SCOTTISH ART NEWS
SCOTTI SH A R T N EWS
Specialist art tours ISS U E 35
Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire KA18 2NJ www.dumfries-house.org.uk 01290 425 959
Take a tour of Ayrshire's Dumfries House, designed by Robert and John Adam, and discover one of the most complete collections of furniture from Thomas Chippendale's early Director period and the finest collection of Scottish rococo furniture in existence. Dumfries House, which is run by The Prince's Foundation, is also proud to display a group of paintings by Scottish masters on loan from the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation.
ISSUE 35 SUMMER 2022 £3
James Morrison Alberta Whittle Alan Davie
SCOTTISH ART NEWS
40 Recent Acquisitions Rachael Cloughton
42 Private View Frances Fowle
44 Art Market Susan Mansfield
Scottish Women Artists Charlotte Rostek
16 Into the Wild John Morrison 22 Alberta Whittle: deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory Kathryn Lloyd 26 Gaada: Plugging the gap Neil Cooper 28 Linkshouse: A New Home from Home for Artists on Orkney Neil Cooper 30 Alan Davie: Beginning of a far-off World Siobhan McLaughlin 34
New Arrivals Patrick Elliott
SCOTTISH ART NEWS
SC OT T IS H AR T NEWS ISS UE 3 5
www.dumfries-house.org.uk 01290 425 959
S U M M E R 2022
Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire KA18 2NJ
Cover Image Sekai Machache, Light Divine Sky 2, 2021. The Fleming Collection. ©️ Sekai Machache ISSUE 35 SUMMER 2022 £3
James Morrison Alberta Whittle Alan Davie
Scottish Art News The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation E: firstname.lastname@example.org For more information and postal address see www.flemingcollection.com Scottish Art News is published biannually by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, London.
8 True Colours Greg Thomas
gned by Robert and John Adam, ns of furniture from Thomas est collection of Scottish rococo
's Foundation, is also proud ers on loan from the
Director James Knox
47 Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life Patricia Allmer
Editor Rachael Cloughton
50 Katie Paterson: Requiem Greg Thomas 51 Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer Neil Cooper 53 John Patrick Byrne: A Big Adventure Greg Thomas
Diary Rocio Chillida
Editorial assistance Paul McLean, Gemma Batchelor 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: email@example.com
© Scottish Art News 2022. 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 35 / SUMMER 2022 DIREC TOR ’S NOTE
As a harbinger of a reinvigorated art world, the Fleming Collection has already staged two major exhibitions this year: Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, and A Window into Scottish Art at the Lightbox, Woking. As one reviewer put it: ‘the best collection of Scottish art has gone on the road’. The Lightbox show was co-curated with the Ingram Collection, which lent key post-war works from its outstanding holdings of 20th-century British art. Previously we joined forces with them and the Jerwood Collection in 2018 for a blockbuster show entitled Darkness into Light: The Emotional Power of Art at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield. Establishing long-term partnerships with public museums and galleries is key to our core goal of promoting Scottish art and creativity across the UK. Next year sees a return to Sheffield with our Scottish Colourist show opening at the Graves Gallery; while in October this year, we are returning to the University of Hull Art Collection, first visited with the Colourists in 2018. This forthcoming show offers the prequel to that story in the shape of The Glasgow Girls and Boys. The success of the museum without walls strategy is strengthened by our acquisitions policy which looks to fill historical and contemporary gaps in the collection. Never more so than with work by Scottish women artists which has seen recent acquisitions build on the remarkable legacy of earlier curators and
members of the Fleming family. From the collection’s genesis in 1968, they bought key artists in depth such as Joan Eardley, Anne Redpath and Elizabeth Blackadder. In addition, they secured early rarities by the likes of pioneer ‘Glasgow Girl’ Flora MacDonald Reid, whose ‘Fieldworkers’ is going on long-term loan to the new Scottish displays in the Scottish National Gallery.
‘Establishing long-term partnerships with public museums and galleries is key to our core goal of promoting Scottish art and creativity across the UK’
Two notable acquisitions this year reflect our priorities. ‘Two Painters in a Landscape (Margot and Joan)’ by Margot Sandeman (1922–2009), painted on Arran in 1960, is a lyrical celebration of Joan Eardley and Margot Sandeman’s intense creative bond forged when they met at Glasgow School of Art in 1940. This is also one of only a handful of portraits of Eardley, adding to the painting’s importance. The work was acquired from the artist’s family through the support of Glasgow dealer, Jill Gerber. The second acquisition is the suite of five stills by painter, film maker, photographer and performance artist Sekai Machache, whose work, as Greg Thomas explains (page 8), explores the duality of her Zimbabwean-Scottish roots. Within months of making the purchases, the works were on display at either the Sainsbury Centre or Lightbox. One of the themes in the Lightbox show was the openness of Scottish artists to the loss, displacement, despair and fortitude felt by refugees. This sensibility stretches back to the Highland Clearances as expressed in one of the Collection’s greatest works, Thomas Faed’s ‘The Last of the Clan’, which depicts those left behind in the clan’s now desolate glen.
