The Cotter’s Saturday Night © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection 2 Gustave Courbet, L’après-dînée à Ornans © Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille / Bridgeman Images 3 Henry Raeburn, Portrait of Niel Gow. Image courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland
Though the people in ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night’ are not actually singing, Wilkie’s picture is still musical by implication due to its relationship with Burns’ poem (there is also a fiddle hanging on the wall). A complete translation of Burns’ poetry was published in France in 1843, but even if Courbet did not know the poem, there is a real affinity in the role music plays in his and Wilkie’s pictures, either directly in one, or by association in the other, and it is surely not simply coincidental. Alphonse Promayet was a professional musician: nevertheless simplicity, even artlessness, is perhaps the character we are led to suppose his music has. This would then suggest an analogy between the music and the forthright directness of the painting. Promayet also has a parallel in Wilkie’s ‘Penny Wedding’ where the celebrated fiddle player, Niel Gow, presides over the dance. Wilkie’s figure of Gow is an homage to Raeburn’s portrait of the musician from 1787 and, like Promayet, he is playing informally, without music. Presenting Gow absorbed in his playing, Raeburn suggests the close affinity between the directness and simplicity of the musician’s performance and his own intuitive approach to painting. This is implicit in Wilkie’s musical images too, including ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night’, and Courbet clearly wants us to make the same analogy: to see his painting is as direct and as intuitive as the music and that our response to it should be the same, as natural as the child’s response that so intrigued Wilkie.
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This seems to echo the Scottish philosopher, Thomas Reid, who, in his Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense wrote ‘the best judge in all the expressive arts must be he who best understands the use of natural signs’. Reid’s Inquiry was first published in 1764 and to be both natural and expressive was to become the ambition that more than any other shaped modern art. What Reid says earlier in the same discussion about the ‘natural language’ of the arts also makes it clear that he was conscious of the challenge he posed to the artists: ‘It were easy to shew, that the fine arts of the musician, the painter, the actor, and the orator, so far as they are expressive . . . are nothing else but the language of nature which we brought into the world with us, but have unlearned by disuse, and so find the greatest difficulty recovering it.’ From what Reid says, it seems that in the modern world, unless artists can somehow recover the natural and intuitive sensibility they were born with, then only a child is really fit to be either artist or critic; and if Wilkie’s children are Reid’s natural critics, then likewise, surely, the boy drawing in the dust in Courbet’s ‘L’Atelier du Peintre’ is the natural artist Reid describes. Reid’s Inquiry was first published in French in a pirated translation soon after its publication in English, but in France, Reid’s philosophy was to become the object of renewed, indeed fashionable interest in the early 19th century. Delacroix attended lectures on Reid by Victor Cousin at the Sorbonne and, through
Cousin, Reid’s ideas became widely influential. Indeed Cousin’s associate Franscisque Michel credited the Scottish philosophers generally, but principally Reid and his disciple and interpreter Dugald Stewart, with nothing less than ‘la renovation spiritualiste qui l’opère en France en commencement du XIXe siècle’ (‘the spiritual renewal that happened in France at the beginning of the 19th century’). A bust of Stewart still presides over Cousin’s library in the Sorbonne. But if you still wonder how an obscure Scottish philosopher could possibly have anything to do with French art, in 1842, through Victor Cousin’s educational reforms, Les Oeuvres de Thomas Reid became one of the principal texts in the national curriculum for a compulsory philosophy paper in France’s national baccalauréat. That, however, is part of a wider story than I can tell here. Nevertheless, the manifest debt of Courbet to Wilkie suggests that the idea of a natural, spontaneous and personal art did not simply begin with ‘L’Après-dinée à Ornans’ in 1849 as the conventional story of modern art would have us believe. It reaches back into the Scottish Enlightenment and to the painters like Wilkie and Raeburn whose art was the first to be shaped by radical new ideas that its thinkers explored, above all about intuition and the business of seeing. Duncan Macmillan is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, an art critic and art historian
Many years ago, I submitted a proposal for a book on European art and the Scottish Enlightenment to several publishers. They all rejected it, but among the reasons for dismissing it, one comment by an anonymous academic reading it for Cambridge University Press was particularly memorable. To illustrate just how preposterous it was to suppose that Scottish art could have figured in any way on the great European scene, he (and I am sure it was he, not her) wrote: ‘to suggest that Wilkie could have influenced Courbet is absurd.’ Whether it is or is not, you can now judge, but really it is the prejudice revealed in those ten words that is absurd. It is so deep-seated, so unshakeable, no evidence would ever even dent it. It was extreme, but that is what we faced at that time writing about Scottish art. Turning down a different proposal, Yale told me that there would be no market for a book on the history of Scottish art. Even so, I was knocked back by the sheer hostility revealed by the CUP reader. The book was never published. Then other things intervened, but now times have changed and years later I have returned to it. This article is a synoptic extract from the text now written. It does not yet have a publisher, but I probably won’t take it to CUP. – Duncan Macmillan Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 21
COLOUR AND LIGHT: THE ART AND INFLUENCE OF THE SCOTTISH COLOURISTS James Knox
James Knox explores the lasting impact and influence of the Scottish Colourists on future generations of Scottish artists and the ties that bound them to those who followed in their footsteps An abiding characteristic of Scottish painting in the 20th century has been an obsession with colour. Its source is well known – the 1905 exhibition of the Fauves who were known as the wild beasts of the French avant–garde, led by Matisse, Derain and Van Dongen. Their work had an immediate and volcanic impact upon the art of SJ Peploe and JD Fergusson and was later absorbed by Leslie Hunter and FCB Cadell. But how was the Colourist quartet’s compulsion to explore the extreme effects of colour passed on to the next generation of Scottish artists? Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists – the exhibition which has just opened at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria – examines their impact on future generations, arguably for the first time in a museum show. Their immediate beneficiaries were a group of artists now known as the Edinburgh School, all of whom attended Edinburgh School of Art from just prior to WWI to the early 1920s, depending on their age and war service. They number: David Macbeth Sutherland (1883–1973), Dorothy Johnstone (1892–1980), William Crozier (1893–1930), Anne Redpath (1895–1965), William Gillies 22 | ART
(1898–1973), William MacTaggart (1903–1981) and John Maxwell (1905–1962). Most of them also went on to teach at Edinburgh College of Art, which meant that Sutherland, who had visited Paris before the war, taught the 1920s intake of William MacTaggart, John Maxwell and William Gillies. ‘There was something about him,’ recalled Gillies, ‘and his brilliant handling of colour. He was a tremendous stimulus to us all.’ But the closest link to the Colourists was Peploe himself who joined the staff of the ECA – if on a hands-off basis – in 1933. As the future arts administrator, Sir Norman Reid, recalled: ‘Peploe père looked in . . .’ One of the marked shifts between the careers of the four Colourists – who were never well-off and had to survive through selling their work – and the post-war generation was that the latter could be cushioned by teaching posts, although Anne Redpath – perennially short of money – never succumbed. Peploe and Cadell were the two Scottish Colourists resident in Edinburgh after the war and they kept a sharp eye on the rising generation. As members of the exclusive artists’ group, the Society of Eight, which could only be topped up by a death or
resignation, they backed the election of William MacTaggart at the tender age of 24 and later William Gillies, aged 33. When Cadell was asked why such an artist should be elected, he replied: ‘Seven of us thought he was the right man.’ Dorothy Johnson is another member of the group who moved in Peploe’s circles, especially during WWI and the early 1920s when both artists spent time in the artists’ town of Kirkcudbright. Her effervescent portrait of Cecile Walton as well as her townscapes of the period reflect Peploe’s vision. Apart from personal contact, there were other ties which bound the generations. On their own initiative and without bursaries to support them, the four Colourists had carved out their early careers as consciously European artists – living, training and working in France and, in Cadell’s case, Germany too. Post-war, all four Colourists had sought inspiration in the south of France, joining the cosmopolitan artist colonies around Cassis and Antibes. As critic and art historian Duncan Macmillan has pointed out: ‘Thanks to the Colourists and Glasgow Boys, there was a sense in which maintaining links with France was seen as a part of the Scottish tradition.’ The next generation was quick to follow in their footsteps. By 1925, Anne Redpath was living in nearby St-JeanCap-Ferrat working alongside William Crozier (who was based in Italy) and William MacTaggart on their frequent visits. Crozier’s 1930 work ‘The Slopes of Fiesole’ in the exhibition signals his debt to the Colourists. The Colourists’ life-long exploration of still life as a subject worthy of contemporary painting also left its mark. ‘There is so much,’ wrote Peploe, ‘in mere objects, flowers, leaves and jugs – colours, forms, relations – I can never see mystery coming to an end.’ The still-lifes of Gillies, Redpath and Maxwell – although they sing with the authentic voice of their individual creators – are testament to Peploe’s belief. Redpath succinctly summed up the inheritance of the Fauves and their Scottish peers. The paintings of Matisse and