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Displayed alongside it at the Lightbox show was Barry McGlashan's contemporary take on the same theme entitled ‘Painting in Defence of Migrants’. Although purchased before the invasion of Ukraine, it stands as a haunting allegory for the current plight of all refugees. This year, the Fleming Collection has been the beneficiary of a magnificent gift from the family of the late great James Morrison (1932–2020). ‘Arctic Mural’ is a sublime painting of awesome dimensions, measuring 6.12m long (over 20’) and up to 2.3m high (over 7’). Inspired by Morrison’s pioneering expeditions to Canada’s High Arctic in the 1990s, he based this spectacular topographical view on drawings and preliminary sketches made on his visit to Grise Fiord in August 1994. His son, John Morrison, in his article on page 16 describes the impact these expeditions had upon his father’s visual and mental map, awakening him to the already growing dangers of climate change and exploitation to the fragile icescapes and flows. ‘The High Arctic landscape’ he wrote’ is transcendental.’ So too is this painting – one of the most important, influential and beautiful to enter the collection. The generosity of the Morrison family reflects their belief that this work must be seen at a time of acute climate crisis and that the Fleming Collection with its campaigns of exhibitions and individual loans are a way of achieving this. I am also grateful to Christina Jansen of the Scottish Gallery for facilitating the gift. This edition of Scottish Art News reveals the dynamism of artists living and working in Scotland as well as the curatorial range of exhibitions, installations and community projects. The Highland Print Studio, supported by the Fleming Collection through the agency of Engage Scotland, has been working on a project with a group of school students from Fortrose Academy and Millburn Academy in Inverness. ‘The disruption of the pandemic had had a significant impact on many of them’ said director Alison McMenemy ‘but over the course of the first session they were printmaking non-stop!’ She added: ‘I believe that creativity is the right of everyone. Sometimes I’m embarrassed how elitist the art world is. I have always worked in a different way to engage people.’ No wonder the magic of the Highland Print Studio has had such a beneficial impact on its students. The power of art lives on.
James Knox would like to hear from curators of art galleries and museums as well as curators of appropriate public display spaces who could house James Morrison’s ‘Arctic Mural’ for possible exhibition, alongside related work on climate change. Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Margot Sandeman, Two Painters in a Landscape, 1960. The Fleming Collection. © The Sandeman Estate. Courtesy Gerber Fine Art 2 Barry McGlashan, Painting in Defence of Migrants, 2021. The Fleming Collection © The Artist
Both the Sainsbury Centre and Lightbox exhibitions run until 3 July James Knox is Director of the Fleming Collection Scottish Art News | DIRECTOR’S NOTE | 3
Fleming Collection News Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation Award Winner 2022: Rachel McClure The 2022 Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation Award, judged at the Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries 2022 exhibition, has been presented to Rachel McClure, a graduate of Moray School of Art, University of the Highlands and Islands. McClure’s ‘Lockdown 2020’ is an installation of ceramic, plaster and iron tiles, cast with words and symbols which capture her way of dealing with the pandemic. Taking walks in her home town of Elgin and the surrounding countryside to cope with significant family illness and the global upheaval, McClure noted – and later cast in ‘down-to-earth’ materials – instances of the everyday, often unseen and unnoticed, whether a snatch of birdsong, church bells or the sound of footsteps. James Knox, director of the Fleming Collection, said: ‘McClure’s personal experience of loss and endurance
during lockdown will resonate with many thousands of people. Her creation of small-scale, poetic works of art is a unique and ultimately positive response to a universal challenge of the pandemic.’ Rachel McClure added: ‘I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation award this year. It was a great surprise!’ McClure graduated from the Moray School of Art in 2020 with a First Class BA Hons in Fine Art (Textiles). Since then, she has worked in a variety of media and disciplines including psychogeography and mapping, a technique which owes a debt to Mark Boyle and Joan Hills, known for their mapping and casting of fragments of the Earth’s surface. Since graduation, McClure has been awarded the 2021 Grampian Hospital Arts Trust Exhibition Prize and, in the same year, a Creative Scotland Visual Artist and Craft Makers Award. She lives and works in Elgin. racheljmcclure.com
The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation presents award to emerging artist Becky Brewis The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation has awarded £1500 to Becky Brewis, an emerging talent in the Scottish art scene. To assist recent art graduates with overcoming the challenges experienced during the pandemic, the Foundation has awarded this special bursary to Brewis for her innovative textile work displayed at the Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Show 2021. Brewis graduated from ECA last year with a distinction in Contemporary Art Practice (MFA), having previously studied on the Drawing Year, a postgraduate diploma at the Royal Drawing School in London, graduating in 2016. ‘A brilliant draughtswoman, textile artist and film-maker, Dundee-based Brewis stands out as an original and highly trained talent,’ said James Knox, director of the Fleming Collection.
Speaking about her practice, Brewis explains she is ‘making works that occupy an explicitly feminine space between painting and sculpture, with untidy undersides and frayed edges on view’. These pieces incorporate fake nails, hairballs and false eyelashes alongside traditional embroidery materials, and she is currently in the process of developing this language of tactile provisional parts through ceramics. Her progression into ceramics is aided by her ongoing threemonth residency with the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW). ‘The award presents a real chance to experiment with materials and allows me to spend more time in the studio and in workshops, benefitting from the expertise of the technicians at ESW . . . I am hugely grateful to the Foundation for supporting my practice at this transitional moment, and it has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk about my work with James and Gemma [Batchelor, the Foundation’s collections and website manager].’ Brewis was also recently awarded the ECA Collections Purchase Prize, adding to her inclusion in the prestigious Dumfries House Collection and the Windsor Castle Royal Collection. Her work has been displayed in numerous national and international group exhibitions, including at the Jerwood Space, London; Immanence, Paris; Nunnery Gallery, London; Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh; Generator Projects, Dundee; Architekturzentrum Wien, Vienna; and Örö Island, Finland. In 2019, Cultureland, Amsterdam, hosted a solo show of her work, titled Firm is my hand but sweet my mind, the culmination of a residency with the organisation. beckybrewis.com
Lizzie Lilley presented with Emerging Scottish Artist of the Year Award In partnership with the Fleming Collection, Scotland House – a hub for Scottish government, business, and innovation in London – recently announced their second Emerging Scottish Artist of the Year Award which was presented to artist Lizzie Lilley, a graduate of Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen. Lilley's practice centres around a responsive process of slow abstraction of photographic imagery. Using colour and texture in an instinctual way, she transforms images of memories and historical events so that only the visual tension or calm remains apparent. The two artworks selected by Scotland House for public display in their premises as part of the award are ‘Kodak Safety Film (1979)’ and ‘Mourned by the World (1963)’, both new works painted earlier this year.