those of his school, she wrote, ‘were orchestrations in high-pitched intense colour, pink and orange, violet, yellow and silver green, colour that seemed almost brutal after the gentle harmonies of the impressionist.’ Like all artists equipped with acute intelligence, curiosity and sensitivity, Redpath and her fellow members of the Edinburgh School – not to mention upcoming youngsters such as Elizabeth Blackadder (born 1931) – followed their own destinies as artists, open to any number of influences. But as Duncan Macmillan points out, ‘when looking at this generation, it is important to remember the role of Colourists as intermediaries.’ It was they who set the next generation on their path to glory. James Knox is director of the Fleming Collection Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists Until 1 February 2020 Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL T: (0)1539 722464 | abbothall.org.uk Open: Monday to Saturday 10.30am–4pm Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 23
Chelsea Eves, curator at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, explains the key role of the Colourists and modern Scottish art in their collection In August 1963, Abbot Hall Art Gallery presented the exhibition 20th Century Scottish Painting. It was conceived and organised by Helen Kapp, the gallery’s inaugural director, who wished to stage ‘a good exhibition of modern Scottish painting [long] overdue in England’. The practicalities of organising such an exhibition were aided by the gallery’s proximity to the Scottish border and the relationships forged with artists whose work the gallery had already acquired. Kapp’s intention was to show works that were representative of contemporary Scottish art. However, following a research trip to Scotland in the autumn of 1962, she was quick to identify that the exhibition should be rooted in the work of the four Colourists; the immediate forerunners of modern painting in Scotland. Kapp was astute in her observation that by not including them ‘it would be difficult to grasp the particular qualities of mid–20th century Scottish painting’. With the support of the Arts Council, selected paintings were borrowed from regional galleries including Manchester Art Gallery, Kirkcaldy Art Gallery and Aberdeen Art Gallery, as well as from private collections. Paintings by Scottish artists already well known in England – Anne Redpath, William George Gillies, William MacTaggart and John Maxwell – formed the next segment of the show, despite the obvious hiatus between the work of the Colourists and members of the Edinburgh School. The exhibition culminated with a display of work by younger artists, those whose work Kapp considered to show ‘excellence, vitality and variety’: Robin Philipson, Earl Haig, Joan Eardley, James Cumming, David McClure, William Littlejohn, John Houston, Alistair Park, Mardi Barrie, Elizabeth Blackadder, Ian McCulloch, Ian McKenzie Smith
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and John Knox. This dazzling assemblage of Scottish art – nudes, landscapes and still lives – ensured that the exhibition was a triumph. Of the 76 works Kapp had selected for display, 34 paintings were for sale. Despite the availability of five paintings by Fergusson, Abbot Hall acquired Redpath’s ‘The Fruit Stand’ (in 1964), while Elizabeth Blackadder’s ‘Northumbrian Landscape with Hadrian’s Wall’ was purchased from the artist by private collectors (it was later donated to the gallery in 2013). Following the exhibition’s success, Abbot Hall began to collect work by modern Scottish artists in earnest. Since opening in 1962, the gallery had acquired works by Joan Eardley, Elizabeth Blackadder, Ian McKenzie Smith, Anne Redpath and Alistair Park, all of which featured in the 1963 exhibition. Between 1964 and 1992, several key acquisitions were made of additional works by Eardley, Redpath and Blackadder, spearheaded by Kapp and her successor Mary Birkett. Notable additions to the collection included paintings by William MacTaggart and Blackadder’s husband John Houston. In some cases, the works were acquired directly from artists who had exhibited in 1963, others from Edinburgh’s premier art dealer, Aitken, Dott & Son. In 1978, Abbot Hall secured its own Colourist painting, SJ Peploe’s ‘Still Life with Tulips and Oranges’ (1925), purchased with the assistance of the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of Abbot Hall. Peploe’s painting has since become a seminal work within the collection and one of the most popular. The current exhibition – Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists – is in part a continuation of Helen Kapp’s efforts in 1963. It therefore seems fitting that, as the gallery prepares to close for major capital development, we should be revisiting work by such influential Scottish artists, which form the backbone of our collection of modern art.
1 Anne Redpath, Window in Menton, 1948, © The Artist’s Estate. All Rights Reserved 2019/Bridgeman Images. Image courtesy of The Fleming Collection 2 David Sutherland, Drying the Nets, Concarneau, c. 1924. Image courtesy of The Fleming Collection
3 Dorothy Johnstone, Cecile Walton. Image courtesy of The Fleming Collection 4 William MacTaggart, The Ebbing Tide, 1970. Image courtesy of Lakeland Arts 5 Abbot Hall Gallery 1963 exhibition catalogue cover. Image courtesy of Lakeland Arts
6 John Maxwell, Corner Table, 1954. Image courtesy of The Fleming Collection 7 William Gillies, Still Life – Pots & Feathers © The Artist’s Estate. All Rights Reserved 2019/Bridgeman Images. Image courtesy of The Fleming Collection
Patrick Bourne & Co. 6 St James’s Place, London sw1a 1np +44 (0)20 3696 5285 email@example.com www.patrickbourne.com
Samuel John Peploe RSA 1871-1935 Paris Plage, c.1907 Oil on panel, signed on reverse 7 × 9 1/2 inches provenance Private Collection, France Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 25
THE MACKINNON COLLECTION Blake Milteer
Unknown maker A Lesson in Navigation (from the album, ‘Fishing in Cockenzie’), c.1880s, albumen print What’s striking to me about this photograph is both the familiarity and remoteness of the scene that’s captured. A young man is showing a model boat to a group of three young boys. Has he taken time out of his day to spend some quality time with them? Is one or more of them his son(s) or has the photographer gathered the group to pose specifically for him in the shadow of the ‘Happy Return’? We don’t know but what we can gather is that while these boys are not privileged in their ragged clothes and dirt-streaked faces, they are part of a community, playing and possibly working under the very shadow of boats and fishermen. It speaks of a time when children had to toil alongside adults to earn a living yet possibly there were rare moments like this one where children were allowed a chance just to be children – to play, to imagine, to wonder. Alice Heywood, Learning Officer (Digital), National Library of Scotland
Thomas Annan (1829–87) Close No. 37, High Street, 1868–71, albumen print
As the MacKinnon Collection is unveiled to the public in a series of exhibitions, curator Blake Milteer outlines the scope and importance of this major Scottish photography archive and, along with industry colleagues, selects some favourite images from its vaults The MacKinnon Collection of Scottish photography was jointly acquired in 2018 by the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland. This collection of over 14,000 historic photographs was originally amassed by collector Murray MacKinnon and represents Scottish life and identity from the 1840s through to the 1940s. The collection reveals a century of dramatic transformation, innovation and upheaval in Scotland and worldwide, covering the lives of Scots from humorous social interactions to horrific wartime confrontations. Scotland’s social history during this time is also inseparable from its leading role in the early development of photography itself. Many of the first practitioners and visionaries who propelled the medium forward and established international precedents were based in Scotland or were inspired by Scottish subjects.
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Starting in November, a pair of exhibitions in Edinburgh will introduce the MacKinnon Collection to a wider public: Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection is at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and At the Water’s Edge: Photographs from the MacKinnon Collection is hosted by the National Library of Scotland, both running until February 2020. A selection of photographs from the collection will then tour to three venues across Scotland in 2020–21. The collection’s greatest impact, however, will be over a much more extended duration. Itemised cataloguing and digitisation have begun with the goal of making the entire collection accessible online during 2021. As various forms of public engagement are deployed by NGS and the NLS, the meaning, context, and relevance of the MacKinnon Collection’s content will be continually renewed through public interaction and response.
Photographs: The MacKinnon Collection. The National Galleries of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland. Acquired jointly with assistance from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Scottish Government and the Art Fund.