In its reference to social history, ‘Mourned by the World’ draws on the prevalent images of the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy, while also pulling from images of Jackie Kennedy, particularly in the colour choices. In this way, Lilley brings a variety of references into something otherwise apparently abstract. At an event to celebrate her award, Lilley, in conversation with Fleming Collection director James Knox, spoke about the encouragement of an art school tutor who suggested she might break away from figuration into the abstract, leading her to her current practice. Her work will be on display at Scotland House for the next year. The previous Emerging Scottish Artist of the Year Award was presented to Brandon Logan in 2020, an Orcadian artist and graduate of Edinburgh College of Art. The award was put on hold in 2021 due to the pandemic that kept Scotland House closed to the public. lizzielilley.com
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Scottish Art News | NEWS | 5
The Fleming Collection and Creative Scotland fund creative workshops for Highland students Engage Scotland's Art Evolution Project, funded by the Fleming Collection and Creative Scotland, has created access to four six-week-long programmes of creative activities with Highland Print Studio (HPS) in Inverness. Aimed at young people aged 16–25, 16 participants from across the region, including students from Millburn Academy in Inverness, Fortrose Academy on the Black Isle and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), have taken part so far. With the funding, HPS have also introduced a a trainee teaching assistant role, with artist Emma Grady supporting sessions alongside studio manager John McNaught. Describing the project, McNaught said: ‘The nice thing about printmaking is that people often say they can’t draw, but with most techniques it’s about mark-making with tools, not just a pencil. And there’s a technical side too; it brings together science and art.’ Along with working in HPS’ workshops exploring linocuts, etching and screenprinting, young people have also taken trips with the local countryside ranger to the Botanic Gardens and Ness Islands, exploring local history and nature. ‘We wanted to create an environment that wasn’t like school,’ says McNaught. ‘The young people got out and about . . . It was very relaxed and sociable; in the studios they worked alongside other artists . . . There were no definite aims, just a chance to create something. And when you feel relaxed you tend to create better art.’ The project is currently being evaluated by UHI Centre for Health Science and the fourth and final 6-week programme in the series is due to run at HPS this summer. highlandprintstudio.co.uk/projects
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Fleming Collection on Loan Works from the collection feature in major exhibitions across the UK Thomas Faed’s ‘The Last of the Clan’ (1865) has been loaned to Tate Britain and will be displayed in the gallery’s permanent collection. ‘The Last of the Clan’ is one of several works by Faed capturing the Highland Clearances and forced emigrations. The work was first shown at the Royal Academy in 1865. The accompanying catalogue entry at the time read: ‘When the steamer had slowly backed out, and John MacAlpine had thrown off the hawser, we began to feel that our once powerful clan was now represented by a feeble old man and his grand-daughter; who, together with some
outlying kith-and-kin, myself among the number, owned not a single blade of grass in the glen that was once all our own.’ Three artist’s self-portraits from the Fleming Collection – James Cowie’s ‘Self Portrait with Artist’s First Wife, Nancy’ (1923), Samuel John Peploe’s ‘Self Portrait’ (c.1920) and John Bellany’s ‘Self Portrait (John Among the Newcastle Brown)’ (1963) – have been loaned to the RWA in Bristol, featuring in the exhibition Me, Myself and I: Artist’s Self Portaits. The exhibition, curated by Tessa Jackson OBE, explores self-portraiture over the last 300 years and features over 80 works, including portraits by Joshua Reynolds, Tracey Emin and Sonia Boyce. Two further loans will appear in major artist retrospectives taking place in Edinburgh this summer: the collection’s mixed-media construction work by Will Maclean, ‘North West Passage / Arctic
Route,’ will be exhibited in Will Maclean: Points of Departure at the City Art Centre, while Alan Davie’s ‘Still Life Flowers on the Table’ (1946) will be presented at Dovecot Studios, in Beginning of a far-off world (read more about the exhibition on page 30).
‘The nice thing about printmaking is that people often say they can’t draw, but with most techniques it’s about mark making with tools, not just a pencil. And there’s a technical side too; it brings together science and art’
Email images of your entries to email@example.com More info at www.flemingcollection.com 4
Deadline for entry is 30th June
1 Rachel McClure, Lockdown (detail of installation at RSA New Contemporaries, February 2022), 2020. Photo Julie Howden 2 Becky Brewis, One Skin (display detail), 2021. Courtesy the Artist 3 Lizzie Lilley, Mourned by the World (1963), 2022 © The Artist 4/5 Engage Scotland, courtesy of Highland Print Studios 6 Thomas Faed, The Last of The Clan, 1865 © Fleming Collection
Be inspired by Scottish art 3 all discoverable online
Scottish Art News | NEWS | 7
Zimbabwean-Scottish artist Sekai Machache, whose photographs from her 2021 project Light/Deep Divine Sky have been acquired by the Fleming Collection, combines photography, performance, painting and film to weave healing narratives of origin, using the complex symbolism of colour. Greg Thomas surveys her work The Flow Country is a shimmering expanse of blanket bog in the far north of Scotland, a world of mirrored water and sky, purple and orange-hued peatland. As well as being an important carbon sink, it’s a spectacular location for photography. This is the territory to which Zimbabwean-Scottish artist Sekai Machache (b.1989) travelled to create her 2021 series The Divine Sky – a film with five accompanying stills – wearing ‘Blue of the Horizon’, an indigo marbled dress with trailing train, created in collaboration with artist and seamstress, Fiona Catherine Powell. The work traverses night and day, the artist positioned between pools of water, on tufted meadows of grass, in poses suggesting meditative alertness or ritual invocation. In some images, she appears draped in plumes of smoke. The indigo patterning of the robe – developed out of a process of automatic drawing or mark-making – seems to acquire symbolic potency in this setting, as if the garment represented a point of interchange or translation between the visual grammars of sea and sky. The relationship between these two tracts of blue is, in fact, a central metaphor within the work. The artist refers to ‘tracing the language of water’ through performance and gesture; as if dance and trance could transform the body into a vessel for travelling between the two realms, and in turn between different imaginative spaces.