Thomas Annan began documenting the narrow closes and wynds of Glasgow’s East End in 1868. Over the course of the next few years, he succeeded in the difficult task of making photographs in these cramped spaces, where only a small amount of daylight made its way into the lanes. It is likely that Annan was working with the city architect, John Carrick, to record the buildings before they were torn down as part of the City Improvement Act (1866). Despite the slum-like conditions, the residents were encouraged to maintain hygiene standards, as visible in this view, ‘Close No. 37 High Street’, where Annan captured the laundry hung like bunting between the buildings. Although anonymous, people populate Annan’s pictures: the ghost-like figures of children whose movement creates blurriness, the stoic presence of the women and the dark silhouettes of the men, are all reminders to the viewer that these slums are in fact home to many. Annan’s photographs were published in The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow (1878–79) first as carbon prints, and then later as photogravures in the 1900 edition of the album. The MacKinnon Collection holds all three versions, allowing a greater understanding of Annan and his social documentary legacy. Anne Lyden, Chief Curator, Photography, National Galleries of Scotland
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Horatio Ross (1801–1886) Woodland Scene, c.1860s, albumen print Unlike most other photographs made in the mid-19th century, Ross’s woodland scene lacks a central subject in favour of a composition evenly dispersed edge to edge. While many photographers would have emphasised the waterfall, Ross has resigned it to the periphery. This unusual choice presents an image upon which our 21st-century perceptions might assign creative ambiguity, even mystery. The photograph’s original context may provide clues to Ross’s intent. This image was not necessarily printed for public consumption; it is from an album Ross made for his wife, Miss Macrae of Inverinate. Perhaps this scene was familiar to her, or carried meaning shared only between themselves; either way, this brilliant image seems to have come from a deeply personal place. Blake Milteer, Curator, Photography (The MacKinnon Collection), National Galleries of Scotland
Alexander Wilson Hill (1867–1949) The Bridge, Summer, c.1920s, bromoil print A favourite image of mine is the Alexander Wilson Hill photograph of the children playing on the shoreline below the Forth Rail Bridge. Hill’s day job was a bank manager but he was a keen amateur photographer who specialised in the bromoil transfer process, whereby the silver image, contained in an original black and white print, was replaced by an ink image by way of several chemical processes. The end result is a grainy, blurred print which seems like a halfway point between a painting and a photograph. The dreamlike quality of the bromoil prints made them very popular with the pictorialist movement of the early 20th century. Hill continued to make them even when they fell out of fashion. At his best, his images are very cleverly composed, such as this one where the small figures in the foreground are juxtaposed with the giant, looming and iconic structure of the bridge, which appears to be shrouded in mist. Dr Graham Hogg, Curator (19th-Century Printed Collections and Photographs), National Library of Scotland Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection 16 November 2019–16 February 2020 Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD T: (0)131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org Open: Daily 10am–5pm
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At the Water’s Edge: Photographs from the MacKinnon Collection 15 November 2019–15 February 2020 National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW T: (0)131 623 3700 | nls.uk Open: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 9.30am–7pm, Wednesday 10am–7pm, Friday & Saturday 9.30am–5pm
When you think of cutting-edge contemporary art, rural Dumfriesshire is unlikely to be the first place that comes to mind. But arts organisation Cample Line is fast changing those perceptions from its remote country base ‘We started from an audience of zero in an area where our immediate local community, our first audience, is not – by and large – experienced with the kind of visual art and films that we show,’ says Cample Line’s director Tina Fiske, elaborating upon just how impressive it is that such a rurally located arts organisation has managed to establish a reputation during its three-year existence. The directions she outlines to the site of the old Cample Mill illustrate this sense of remoteness, even within the spacious countryside of Dumfriesshire; first make it to Dumfries, then travel 15 miles north to the village of Thornhill, then journey another two miles outside of the village to a single-track road which leads to the hamlet of Cample. ‘We’re surrounded by fields and immediately adjacent to us is a joinery firm, so we really are about as rurally located as you might hope to be,’ says Fiske. Cample Line itself is set within three former mill workers’ cottages, which were expanded to accommodate extra storeys in the Victorian era. Its stated ambition is to build ‘an international arts programme in our area . . . that takes an independent and distinctive approach in presenting thoughtprovoking contemporary arts of international scope for residents of the region and visitors from further afield.’ With that in mind, Cample Line has just launched an autumn programme which incorporates the group show From narrow provinces and a new film diptych by Rosalind Nashashibi which has previously been seen as part of Edinburgh Art Festival.
‘I worked at the University of Glasgow for a long time, I taught in the History of Art department,’ explains Fiske of the circumstances surrounding her founding of Cample Line. ‘I was commuting from Dumfries and Galloway to Glasgow, and that was fine; and then it became less fine, so I was looking for ways to withdraw from that situation. There’s something about this area which I don’t think I’ve encountered elsewhere in Scotland outside the central belt – an extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit which I think comes out of the agricultural community. ‘A lot of the farmers around here are very enterprising and deeply cultured people,’ she continues. ‘They recognise ideas and opportunities, and people are willing to get behind you and give something a go here. I don’t think I could have done something like Cample Line anywhere else, and although it shows work from far away, it’s a reflection of this place, of what is possible here.’ Despite the broad-reaching and often international flavour of the work shown, Fiske is proud of the fact that Cample Line – which is a charitable organisation with a board of eight trustees – employs a staff of four who live within a six-mile radius of their base; even Adam, the joiner across from them, hangs all the shows. ‘He just happens to have an extraordinary facility for it,’ she says, ‘and he built that [gallery] wall, so he knows what’s required. We don’t hold back on our ambition, but it’s a great local network which helps us do that.’ Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 29
Fresh from its appearance at Edinburgh Art Festival, Nashashibi’s two-part film work Where there is a joyous mood, there a comrade will appear to share a glass of wine / The moon nearly at the full. The team horse goes astray is inspired by the science fiction writer Ursula K Le Guin’s The Shobies’ Story, in which a crew travel through time using the power of the bond and story they create between themselves. Alongside this, an autumn series of film screenings including Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante (1934) and Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie (2015) will mirror the themes of Nashashibi’s work. ‘We use our film programme as a way to create points of entry into our visual arts programme,’ says Fiske, ‘as a means of supporting the artists, but also to create avenues into the art.’ The season’s other major exhibition is the group show From narrow provinces, which features five artists – Rana Begum, Ruth Laskey, Claire Barclay, Alison Turnbull and Aleana Egan – who work across various mediums; an exhibition which goes against Cample’s usual format of staging solo shows which the artist has been supported in creating. ‘This show seemed like a really interesting way to end our first three years, and to look forward to the next three,’ says Fiske. ‘It’s about beginning to create connections with artists we’re interested in, who sit across a range of disciplines. It’s a show of work which primarily reaches towards abstraction, where the artists select everyday materials and process is really important to what they do.’
This year’s audience has exceeded that of last year, and Fiske reports that people have come from Glasgow, Carlisle and Manchester to take in the programme, although Cample Line’s local engagement work with schools, with young people and with educational workshops is at least as important to the future of the organisation as being a destination venue. ‘We began with the view that we would probably be building our audience one person at a time, but actually we’ve come to view our location as an asset rather than a challenge,’ she says. ‘We’ve flipped it around, and now where we are is a real opportunity – what does the location bring to the work we show, how does it make a difference to see the work in that context? When people reach us, they’ve made an effort to get here and that’s important.’
As she takes centre stage in the sixth and final instalment of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s NOW exhibitions, Katie Paterson talks about the challenges of her ambitious century-long Future Library project and the the unexpected pleasure of bringing disparate works together in one show
3 1 Ruth Laskey, Twill Weave Grid (Permanent Violet/Ruby Red/Colbalt Blue/Primrose Yellow), 2015 Courtesy of the artist, Ratio 3 and Paulson Fontaine Press, San Francisco
2 Rosalind Nashashibi, Part One: where there is a joyous mood, there a comrade will appear to share a glass of wine, (video still), 2018, digital transfer from 16mm film. Courtesy of the artist 3 Cample Line exterior
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Cample Line Cample Mill, Thornhill, DG3 5HD T: (0)1848 331000 | campleline.org.uk Open: Thursday to Saturday 11am–5pm (until 14 December)
Katie Paterson’s universe is expanding. This is evident from ‘Future Library: a century unfolds’ (2019), the Glasgow-born cosmic explorer’s new 26-minute film commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland. The film provides the spiritual heart of the final edition of NOW, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s sextet of group-based exhibitions designed to show off the best of living artists working in Scotland’s creative diaspora. Paterson’s film documents the six years so far of Future Library, the artist’s epic century-long undertaking to bring together a new text a year by 100 different writers. They will be kept unread in Oslo, where a forest was planted in 2014 which will provide the paper for all 100 volumes to be published in 2114. The first writer to be commissioned was novelist Margaret Atwood, who appears in the film alongside Paterson and the other five authors. ‘We wanted to make the film for this show to bring Oslo here and bring the project here, because Future Library exists in many forms,’ Paterson explains. ‘There’s the forest, the room, the manuscripts, the authors, architects, librarians and so on, but it’s hard to get a grasp of all the different things that bring it together, so that’s one of the reasons why we made the new film for here.
‘It’s really documenting the whole thing so far, and taking a bit of a longer viewpoint on it, because year by year, we’ve been too involved to actually step back and think, here we are, the room’s opening and we’re really rolling with the project now. And for me to witness this – one year I’m pregnant, the next year I’ve had my baby, the next year he’s grown up, and of course, when I bring him this year, he’s going to be completely changed again – my life changes with that project. My whole family’s involved. I live my life alongside it, and it’s really nice to witness those changes in the film.’ The final NOW also features satellites of work by Darren Almond, Shona Macnaughton and Lucy Raven. It is Paterson’s creations from past, present and future, however, that form the centre of the show. This is the case from the Zen-like aspirations of the 18 texts selected from Paterson’s ‘Ideas’ (2015–ongoing), a series collected in her recently published book, A place that exists only in moonlight, and here arranged on the gallery corridor wall in spacey silver letters. In the exhibition’s final room, ‘The Cosmic Spectrum’ (2019) is a large spinning wheel which features all the colours of the universe since the dawn of its existence spinning in one continuous cycle. Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 31
NOW | Katie Paterson, Darren Almond, Shona Macnaughton and Lucy Raven Until 31 May 2020 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR T: (0)131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org Open: Daily 10am–5pm
1 Katie Paterson, Totality, 2016 © Katie Paterson. Image courtesy of the Arts Council Collection
2 Katie Paterson, The Cosmic Spectrum, 2019 Photo © Manu Palomeque. Exhibition view Turner Contemporary, 2019. Supported by the Arts Council England
3 Katie Paterson, Light bulb to Simulate Moonlight, 2008 Photo © MJC
NOW brings together the different aspects of Paterson’s increasingly infinite universe. ‘Curating it and installing it, it is a bit like a constellation in a way,’ she says, ‘because you’re taking what for me have been very separate works to make, but they do all connect. Then, when you bring them physically together in the same space, they unify through the inter-connection of things. They do different things to each other, and unexpected things always happen. There are lots of relationships between time and the relationships between ourselves, each other and the wider universe.’ Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh
Ten other pieces similarly move through time, space and the sky at night. These include ‘Totality’ (2016), a disco mirror ball containing more than 10,000 images of solar eclipses that beams out across the room. The sound of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata permeates throughout the gallery by way of ‘Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon)’ (2007) in which a self-playing piano plays a version of Beethoven’s tune after it was beamed into space using Morse Code. The presence of ‘Future Library: a century unfolds’ is marked by an accompanying print of a certificate that entitles the National Galleries of Scotland to a complete set of the texts that result from the project, once they are published in 2114. ‘Even though it’s year six of Future Library, it’s still the beginning,’ Paterson points out. ‘We’ve still got another 94 years to go, so it’s a project that will outlive me, and will outlive everybody I know, except hopefully not the really young generation. Future Library is one of the biggest artworks I’ve ever worked on, and possibly ever will, because it goes on and on and on throughout my whole lifetime, and it’s got all these different elements. When you’re in the forest it’s one thing, when you’re in the library it’s another, and watching a documentary film about it is another thing, but it does bring you closer to it and brings you into this essence of what’s going on, which is all related to time and space and light.’ The week before the opening of NOW, Paterson flew to Frankfurt, where she shared a stage with Margaret Atwood to announce the name of this year’s Future Library author, Karl Ove Knausgard, the controversial author of My Struggle, a forensic sixvolume warts-and-all dissection of his own life, published between 2009 and 2011. ‘It’s a big deal,’ Paterson says, ‘because it’s the year we’re opening a whole new library in Oslo, and he’s the first Norwegian author.’
David Young Cameron (1865–1945), The Peaks of Arran c.1925, watercolour on paper.
Sir David Young Cameron was a man of considerable importance and influence in British art circles in the 1920s and 30s. His works attracted critical acclaim and were acquired by many public art galleries in Britain and abroad, but sadly the majority are today hidden in storerooms As soon as I saw this small, moody watercolour in the Fleming Collection I felt drawn to it because it has the familiar look of having been painted from a high spot among mountains, and also because of its eccentric and dynamic composition. It packs a punch due to a symmetrical movement both upwards – nearly touching the top of the picture – and downwards, almost to the base of the rectangle, forming a vertical mirror-like inversion between a dark mass against a light sky and a dark space against a light mass, giving it a strong abstract presence from the start. For me, this painting derives much of its authority and subtlety from the way the outline of the two silhouetted peaks is as a result of the form and structure within the shape of the mountains, rather than from any presumption of how their outlines might look.
The sketchy, slightly cubist-seeming foreground does just enough to sustain belief in its solidity without outshining the peaks, and the final piece of understated brilliance is that emerging evening mist slipping in between the two mountains. This small painting keeps your attention. Julian Cooper is a third generation artist who was born, lives and works in the Lake District. He studied at Goldsmiths College in the 1960s where American abstract and colour field painting were a major influence. His more recent work has been concerned with finding a relevant contemporary language for painting mountains and rock, especially the mountains of the Himalayas. His work can be seen at the Art Space Gallery in London, artspacegallery.co.uk
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It seems that with every new edition of Scottish Art News, we open this feature with an exciting new acquisition for the National Galleries of Scotland’s (NGS) world-leading collection of surrealist art. This issue is no exception, with Dorothea Tanning’s (1910–2012) painting ‘Tableau Vivant’ (1954) acquired in August and now on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. An elliptical comment on power, love, the erotic, the humorous, the dream and the nightmare, ‘Tableau Vivant’ unites key moments in the artist’s life and career. It was a painting that Tanning held very dear and it was included in virtually every major show of her work, notably her solo shows in Brussels in 1967, Paris in 1974, and the Malmö Konsthall and Camden Art Centre in 1993. She kept it for the remainder of her life until 2012, when she died at the age of 101, nearly 60 years after painting it. Towards the end of her life, she specified it as one of a small number of works reserved only for sale to a museum. It was purchased through the Alison Jacques Gallery, London.