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Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 9
Visually, Light/Deep Divine Sky is stunning, its rich blue colour palette – echoed in a series of studio-based works using a marbled disc and backcloth – typical of the artist’s engagement with a particular hue or tonal contrast for each of her projects. These colour schemes tend to be layered with cultural symbolism as well as being sensorily appealing, as the artist explained in an interview with Katherine Ka Yi Liu, who curated Machache’s 2020 show The Divine Sky (including earlier pieces from the same project) at Glasgow’s House for an Art Lover. ‘In . . . The Divine Sky, my selected colour is blue. I'm really interested in the ancient indigo dyeing processes across West Africa. There are 12 stages in the indigo dyeing process of Mali and the darkest blues that can be produced are called The Divine Sky.’ Writing about a later iteration of the show (Divine Sky, presented at Stills in Edinburgh in 2021), Machache described her colour scheme as also being a reference to Blue Willow chinaware, a familiar style of decorative crockery with origins in Tang Dynasty China but commodified and circulated endlessly in knock-off forms in the west. In Profound Divine Sky, the central film piece in Light/Deep Divine Sky, the artist carries a patterned blue vase of Blue Willow design, as if blue were a portal to histories of colonial trade, exploitation and cultural appropriation.
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As these complex symbologies suggest, Light/Deep Divine Sky resonates with a range of cultural concerns and arthistorical contexts, from Afro-Futurism to ecological breakdown, slavery, colonialism, and even the racial profile of rural Scotland: it is still a jolt to see minoritised bodies in landscapes like these. The voiceover that accompanies Profound Divine Sky brings many of these themes to the surface while also indicating the selfconscious mysticism of Machache’s storytelling: ‘the earth buzzes with a blue frequency channelled directly from Sirius, the black star portal that our ancestors travelled here through . . . We are in the process of healing ancient wounds, created by the original crime that set this world adrift. The red frequency that our planet has been emanating is being healed.’ The impression here is of trauma being worked through on a subliminal level, one that could be broached either in psychological or spiritual terms. The language is indicative of a new generation of creatives (poets, painters) for whom elements of folklore, animism and occultism have been embraced both as creative tools – in particular as points of access to supposed ancestral belief or kinship – and in defiance of enlightenment rationalism, with all its blind-spots and prejudices, many of them racial or gendered. Again, Machache’s interview with Ka Yi Liu
‘As these complex symbologies suggest, Light/Deep Divine Sky resonates with a range of cultural concerns and art-historical contexts, from Afro-Futurism to ecological breakdown, slavery, colonialism, and even the racial profile of rural Scotland’
provides illuminating context for the work that narratives such as the above are doing: ‘I think that we often subconsciously hold within us certain stories. These stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves become our “origin stories” which in turn often become our core beliefs that form an idea of who we are. I think that as artists we have the space to consciously create new narratives that can potentially catalyse a process of healing.’ The artist’s own story began in 1989 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Relocating to Scotland aged four, she graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee in 2012, but now lives and works in Glasgow. The photographer and filmmaker’s work has become more visible over the last few years through a series of residencies and solo shows, with Edinburgh Art Festival providing a multi-faceted platform during the summer of 2021. Divine Sky ran at Stills as part of their Projects 20 series, supporting emerging artists, while the film Hypnagogia Glossolalia was included in the Fringe of Colour Films showcase. Machache also appeared in the RESET programme, produced by artist Alberta Whittle for Jupiter Artland. This involved participation in Whittle’s multi-contributor film piece, with works exhibited alongside those of Whittle’s nine other ‘accomplices’ at the gallery and sculpture park. At Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow earlier in 2021, Machache collaborated with Kenyan artist Awuor Onyango on Body of Land: Ritual Manifestation, part of Glasgow International. For that show, a gloomy, sultry colour palette was favoured over the bright azure of The Divine Sky, with bodies dressed in red or daubed with white pigment emerging from pitch black backgrounds. At once potent and intangible presences, these figures were accompanied by a set of marbled ink drawings. Similarly, a set of blue ink drawings provided the basis for the visual patterning of the robe in The Divine Sky. The three ‘theme colours’ of that show – red white and black – ‘each .