The NGS have also been fortunate to acquire ‘Bows’ by Frances MacNair, née MacDonald (1873–1921), one of the celebrated Glasgow School of Art ‘Four’ (completed by MacNair’s husband Herbert MacNair, her sister Margaret MacDonald and Margaret’s husband Charles Rennie Mackintosh). There are very few works by MacNair remaining; after her premature death in 1921, Herbert MacNair destroyed many. However, this watercolour demonstrates what a pioneering artist she was. While bows, flowers and other repeating motifs are often used to modestly obscure the female figure, here they accentuate the form. ‘Mackintosh is the most famous of the Glasgow School of Art Four, but the work of the MacDonald sisters was equally important in defining the Glasgow Style,’ explains Cordelia Bourne, director of Patrick Bourne & Co, the gallery that sold
RECENT ACQUISITIONS Scottish Art News highlights the latest acquisitions to enter Scottish collections
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7 the painting to the NGS. ‘Indeed, in many 5 While the city of Edinburgh Elsewhere in Glasgow, the city ways, they were even more radical than builds its collection of photography, The collection, managed by Glasgow Life, has their male colleagues, pushing mannerism Royal Scottish Academy has expanded acquired a memorial cup presented to to ever-more adventurous extremes and its collection of prints. Again, with the the family of Robert Findlay of Easterhill, exploring a fairytale imagery that plays help of the National Fund for Acquisitions, shortly after his death in 1802. Findlay with the emotions and places their work in the Academy has secured two key 20thwas an extremely successful tobacco the context of European symbolism.’ century prints; Sir David Young Cameron merchant in 18th-century Glasgow and RSA’s (1865–1945) ‘Ben Ledi’ (1911) and the scale and quality of the cup reflect the 3 Another coup for a national James McIntosh Patrick RSA’s (1907–98) wealth and status of the man it was made collection is the recent acquisition of an ‘Glencoe, The Three Sisters’ (1928). to commemorate. At the peak of Findlay’s articulated necklace by Dorothy Hogg – Curator Sandy Wood explains: ‘“Ben success, his firm Findlay, Hopkirk & Co internationally recognised as one of the Ledi” has long been regarded as one of were one of three companies responsible most important designer-jewellers of the Cameron’s finest plates. It is exquisitely for importing 90 percent of all American last 50 years – by the National Museum of rich in the velvety black of its fore and tobacco into the Clyde – then Britain’s Scotland. This silver necklace with a large middle grounds, but on closer inspection main tobacco port. As such, he exercised a labradorite disc is one of her earliest works. these apparently dense blocks reveal a great deal of economic influence over the Hogg has works in collections around the wealth of detail in the best manner of city and was undoubtedly involved with world but her roots are in Scotland; she the Dutch landscapes which so inspired the transatlantic slave trade. ‘There is a studied at Glasgow School of Art as well as him. Also intimately tied to Scotland is drive in Glasgow Museums to continue to the Royal College of Art and was Professor McIntosh Patrick’s “Glencoe, The Three engage with and overtly use the collection of Edinburgh College of Art’s Jewellery Sisters”. This beautiful print was created to explore, acknowledge and represent and Silversmithing Department for over when Patrick was still a student in Glasgow Glasgow’s history and involvement with 20 years. and, in being reversed into the subject the slave trade,’ explains curator Stella of a revered painting, acted as a catalyst Hook. ‘Objects such as this cup with 4 The City of Edinburgh has for his future success as a painter.’ Both direct connections are rare. There are few significantly boosted their photography these seminal works greatly enhance the material objects in the collection which we collection, purchasing 14 new works by collection and its representation of these know belonged to tobacco merchants – or contemporary Scottish photographers. two artists in print. their family as in this case – and as such, This major acquisition was inspired by the this cup offers many potential avenues for exhibition In Focus: Scottish Photography 6 The Hunterian have also grown future displays and research.’ at the City Art Centre in 2018. ‘The their print collection, and their significant research for that display highlighted some holding of works by Charles Meryon has 8 Stirling University is also important gaps,’ explains curator Peter expanded, with two new etchings; ‘Le petit confronting challenging subjects, with Black. ‘It seemed to us the right moment pont’ (1850) and ‘La morgue’ (1854) joining their current research and exhibitions to consider new additions, including the 26 already within Glasgow University’s programme focused on refugees and established Scottish-based photographers collection. Although an obscure figure migration. The exhibition programe not yet represented, as well as emerging for the modern museum visitor, Meryon Experiences of Exile has featured works talent.’ To help identify some younger was recognised in the early 1900s as one from the university’s permanent collection, photographers, they invited Ben Harman, of the greatest of all printmakers. His plus loans from artists who, at some point director of Stills, to advise. The city’s disciplined representation of architecture in their lives, were forced to leave their collection now includes works by Robin was an inspiration for many artists of the homes due to hardship or war, including Gillanders, David Eustace, Flannery etching revival in the period 1860–1930 Iman Tajik (read more page 8). Stirling O’Kafka and Kevin McCollum, purchased and Meryon was understood to be a great University’s recent acquisition of Will with over £18,000 in support from the figure in his own time. Hunterian curator Maclean’s work ‘Nova Scotia Sacrament’ National Fund for Acquisitions. Peter Black describes the series Eaux-fortes was purchased to support research around sur Paris (1850–1854), of which these newly the Highland Clearances. ‘Will’s art talks of acquired prints form a part, as ‘comparable the Highland Clearances and describes the to Canaletto’s Venetian etchings, or “gnawing emptiness that follows the loss of Tiepolo’s Capricci.’ place”,’ explains curator Jane Cameron.
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The West Highland Museum in Fort William has acquired a mid-18th century circular snuff box with enamel tartan decoration. The hidden double lid opens to reveal a finely enamelled portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in tartan jacket with Orders of the Garter and Thistle decorations, white cockade and blue bonnet. ‘Hidden portrait snuff boxes such as this are among the most iconic Jacobite works of art,’ explains curator Vanessa Martin, while auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, who sold the object, say the boxes are ‘rare in any form. This example is in particularly good condition and finely enamelled. The portrait is a variant of the famous Robert Strange example which likely date this piece to circa 1750.’ The West Highland Museum has been established as a ‘Jacobite museum’ since its inception in 1922. This piece will join many unique and unusual objects in the collection such as the Secret Portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie and one of the Prince’s teeth.
1 Dorothea Tanning, Tableau vivant (Living Picture), 1954. Pictures by Stewart Attwood. Purchased with assistance from the Henry and Sula Walton Fund and Art Fund 2 Frances MacDonald MacNair 1874–1921, Bows, Pencil and watercolour heightened with touches of bodycolour and with scratching out on vellum. Image courtesy of Patrick Bourne & Co 3 Dorothy Hogg, Articulated Necklace, 1969–70. Image courtesy of the National Museum of Scotland. Copyright: Stewart Attwood. Purchased with support from the Art Fund 4a Robin Gillanders (born 1952): seven silver gelatin prints, Ian’s Fleet, 2002 4b Suite of photographs by David Eustace (born 1961), Mar a Bha, 2018 4c Kevin McCollum (born 1975), Basement Series II , 2018. Purchased with assistance from the National Fund for Acquisitions 5a David Young Cameron RSA (1865–1945), Ben Ledi, etching and drypoint, 1911. Royal Scottish Academy collections. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions
5b James McIntosh Patrick RSA (1907– 1998), Glencoe, The Three Sisters, etching and drypoint, 1928. Royal Scottish Academy collections. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions
6a/b Charles Meryon, Le petit pont, 1850. Images courtesy of The Hunterian. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquistions
6b Charles Meryon, La morgue, 1854. Images courtesy of The Hunterian. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquistions
7 Memorial cup presented to the family of Robert Findlay © Glasgow Life 8 Will Maclean, Nova Scotia Sacrament, 2004. Image courtesy of Stirling University, purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions 9 Snuffbox with ‘hidden’ enamel portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, mid 18th century. Image courtesy of the West Highland Museum and acquired with the support of the National Fund for Acquisitions
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provenance. Another more anecdotal example from the same period, ‘The Open-Air Fête’ – featuring Fergusson’s lover, the artist Estelle Rice – sold for £118,750 to an English private collector along with a handful of fine Fergusson works on paper. Standout results from all periods of Scottish art represented in the sale included Archibald Thorburn’s ‘A Covey of Ptarmigan’ which scored an impressive £40,000; Joan Eardley’s intensely atmospheric ‘Cottages, Catterline’ which fetched £30,000 and a classic post-colourist Alberto Morrocco, ‘Still Life by the Sea’, summoning up summers past, sold for £24,000. But not all Scots painters have had such a cheery outlook as Morrocco – indeed as the early colourists have shown, the Scots have never flinched from engaging with the harsh truths of contemporary life. A searing group of works by John Bellany, largely dating from the 1970s and 80s, which engaged with his life-long preoccupation with mortality, fate and history, fetched mid to top estimates at £8000– £15,000. Bellany’s reputation has recently received validation from his massive fan, Damien Hirst, who exhibited early works from his own collection in his Newport Street Gallery. Bellany’s top price was £43,750 for ‘Chinatown’, an almost identical composition to one made famous as a poster on the London underground. Peter Howson, who came to prominence as one of the radical figurative painters in the 1980s known as the new Glasgow Boys and Girls, had an equally challenging group of work on offer. All of
James Knox reports on how the Scottish art market has fared this autumn Sotheby’s Scottish sale Flying in the face of the current economic and political uncertainties – which could be impacting on reluctant vendors as much as buyers – Sotheby’s dedicated Scottish sale on 15 September in London produced some promising results. Perhaps the earlier date, brought forward from November, also appealed to buyers re-energised after an auction-free summer. Of the 72 lots which went on the block, 57 found buyers, and the sale total (including fees) was £2.84m, neatly nudging high end pre-sale expectations of £1.64–£2.37m, which did not include fees. The Scottish market has long been defined by the success of the Colourists, all four of whom were well represented in the sale. But the day went to the two eldest of the quartet, SJ Peploe and JD Fergusson. The top lot was Peploe’s ‘Still Life with Roses’, a classic 1920s composition which fetched £300,000 (est: £150,000–£200,000; estimates do not include fees; final prices do). Its powerful geometry may have 38 | ART
been influenced by the painting on the verso, which was a tough cubist still life in muted tones, circa 1913, typical of Peploe’s fauve period that was deemed so radical by his Edinburgh dealer at the time that he stopped representing the artist. The juxtaposition of the recycled painting offered a fascinating insight into the trajectory of Peploe’s career. His 1920s mature colourist period was popular then and remains so today, providing a healthy return for the seller who had acquired the work at auction in 2011 for £140,000. Works by fellow colourist JD Fergusson also performed well. His grand 1910 female portrait, ‘La Force’, fetched mid-estimate at £100,000. One of his Rhythm series, steeped in the raw energy and sexuality of the fauves – notably that of Matisse and Van Dongen – it was a connoisseur’s picture. It had been included in the Scottish National Gallery’s 2013 solo exhibition, and a flurry of labels on the back – one written in Fergusson’s own hand – testified to its
which sold strongly, topped by his massive Glaswegian take on Hieronymus Bosch, which fetched £52,500; more than double the upper estimate. The works came from the collection of the late Robert Heller, who wrote the first monograph on Howson, and were acquired from Flowers Gallery. The head of Sotheby’s sale, Thomas Podd, said: ‘The market bubbles along – people are looking for freshness, quality and condition. The Peploe was the standout lot – and the Colourists overall did well. I was also really pleased with the contemporaries such as Peter Howson and John Bellany – and Joan Eardley continues to gather traction south of the border.’
‘The Scottish market has long been defined by the success of the Colourists, all four of whom were well represented in the sale. But the day went to the two eldest of the quartet, SJ Peploe and JD Fergusson’ 2
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£25,000 to a US-based collector who already owns his work. It was his first large painting for many years and by the end of the day we’d added a dozen small Cranston paintings, all at prices around £6000, and a second large painting is going before the committee of a major UK public collection in the coming weeks.’ Koppe Astner, the smallest of the three galleries, benefited this year from their move from the Focus section into the main body of the fair. ‘Frieze went well for us,’ said Kendall Koppe. ‘We successfully placed Charlotte Prodger’s latest work SAF05, which won the 2018 Turner Prize, with a prominent Scottish institution. SAF05 is currently showing at the Venice Biennale and will tour to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. GoMA Glasgow acquired the sister film Bridgit from us prior to Charlotte’s Turner Prize nomination.’ Summing up, Richard Ingleby spoke for many in the Scottish art trade generally: ‘Given the sorry state of the world, our expectations were low, but then keeping expectations low is always a sensible route to happiness . . . and in the end we were very pleased with how things went.’
Festive Edinburgh The Dundas Street dealers staged a series of eyecatching shows as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. The Fine Art Society’s Intimate – self-portraits and portraits by 20th-century Scottish masters – included a 1960s John Bellany lent by the Fleming Collection. At the neighbouring Scottish Gallery, one of Scotland’s most accomplished and inventive painters, the conceptualist Derrick Guild, showed works from his early ‘label’ series as well as a new installation, Ever After – a 40-piece display of dazzling miniatures quoting details (lips, eyes, noses, buttons, pearls) in the manner of portraitists such as Batoni, Skirving and Raeburn. Priced individually from around £1400, but sold in groups, only a handful remained unsold. At the beginning of October, the Scottish Gallery staged the first ever dealers’ show of the winner of the Fleming-Wyfold Art Bursary, Hannah Mooney. Numbering over 80 works, her powerful Irish landscapes and still lifes were – at the time of going to press – almost sold out, at prices from £550 to £2400. Managing director of the Scottish Gallery, Christine Jansen, said of the current market conditions: ‘We don’t feel glum about the market, we are definitely not complacent and are working very hard, but there is an overall feeling that somehow, more than ever, art matters.’ Another denizen of Edinburgh’s New Town dealers, Michelle Foster, artistic director of Open Eye Gallery, aded: ‘Our strongest sales this season have been to international collectors – from the US to Hong Kong – featuring work by long-established artists with a growing reputation abroad such as Barbara Rae, John Bellany and Alberto and Leon Morrocco. These buyers are in it for the long term and it takes time to match the right picture to the client. By contrast, emerging artists are having a harder time of it in the current market, but we do all we can to support new talent.’
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Frieze London In early October, more than 160 contemporary dealers from across the world gathered at Frieze London in its vast temporary space in Regent’s Park – and three of them were Scottish: the Ingleby Gallery from Edinburgh, and the Modern Institute and Koppe Astner from Glasgow. Anyone who is anyone in the art world has to be seen at the Wednesday private view as collectors and curators rush to their chosen dealers to snap up fresh work by favourite artists or promising work by new kids on the block. ‘It was almost too frantic in the opening hour,’ said Modern Institute founding director, Toby Webster. His elegantly curated stand centred on key elements from Martin Boyce’s 2009 Venice Biennale installation ‘No Reflection’ and featured major work by Martin Boyce, Jim Lambie and Duggie Fields, as well as artists from their international stable. The Ingleby Gallery’s Richard Ingleby experienced a similar mad rush at the onset. ‘Alison Watt’s new painting “South” sold – and indeed was shipped – at the very start of the fair to a German collector, keen to speed it home ahead of the Brexit muddle,’ said Ingleby. ‘By the end of the first hour, we had also sold all three of our Caroline Walker oil sketches at £5500 a piece – the first of a new body of work that the Dunfermline-born artist will be showing at the gallery next summer for the 2020 Edinburgh Art Festival – and Andy Cranston’s ‘Shining Path’ for
1 Samuel John Peploe, RSA, Still Life with Roses © Sotheby’s John Duncan Fergusson, RBA, La Force © The Fergusson Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council/Sotheby’s 3 Archibald Thorburn, A Covey of Ptarmigan © Sotheby’s 4 Derrick Guild, Ever After, 2018–2019. Image courtesy the Artist and The Scottish Gallery
5 Leon Morrocco RSA RGI, Passing Baziluzzo, Sicily, 2004. Oil on Canvas. Image courtesy the Artist and Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
6 Andrew Cranston, Shining path (Dumbarton rock), 2019. Photograph © John McKenzie. Image courtesy the Artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh 7 Hannah Mooney, Across the Lough Monochrome Study, 2017. Image courtesy the Artist and The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 8 Caroline Walker, Study for Making Fishcakes, late afternoon, December, 2019. Image courtesy the Artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh
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Linda McCartney Retrospective
The Italian Connection
1 Allan Ramsay, Katherine Hall of Dunglass, 1745. City Art Centre, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh.