. . represent[ed] an aspect of the self/soul’, as explained to Ka Yi Liu. ‘This is derived from a concept that you find in many cultures including the Luo tribe from western Kenya who believe that the human soul is split into three. This concept is comparable in my understanding to Freud's concept of the mind which is split into the id, ego and superego. Another example could be the three gunas in Hinduism. I try to find connections and/or similarities across cultures and describe them through my images.’ While Machache’s practice emerges from a sometimes esoteric philosophical space, it appeals first and foremost in sensory and emotional terms, transporting us to a place of beauty and mystery. These newly acquired works are a valuable contribution to the Fleming Collection, indicating the imaginative, spiritual and cultural breadth of Scottish art at the start of the 2020s. Greg Thomas is a critic and editor based in Glasgow Light/Deep Divine Sky is now being shown as part of the Fleming Collection's touring exhibition Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition, read more on pages 12–15
1 Sekai Machache, Deep Divine Sky 2, 2021. The Fleming Collection. ©️ Sekai Machache 2 Sekai Machache, Light Divine Sky 1, 2021. The Fleming Collection. ©️ Sekai Machache
Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 11
SCOTTISH WOMEN ARTISTS The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation’s new publication places women artists at the heart of the story of Scottish art. Author Charlotte Rostek reflects on the discoveries and challenges she encountered when compiling the book and why, when women artists are well established on the contemporary Scottish art scene and recognised internationally, this publication and the Foundation’s touring exhibition, Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition, remain necessary
Today women are a big part of our nation’s artistic identity. Names easily spring to mind, like Katie Paterson, Alberta Whittle and Christine Borland; leading Scottish women artists internationally recognised in the world of contemporary visual arts. Others from the recent past have become almost household names, such as Joan Eardley or Anne Redpath. But, further back, names like Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and the Glasgow Girls have only been popularised by a determined effort since the 1980s. My book – Scottish Women Artists – continues what we could call a retrospective corrective to the traditional, male-dominated story of Scotland’s art. This is not to inadvertently perpetuate prejudice through considering women separately, but to help make visible those often obscured, overlooked and forgotten through maledominated writing, a male dominated art market, legislation and educational disadvantages. Women have won the future; this is about winning the past. It’s exhilarating to see the growing popular interest as well as thriving scholarship in this field. Collaborative networks such as the Scottish Women and the Arts Research Network (SWARN), exhibitions and publications such as Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design 1880–1920, curated by Jude Burkhauser at Kelvingrove in 1990 and Modern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885–1965, curated by Alice Strang in 2016 for the National Galleries of Scotland, are all superb examples of how a re-focus can bring a very fresh and much more complete
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perspective to our understanding of Scottish art. I also see a dynamic symmetry between the ascendancy of contemporary Scottish women artists from the 1980s onwards and the steadily growing interest in historic female artists. They each feed off each other in a way that highlights the need for legacy and context to bring broader awareness to women’s artistic identity and their place in the artistic fabric of the nation. Writing this book has been a process of discovery. The analogy of looking up to a clear night sky came to mind – the longer you look the more stars you see and things aren’t at all as obvious as you might have thought at first glance. While maledomineered critical writing and history has ‘foregrounded’ men for the longest time, and a largely male-made educational system and society have relegated women to the shadows, there is much evidence that women in their time, and often against the odds, were incredibly active and exhibited with artworks sold at home and abroad. It was interesting to see that the process was so gradual: a good marker is that although Dorothy Carleton Smyth was appointed the first female director of Glasgow School of Art (GSA) in 1933, her unexpected death just before she could take up office meant that it was 1999 before a first woman was to occupy this important role. Yet it is worth spelling out that there have been very positive male characters operating within the context of systemic inequality. I found it reassuring to see leading male characters who have been pivotal in supporting and promoting female artists, not because they were women but because they were good artists. A few make an appearance in the book including Peter ‘Abbe’ Grant who helped Katharine Read to obtain commissions from the Italian nobility; Francis Newbery, who alongside his wife Jessie, revolutionised GSA into one of the most progressive coeducational institutions; right up to the Fleming Collection itself which collected Scottish work by women from the 1960s onwards.
‘Today women are a big part of our nation’s artistic identity. Names easily spring to mind, like Katie Paterson, Alberta Whittle and Christine Borland; leading Scottish women artists internationally recognised in the world of contemporary visual arts’
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 13
Selecting which artists to include in the book presented the greatest challenge. The brief was that 60% of the Scottish women artists should be represented in the Fleming Collection. Identifying the other 40% was dictated by the book’s overall purpose: to provide a broad overview for readers who do not necessarily know anything about Scottish women artists. There were many artists who I would have liked to include or expand on; in some cases they were at least given a name check, in others they will have to await a future project. I approached the project quite methodically, dividing my time into phases for research, writing, revision and editing. I created thematic folders and files for nearly 80 artists and pulled together the research in tables of data listing exhibitions, key works and artistic partnerships. My laptop was creaking under the weight of the material! The book was not meant to be a catalogue, but a story with a flow. Choosing to do this chronologically made me realise quickly that not all the artists could be packed into a straight line: there are cross-cutting connections which ignore the neat categories of style, geography, schools and, for example, artists with very long lives who continue to develop artistically reaching into our own time. Where do you place them? Another challenge was to switch off and move on. I had to be ruthlessly concise. If I were to revisit the book in, say, 20 years’ time, the acknowledged canon of female Scottish artists will have grown, and it might have changed too. As research in this field is ever more vigorous, we will be able to choose from an even greater pool. Art history is a story of survival; of those who have made it into the books, catalogues, private and public collections, public space and the internet. Through claiming the stage exclusively for Scottish women artists in the shape of books and exhibitions, and weaving a thread across the centuries, we are able to acknowledge a tradition, create context, and confirm their existence and enduring legacy.
1 Sainsbury Centre install. Images courtesy the Sainsbury Centre / Andy Crouch
2 Scottish Women Artists book cover, featuring Beatrice Huntington, The Cellist, c.1925
‘Through claiming the stage exclusively for Scottish women artists in the shape of books and exhibitions, and weaving a thread across the centuries, we are able to acknowledge a tradition, create context, and confirm their existence and enduring legacy’
Charlotte Rostek is an art and heritage curator, lecturer and writer, currently working as project consultant at Dalkeith Palace, Midlothian
3 Anne Forbes, Countess Margaret, Wife of the 6th Earl of Dumfries (17261803). Courtesy Dumfries House – part of The Prince’s Foundation 4 Christine Borland, To the Power of Twelve, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Patricia Fleming Gallery, Glasgow. Photo Keith Hunter 5 Rachel Maclean, Spite Your Face, 2017. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts for Scotland + Venice at the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2017
Scottish Women Artists was published by the Fleming-Wyfold Foundation in April 2022 and can be purchased online at scottish-gallery.co.uk/publications Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition Until 3 July The Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7T T: (0)1603 593199 | sainsburycentre.ac.uk Open: Tuesday to Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am–5pm 4
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Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 15
INTO THE WILD JOHN MORRISON
Arctic Mural, an epic work by the late Scottish landscape artist James Morrison (1932–2020), has been donated by his family to the Fleming Collection. His son, the art historian John Morrison, explains the genesis of the work and its importance to his father 16 | ART
In 1990, James Morrison travelled to Ellesmere Island to paint. At a latitude of 81° north, Ellesmere in the Canadian territory of
his painting diary that the light is so different from anything he had encountered before that it was difficult to get at the ‘general
Nunavut is the tenth largest island in the world yet contains only three settlements and has a permanent population of under 200 people. James camped and painted at Lake Hazen in the summer of 1990 and returned to the High Arctic on a further three occasions over the next six years. The first visit was almost exploratory and the paintings from 1990 are small in scale. There are concerns expressed in
values quickly enough to paint freely’. The early works there were, he felt, ‘all edges and storytelling’. It was, nevertheless, a hugely important experience for him and he was back in Ellesmere two years later, this time staying at Otto Fiord on the western coast. He knew more what to expect in 1992. He was able to bring larger 1.5m boards to paint on and produced less graphic, bolder paintings. Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 17
Back in Scotland, he hung all the work on the studio walls and embarked on a suite of very large paintings based on his Arctic experience and on the works completed in situ. The enormous scale, often 4m wide, was a response to the hugely powerful nature of the experience. Scale, colour range, light and above all the perceived implications for a human centred view of existence, were all radically different from anything he had done before. James’ paintings in Angus on the east coast of Scotland became increasingly concerned with environmental issues. He was painting a man-made landscape and it often gave strong evidence of destruction. In his words, ‘I became slowly interested in this but the whole thing was given real sharpness when I went to the Arctic. The Arctic brought it all together and I now look at landscape painting completely differently from the way I did in the past. I see it now invariably in environmental terms. I don't mean it makes me paint it in an obviously different way, because painting is painting, and social and political concerns are to my mind not directly related to landscape. But if you're the kind of person that does have these concerns, they will affect how you paint without you having to force the issue to make the heavy political point. So this concern goes beyond just environmental
‘Scale, colour range, light and above all the perceived implications for a human centred view of existence, were all radically different from anything he had done before’
considerations; it goes right to the root of what we're doing with the planet and I don't have an optimistic view of it. I think we are hell bent on destroying the planet. I simply do not see homo sapiens making the decisions, the self sacrificing decisions, to save the planet. I don't think that will happen. I think the planet will be run on to oblivion.’ Beyond the environment, the paintings prompted reflections too on the human condition. There were, he felt, other wholly unexpected elements about the Arctic. In an interview in 1997, he observed ‘if you go to the High Arctic that's really, really far north and you're into a landscape where there are no settlements, no people and there will be perhaps camps of only 10 people in complete isolation in a primeval landscape which has no signs of humanity in it. No paths, no roads, no huts, nothing. Humanity is completely irrelevant to the landscape. It doesn't care about humanity. You hear people say they're going to the Arctic for a holiday or whatever. They're going on a cruise ship up to Alaska and they're going to get off in wee rubber boats and look at polar bears. This is different. In the High Arctic, the landscape is transcendental. There's no question about it. I'm not religious in any way but there is a sense of some kind of spiritual thing. I don't know what it is in that landscape but everybody feels it.’ In August 1994, James again visited Ellesmere, choosing this time to stay first at the northernmost civilian settlement in Canada, Grise Fiord in the Arctic Cordillera mountain range, and then in north-west Greenland. As with the preceding visit, there are paintings from the month-long stay and images created back in the studio. This time, however, he was working towards an exhibition of his Arctic work to be mounted at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh University. It was for that exhibition that he painted a vast mural more than 6m wide and almost 3m high.
The shape of the painting and the subject were evolved in advance through working drawings and then a preliminary sketch. The mural was then painted in situ on the walls of the Talbot Rice Gallery over a two-week period in the run-up to the opening of the exhibition in April 1995. The gallery was open while the painting was underway for people to watch the work progressing. As was usual for the artist, the oil paint is applied heavily mixed with turpentine. It is very thin and runs freely down the surface unless controlled and moved around with brushes and rags. Large house painter’s brushes are extensively used in conjunction with smaller ‘flat hogs’. Still, gradually throughout the day, liquid paint would pool towards the bottom of the boards. A photograph shows James cleaning off the bottom of the painting with the assistance of his daughter Judith and her son Jamie in preparation for starting again the following morning. Following the run of the exhibition, the mural was exhibited once more, in 1996, at the Meffan Gallery in Angus. The painting was an important one to the artist. It was the culmination of his first three visits to the High Arctic and formed the centrepiece to the largest and most prestigious show of his Arctic paintings. The painter’s family wished to see the painting find a home in an appropriate collection. James had a long association with the Fleming Collection which owns many other works by him (a major retrospective exhibition of his work was held in the Collection’s galleries in 2015). It is with great delight that the family of the artist donate this mural to the Fleming Collection.