1 Paul, Glasgow 1970
2 FCB Cadell, Interior – Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, 1911. (On long-term loan from a private collection)
2 Paul, Stella and James, Scotland, 1982 Images © Paul McCartney. Photographer: Linda McCartney
City Art Centre, Edinburgh Until 24 May 2020
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Until 12 January 2020 Linda McCartney became something of a household name thanks to her culinary endeavours – highly revolutionary for vegetarians, and not to be underestimated – but her career in photography is where her true legacy lies. This major retrospective exhibition demonstrates a multifaceted and accomplished practice, spanning traditional processes and experimental techniques such as cyanotype, platinum printing and colour Polaroid transfers, capturing a broad range of subject matter. There are photos of some of the most celebrated musicians of the 60s and 70s (the Beatles included, naturally), intimate glimpses into her private life, awe-inspiring landscapes and images of animals whose rights she championed so passionately. Many of her photographs are displayed in the form of high-quality, largescale prints, but the less polished Polaroid snapshots and contact sheets are some of the most striking images in the show. They offer an unfiltered insight into Linda’s 42 | ART
3 Edward Arthur Walton, Farmyard near Florence, 1921. City Art Centre, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh
personal life, with highlights being those of husband Paul on holiday in Jamaica, and the couple with their first child Mary. In contrast to her music photography – largely taken in black and white – the colour photos of Paul and the children are more lively, although the way she handles both subjects demonstrates her ability to generate a feeling of intimacy for the viewer. The McCartneys spent a lot of time in Scotland, and, rather aptly for the exhibition’s location, much of the family material in the show comes from time spent in nature at their farmhouse on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula, capturing playful moments with images such as ‘Mary, Paul and Heather’ (1970) and ‘Paul, Stella and James’ (1982). Nature and animals feature throughout the show, becoming the focal point of a small side room of their own where the beauty Linda saw in the natural world is captured by images such as ‘Lucky Spot in Daisy Field’ (1985). The animal imagery on one side of the room appears
in stark contrast to photographs of butcher shop windows like ‘Meat Market’ (1992) on the other wall; a clever play on her personal views. The retrospective at Kelvingrove, curated by Paul and daughters Mary and Stella, demonstrates that Linda’s various roles in the public eye as photographer and animal-rights activist – although evidently her two great passions in life – were unrivalled by her love for being a mother, wife and friend. A beautiful, moving exhibition. Arabella Bradley is a History of Art student at the University of Edinburgh Linda McCartney Retrospective Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG T: (0)141 276 9599 | glasgowlife.org.uk Open: Monday to Thursday & Saturday 10am–5pm, Friday & Sunday 11am–5pm
Scotland’s artistic connections to Italy are long and rich. Back in the mid-18th century, artists including Ramsay and Raeburn travelled there to study with Italian masters. Today, travelling scholarships continue to offer young artists opportunities to fall in love with La Bella Italia. It might be an obvious theme for a group exhibition in which to showcase work from the City Art Centre’s permanent collection, but the results are anything but predictable. The first painting in the show is Cadell’s interior of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. Italy was important for him, bringing about a shift into brighter colours and looser brushstrokes. It was important to Alan Davie, too. He saw abstract expressionism at the Venice Biennale for the first time and never looked back. Italy gave artists an opportunity to try new things. Elizabeth Blackadder painted bold, free-flowing Tuscan landscapes, inspired by the contemporary Italian painters of the 1950s. John Duncan, best known for his Celtic-mystic take on
pre-Raphaelitism, drew on elements of early Italian art in ‘Hymn to the Rose’. James Fairgrieve, now known for his hyper-realist still lifes, painted meticulous portraits of old Italian seadogs. There are drawings by Joan Eardley, who visited on a travelling scholarship in the 1940s, as vivid as if she had just sketched them, still creased from being carted around in her bag, and a glorious sun-bleached farmyard scene created by EA Walton in the closing months of his life. And there is further evidence of Stanley Cursiter’s brief, energetic pre-war brush with Italian futurism. Then there are Italians who made Scotland their home – Eduardo Paolozzi and Alberto Morrocco – and the others who made the opposite journey, such as Aleksander Zyw, a Pole who settled in Scotland before moving to Tuscany in his later years to paint and tend olive groves. It has to be said there are works here for which the Italian connection might
be a little tenuous. Charles Avery seems to be here largely because he took part in the Venice Biennale in 2007; Pollok Sinclair Nisbet wasn’t actually in Venice in 1875 when he painted ‘Waiting for the Morning Tide’, which might explain his grasp of the geography, but his capturing of the light on the lagoon is gorgeous. Allan Ramsay’s early portrait, ‘Katherine Hall of Dunglass’ was painted before he ever set foot in Italy, but is well worth seeing nonetheless. One could quibble but, in truth, we’re won over by then. Italy works like that. Pour yourself a glass of chianti and enjoy. Susan Mansfield is an arts journalist based in Scotland The Italian Connection 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 Scottish Art News | REVIEWS | 43
ransparency: Alberta Whittle T & Hardeep Pandhal David Pollock
Edinburgh Printmakers Until 5 January 2020 Autumn’s major exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers’ newly refurbished space in Fountainbridge bears a sense of both star quality and a firm base in enduringly political concerns. As the widely exhibited winner of the Margaret Tait Award 2018/19 and the recipient of a recent solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Barbados-born Alberta Whittle’s thoughtprovoking reflections on colonialism are compellingly individual; while Hardeep Pandhal’s work – which references his own background as a second-generation British Sikh from Birmingham – is similarly contemporary. Independent curators Mother Tongue have put together a packed and absorbing main-room exhibition for these Glasgow-based artists, and the only minor grumble would be that each deserves a separate space. In Whittle’s art there is much to digest – her films ‘What Sound Does the Black Atlantic Make?’ and ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ are companion pieces in that each has its roots in the Windrush scandal 44 | ART
of recent years, using clips of the MPs David Lammy and Diane Abbott alongside reflections upon the journey of Windrushera migrants and the transatlantic trade in Caribbean rum. The many thought-provoking intellectual links Whittle makes include the connection of the rubber boots formerly made in Edinburgh Printmakers’ new home to the Caribbean servicemen who wore them at war for Britain, and the rubber known as gutta-percha which shares its name with the Caribbean rubber catapult. The latter object is seen in two of her eye-catching sculptural pieces; both in the companion triptych to ‘What Sound Does the Black Atlantic Make?’, with its bright images of an artisan Caribbean comb, instrument and slingshot surrounded by die-cut acrylic frames; and hanging as part of ‘Hindsight is a luxury I can’t afford’. While Whittle’s pieces here are rich in vivid context surrounding the ideas of seafaring, trade and colonialism, and the raw historic and contemporary racial issues
at play in each, what is implied in Pandhal’s work requires more reading around the subject. This knowledge illuminates his very resonant intent in the Channel 4-commissioned short animation ‘BAME of Thrones (Trailer)’ and his ‘Happy Punjabi Gothic’ drawings. He uses styles found in graffiti and experimental animation to conflate the idea of the ‘thugee’ and the ‘thug’, respective bogeymen of colonial India and contemporary Middle England, whose fear is founded upon distinctly racial lines. David Pollock is an arts journalist based in Edinburgh Transparency: Alberta Whittle & Hardeep Pandhal Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle Mills, 1 Dundee Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9FP T: (0)131 557 2479 | edinburghprintmakers.co.uk Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10am–6pm
1 Hardeep Pandhal, Paranoid Picnic – The Phantom BAME - NAE-10 2 Still from Sorry not sorry, © Alberta Whittle 3 Alberta Whittle 2018, image courtesy of Edinburgh Printmakers 4 Hardeep Pandhal, Goonda Life, 2018. Image © Max Slaven
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1 Leroy Lamis, Construction 108, c.1965, coloured Perspex © Leroy Lamis/ VAGA at ARS, NY and DACS, London 2019. 2 Phillip Bruno 3 Masayuki Nagare (1923–2018), Bachi, 1974, red granite on black granite base © Nagare Foundation, Takamatsu City.
Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow Until 12 January 2020 If every picture tells a story, this first instalment of a major donation to the Hunterian by New York-based curator and collector Phillip A Bruno has anecdotes immortalised in every frame. For over 60 years, the Paris-born former co-director of the Staempfli and Marlborough galleries in New York has amassed a personal treasure trove of largely American contemporary artists, many of whom he’s curated in various shows. With his 90th birthday looming, Bruno has now brought some 74 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints to his second home in Glasgow. While only a quarter of the gifted works feature in this initial showcase, the selection becomes a trailer of sorts for those still in boxes waiting to be unwrapped. In the meantime, there are stories aplenty by Japanese artist Masayuki Nagare, who made works that sat beside the World Trade Centre, and whose granite sculpture, ‘Bachi’ (1974), now looks like an accidental survivor. Tom Otterness’s 46 | ART
‘Maquette for Crying Giant’ (2002) is a response to 9/11 that also sired a much bigger version that currently sits in Kansas. The oldest work on show is Jacques Villon’s George Braque-inspired aqua-tint, ‘Still Life’ (1923), which nestles next to the most recent, Alan Magee’s ‘Pebbles and Pencil’ (2006). In between, Jose Luis Cuevos’ ‘Portrait of David Siquerios’ (1953) captures the Mexican artist’s mentor, with Red Grooms’ ‘Portrait of Francis Bacon’ (1999) doing something similar. Joseph Glasco’s ‘Head’ (1956) is more abstract, while the watercolour sunbather in ‘Coney Island’ (1969) by David Levine, and the shadow-dancers at play in Bill Jacklin’s ‘Bathers, Coney Island’ (1991) show two sides of the same landscape. Vincent Desiderio moves things indoors into the anticipation-heavy scarlet room of ‘Study for Romance and Reunion’ (1991). More abstractions come in ‘Night Court’ (1954) by Lee Gatch, the collages of newspaper small ads in William Dole’s ‘Untitled’ (1970) and the Coleridge-inspired
‘Pleasure Dome’ (1952) by Robert Andrew Parker. In the centre of the room, Leroy Lamie’s light-box based ‘Construction 108’ (1965) beams out a voguishly plastic blue and green glow. Many of the works are etched with hand-written dedications to Bruno, while a small selection of ephemera includes a signed poster by Red Grooms, a ticket to Lust for Life and an Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup rosette and badge. All of which sums up a gift that is just part of the story of Bruno’s life in art. With so much more to come, it is a gift that looks set to keep on giving. Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh A Gift to Glasgow from New York: The Phillip A Bruno Collection 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 DIARY
A Gift to Glasgow from New York: The Phillip A Bruno Collection
From narrow provinces and Rosalind Nashashibi Cample Line, Dumfriesshire Until 14 December W: campleline.org.uk Group exhibition From narrow provinces focuses on five female artists from across the globe (Ruth Laskey, Aleana Egan, Rana Begum, Claire Barclay and Alison Turnbull), who each take distinct approaches to materials, colour and shapes, and blur the lines between the mediums of painting, textiles, sculpture and architecture. The gallery will also screen two films by Rosalind Nashashibi: Part One: Where there is a joyous mood, there a comrade will appear to share a glass of wine (2018), and Part Two: The moon nearly at the full. The team horse goes astray (2019). The latter – a new film – features the artist and her children, as well as close friends and sees them discuss ideas about space and time travel. An exciting opportunity to see a varied programme by all-female artists. Transparency: Alberta Whittle & Hardeep Pandhal Edinburgh Printmakers, Edinburgh Until 5 Jan 2020 W: edinburghprintmakers.co.uk A new commission by Edinburgh printmakers, guest curated by Mother Tongue, Transparency explores the architectural heritage of Castle Mills, the site which Edinburgh Printmakers now occupies. Having previously been a silk factory, brewery, and premises of the North British Rubber Company, the two Glasgow-based artists work
across print, moving image, drawing and installation to peel away the building’s historical layers, mirroring the physical layers of the printmaking process, to ultimately provide ‘transparency’ in regards to Scotland’s colonial past. A Gift to Glasgow from New York: The Phillip A Bruno Collection The Hunterian, Glasgow Until 12 January 2020 W: gla.ac.uk/hunterian Coinciding with the collector’s 90th birthday, the exhibition contains 75 gifted works from Philip A Bruno, including paintings, drawings and prints. During his 60-year-long career as a director at several contemporary art galleries in New York, Bruno obtained works by European and American West Coast artists, as well as socalled ‘primitive’ and Oceanic art. A truly varied mix. Oscar Murillo: Turner Prize Exhibition Turner Contemporary, Margate Until 12 January 2020 W: turnercontemporary.org Oscar Murillo has borrowed one of the Fleming Collection’s paintings, ‘Lochaber No More’ (1883) by John Watson Nicol for his installation at this year’s Turner Prize exhibition, titled ‘surge, (social cataracts)’ (2019). The work is a commentary on society’s short-sightedness when it comes to the socio-economic issues of migration. Watson’s painting – an iconic image of the Highland Clearances – serves as a reminder of the historical problem in Britain
of ‘othering’ certain groups in society, which is often seen as a more contemporary issue associated with global migration. Linda McCartney Retrospective Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Until 12 January 2020 W: glasgowlife.org.uk Curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, this retrospective details the life and work of Linda McCartney as photographer, mother, wife, animal-rights activist and friend to many. A heartwarming and sizeable collection of photographs from the beginning of her career as a music photographer in the 60s to more personal insights into family life on holidays in Scotland and beyond. A must-see. Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria Until 1 February 2020 W: abbothall.org.uk This exhibition features around 50 works by the Scottish Colourists, loaned from the Fleming Collection, including works by SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter, and FCB Cadell. In addition, works by artists including Anne Redpath, William George Gillies and Dorothy Johnstone will demonstrate the legacy and influence of the Scottish Colourists. The Fleming Collection is arguably the best Scottish Art News | THE DIARY | 47
private collection of Scottish art, making this a wonderful opportunity to see these esteemed works in person.
David Octavius Hill and Julia Margaret Cameron, among others, whose work is included in this vast collection.
knowbotiq: thulhu thu thu, before the sun harms you Timespan, Helmsdale Until 2 February 2020 W: timespan.org.uk thulhu thu thu, before the sun harms you is described as ‘stage one of a collaborative project’, dealing with themes including the Anthropocene, neocolonialism and ancestry. The project will see duo knowbotiq (Yvonne Wilhelm and Christian Huebler) produce an object from raffia fibres, which will then be moved around various sites in Scotland (including carbon sink bogs, a denuclearisation zone and a wind farm), guided by a series of sounds, songs and readings which have been created by various artists/activists/ musicians/poets in response to the politics of the Anthropocene age.
Lines from Scotland St Andrews Museum, St Andrews 9 November 2019–22 February 2020 Lines from Scotland is a celebration of three generations of Scottish painters, sculptors, textile designers, musicians and makers, all of whom challenge conventional means of drawing in their work. Including works by Elizabeth Blackadder, Andy Goldsworthy, Dorothy Hogg, David Shrigley and Inge Thomson, the notion of ‘line’ is explored in a multitude of ways. The exhibition will also visit Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries (7 March–10 May 2020) and Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries (16 May–25 July 2020).
Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh 16 November 2019– 16 February 2020 W: nationalgalleries.org Photographs from Murray MacKinnon’s collection map a century of rapid change in Scotland, from the 1840s to the 1940s, and serve as a document of everyday life. The photographic medium itself is deeply bound to Scottish history and identity, with many of its innovators hailing from Scotland, including William Henry Fox Talbot, 48 | ART
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Inspirational Journeys Granary Gallery, Berwickupon-Tweed Until 23 Feb 2020 W: berwickvisualarts.co.uk Edinburgh-born painter Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was one of the foremost members of the St Ives school, who collectively contributed to the development of Modernist British painting in the mid-tolate 20th century. Inspirational Journeys focuses on her travels around Europe over a 50-year period and the impact this had on her creative output, in order to demonstrate how cultural exchange is invaluable on both a personal and artistic level.
Mary Cameron: Life in Paint City Art Centre, Edinburgh 2 November 2019–15 March 2020 W: edinburghmuseums.org.uk/ venue/city-art-centre A retrospective of the Edinburgh-born artist Mary Cameron, who – like many female artists – has been largely overlooked within art history. Following a move to Madrid and later Seville, she devoted her artistic career to documenting Spanish life, culture and landscape; a stark contrast to that of her native home of 19th-century Scotland. The exhibition features more than 40 of her lesser-seen works, coupled with historic photographs and archival material. Glasgow International Various venues, Glasgow 24 April–10 May 2020 W: glasgowinternational.org The 2020 edition of Glasgow International is centered around the theme of ‘attention’, at a time when so many distractions plague our everyday lives. The festival aims to counter this, providing spaces where visitors can refocus through looking at and thinking about art. Over 60 new commissions and exhibitions make up the programme, across a wide range of participating venues throughout the city. Endangered: Why It Matters An Tobar, Tobermory 7 March–15 May 2020 W: comar.co.uk In this exhibition, printmaker Anna Raven and ceramicist Charlotte Mellis use a range of media – from film and sound to print and ceramics – to explore
the worryingly high possibility that we might lose certain insects and amphibians from today’s ecosystems. The Italian Connection City Art Centre, Edinburgh Until 24 May 2020 W: edinburghmuseums.org.uk/ venue/city-art-centre The Italian Connection celebrates exactly that: the creative links between Scotland and Italy which have existed for centuries. From Scottish artists such as Allan Ramsay who travelled to Italy for professional training to Italian immigrants who chose to make Scotland their home and have subsequently contributed to the rich artistic output of the country, as in the case of Eduardo Paolozzi, the exhibition demonstrates art’s ability to transcend geographical borders. NOW: Katie Paterson, Darren Almond, Shona Macnaughton and Lucy Raven Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), Edinburgh Until 31 May 2020 W: nationalgalleries.org The sixth and final iteration of the gallery’s NOW series explores time; a central theme to Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s work, in which she often collaborates with specialists from the scientific field to translate complex ideas about the cosmos, time and how humans fit into these phenomena. The other artists – Darren Almond, Shona Macnaughton and Lucy Raven – have been selected as their work shares Katie Paterson’s thematic interests.