‘Beyond the environment, the paintings prompted reflections too on the human condition’ Dr John Morrison is an author and art historian. His new book, James Morrison: Land and Landscape, was published in May by Sansom and Co, sansomandcompany.co.uk James Morrison: A Celebration 1932–2020 6–25 June The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ T: (0)131 558 1200 | scottish-gallery.co.uk Open: Tuesday to Friday 11am–6pm, Saturday 11am–3pm (also Monday 6 June 11am–6pm, and until 8pm Thursday 9 June)
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1 James Morrison, Arctic Mural, 1995 © The Estate of the Artist 2 James Morrison painting in the arctic landscape 3 James Morrison working on Arctic Mural at Talbot Rice, 1995 4 James Morrison painting at Grise Fiord on Ellesmere island in August 1994 Images courtesy of the artist’s estate
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deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory KATHRYN LLOYD
Racism, colonialism and migration are among the uncomfortable truths tackled by Alberta Whittle’s latest work as she represents Scotland at this year’s Venice Biennale The ritual of libation is not one of consumption, but of expulsion – one in which liquid is poured out as an offering to deities, ancestral spirits or the dead. In Lagareh – The Last Born (2022), a 43-minute film by the Barbadian-Scottish artist Alberta Whittle (b.1980), this ceremony is performed early on, an opening act that similarly proffers the film and its watery contents to the viewer. By way of introduction, a text superimposed in yellow on a vast expanse of sea reads ‘Solariss prepares libations for Mami Wata to open the way’. Mami Wata is a water spirit venerated in West, Central and Southern Africa, as well as in the African diaspora, usually depicted as a female sea goddess and often entwined with a large formidable snake. Her symbolism changes across time and geography, variably representative of the dangers of oceanic depths, the transformative potential of water and the fight against enslavement. In the opening scenes of Lagareh, the performer Solariss Kantaris – a yellow python settled across her shoulders – carefully shakes liquid from a bottle of Jamaican golden rum onto the ground of the courtyard of Somerset House, London. Moving in tandem with a soundtrack of intensifying mbira music, she rhythmically picks up her bare feet, now soaked in rum, and places them back down on the stony ground. This ritual is indicative of Lagareh’s overarching themes, both in its materiality – a state of liquidity – and its specificity. As Eddie Chambers writes in his essay in the exhibition 1
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publication, ‘no product historically signifies Caribbean slavery more than rum’. More widely, Chambers also notes that Whittle continually makes reference to the colonialist legacies and narratives of migration that are carried by bodies of water: ‘In its oceanic visualising, water represents the accursed, nightmarish means by which captured Africans were transported in floated dungeons and torture chambers from Africa to the New World and beyond.’ Lagareh is the central element of Whittle’s exhibition at the 2022 Venice Biennale, which is installed across two spaces in a former boatyard. In the first, a series of metal sculptures, which resemble gates, shutters and fences, have been erected. Despite their apparent reference to closure or exclusion, Whittle’s structures are freestanding, spanning space but never creating divisions. Some have words of quiet instruction embedded in the bars: ‘Remember’, ‘(pause)’. Another holds a large tapestry, handwoven by makers at Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios: a plethora of snake-like limbs, tails and outstretched hands, embellished with glass trading beads, whaling rope and shells. The image has no beginning or end; it is a composite dependent on active collaboration, enmeshed with narratives of land and sea. The open-ended nature of Whittle’s sculptures is also reflected in the site-specific seating, which resembles punctuation marks. These objects
are key to Whittle’s repeated invitation to ‘slow down and pause’. Commas, exclamation marks, brackets, full stops – these are the breaks, breaths and ends of our thoughts made physical. As such, the environment that Whittle has created is designed for recuperation as much as confrontation. A handmade blanket sits on the comma-shaped sofa in front of Lagareh, ready for the shoulders of a viewer struggling with its revelations and retrievals. Trauma is introduced alongside possible modes of recovery. Lagareh is an episodic film that is structured around the days of the week. After libations are offered to Mami Wata on Monday, on Tuesday we meet a married couple – two Black womxn – who discuss their plans to raise a child together. Ama is lying down, her legs raised and propped in the lap of her partner, Ange, who caresses her feet. Whittle’s voice can be heard off-screen; the conversation between the three is intimate and unfeigned. As is typical of Whittle’s work, Lagareh navigates between personal and monumental stories, unravelling histories and their contemporary ramifications. She traverses time periods and continents, compiling footage of unmarked graves of African slaves, police violence and the ubiquity of surveillance cameras. Three seemingly disparate locations – Venice; Auchincruive Estate, South Ayrshire; and Bunce Island, Sierra Leone – are brought together through their involvement in the slave trade. And always, they are tied together by the ceaseless matter that physically connects them and afforded such complicity: water. Throughout the soundtrack of Lagareh, ‘the ancestors’ exhale, their breaths becoming indistinct from the noises of the ocean and the sound of growing winds. On Friday, like the storm, the film reaches its climax. As the music accumulates and the hurricane swells, so does Whittle’s enragement: ‘our mourning has gone on too long [ . . . ] premature death at the hands of the government must end’, ‘withdraw your consent to police power’. In the sudden quiet that follows the storm, this growing urgency is replaced by another: ‘Invest in love’. The interconnectedness that Whittle explores necessarily evidences the continued reality of colonialist structures. It also presents a commonality that reaches across historical and geographical divides. In Whittle’s telling, the ocean – like Mami Wata – is part treacherous and part transformative, acknowledging its past but offering an alternative future.
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1-2 Alberta Whittle, Lagareh – The Last Born, (film still – single channel video), 2022, Photographer Matthew Arthur Williams, © Alberta Whittle. Courtesy the artist, Scotland+Venice, and Forma 3 deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory, 2022. Installation shot photographer Cristiano Corte, © Alberta Whittle. Courtesy the artist, Scotland + Venice
Whittle is not an artist who shies away from instruction. Her practice is activist and, although it is nuanced, it is unambiguous. Her messages are direct and directly communicated: ‘Unlearn colonial narratives built on white supremacy’, ‘Surveillance and punishment are not the only options’. The last scenes of Lagareh are dedicated to those who have been killed at the hands of the police in the United Kingdom, including Sheku Bayoh who died after
Kathryn Lloyd is contemporary art editor at The Burlington Magazine and Burlington Contemporary Alberta Whittle: deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory Until 27 November Scotland + Venice, 59th Venice Biennale, Docks Cantieri Cucchini, Venice scotlandandvenice.com
being restrained in Kirkcaldy in 2015. Whittle’s breaths are long and deep as she readies herself to recall the names of those who have been lost: ‘I insist with you that we do read and think and listen and hear these names. These names we must recognise with love. The names keep growing and so with you, I feel these names in my throat.’ Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 25
Daniel Clark and Amy Gear reveal how they built a much-needed base for fellow artists to create and exhibit their work in Shetland
When Daniel Clark and Amy Gear decided they wanted to open their own arts space in Shetland, they saw their ambitions as filling a gap in terms of studio and workshop provision on the Scottish islands. When they took over a former Methodist church on Burra, they acknowledged that aim by calling the new centre Gaada, which in Shetland dialect means ‘gaps’, and is a word Gear heard growing up on the island of Yell. It also refers to a type of potato with holes that became Gaada’s logo. Clark and Gear founded Gaada in 2018 after meeting while studying printmaking at the Royal College of Art in London. After graduating, Clark initially took a job at RCA, while Gear moved home, where a lack of studio spaces on the islands prompted the pair to take matters into their own hands. ‘When I came home, I worked as a freelance artist, running workshops and things like that with no studio,’ Gear recalls. ‘There are no studios in Shetland, so it was quite hard work, and every time Daniel visited, we would look at all the abandoned buildings that we could find and we'd look in the windows and we eventually saw this empty church, up the road from where I was living. We contacted the Methodist church, and said we were looking for a studio, and would they be interested in renting it to us.’ The duo took the space over after Clark moved to Shetland, but at the time, there was no phone line in the building and initial renovations were done out of their own pocket. As the project progressed, it developed from the idea of just having their own studio into making it a more public resource. Set up as a notfor-profit Community Interest Company, Gaada now provides vital studio space and other facilities for Shetland’s artistic community, as well as hosting exhibitions and running workshops. With a strong community focus to Clark and Gear’s work as the centre’s co-directors, the last year has seen Gaada initiate Safeland, a wide-ranging programme that has included collaborations with primary school children, and an exhibition,
Throughout this summer, Gaada will host the second part of a collaborative exhibition by Shetland artist Elie Coutts and Glasgow-based Cameron Morgan, in association with Project Ability in Glasgow. The first instalment, Text-isles, ran at Project Ability’s Trongate base during March and April, with the second exhibition, Critters Creepers Crawlers, Sprouting Solitary Soarers, now showing at Gaada. Reflecting on the venture’s progress, Gear says: ‘We're getting to the point now where we have employees, which is wonderful, because of the volume of things that we need to do in Shetland, and the demand for what we do. We've got waiting lists, which is wonderful, but also horrible because we want to be able to reach everybody who asks to be reached.’ Gaada is now in the process of buying its current home, with ambitions to spread its net wider. Connections are being developed with arts organisations in Norway and there are also long-term plans to develop a purpose-built site for Gaada, designed in partnership with Turner Prize-winning collective, Assemble, with the church site retained as what Clark calls an incubation space for artists. ‘I don't want to get too conceptual about having a potato as a symbol,’ he says, ‘but when you plant a seed potato, it nourishes the soil around it, and there are loads of offshoots, and that's really how we think about Gaada. We don't want to be the only arts organisation here. We want to exist amongst a whole ecosystem of amazing creative projects and people, and if we can help that process along, that's great.’
Surface, Sound and Sign, by artist Brian Sinclair.
ZE2 9LD T: (0)1595 859539 | gaada.org Open: Entry by appointment
1 Cameron Morgan, Pigeon Flag 2 Gaada Tottie logo
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4 Elie Coutts, Skorie Flag
Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh Elie Coutts and Cameron Morgan: Critters Creepers Crawlers, Sprouting Solitary Soarers Until 31 July Gaada, Da Auld Methodist Kirk, Bridge End, Burra Isle, Shetland,
Images courtesy of the artists and Gaada
3 Gaada Workshop Open Day
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LINKSHOUSE: A NEW HOME FROM HOME FOR ARTISTS ON ORKNEY A new artists’ residency on Orkney aims to create connections and opportunities for local artists and those from further afield 3
When Linkshouse opens this summer as a new artistic hub on Orkney, it will mark the culmination of several different lives the grand house has lived over the last century. Based in the village of Birsay, on the north-west of Orkney’s Mainland, Linkshouse’s most recent incarnation was as the base of the Erlend Williamson Fellowship, a charity set up in honour of the artist who tragically died in 1996 in a climbing accident in Glencoe. Williamson had been a contemporary of artists including Ross Sinclair, Simon Starling and Mike Nelson. When Williamson’s parents, Barbara and Edgar, discovered the
exhibition and events programme and it holds a significant art collection donated by author, peace activist and philanthropist, Margaret Gardiner. Under the directorship of Neil Firth, the Pier Arts Centre duly picked up the mantle of Linkshouse in 2018. With investment from public bodies and a crowdfunding campaign, the house has been transformed into what is about to open as Linkshouse – Orkney Arts Residency. ‘It’s a big thing,’ says Firth of Linkshouse’s renovation, developed with Edinburgh-based architects, Studio Niro. ‘Philanthropy has always played a huge part in the Pier Arts
importance of Orkney in their son’s life and work, they set up the fellowship at Linkshouse in his honour with some of his peers and friends. One of the clauses in the Williamsons’ wills was that if the charity should close, then the property should pass into the care of the Pier Arts Centre, based 13 miles away in Stromness. For more than 40 years, the centre has run a year-round
Centre and now to see this happen, several generations on, allows us to develop a new base with a focus on practitioners. We’re still learning about how the building might work but we hope it becomes a landing strip for practitioners from elsewhere who are attracted here, as well as a bit of a launchpad for artists based on Orkney to connect up with networks [outside the islands].’
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1-4 Linkshouse 5 Frances Walker working on Rock Pool plate Orkney, 1983. Photo by John Cumming All images courtesy of Pier Arts Centre
‘With future partnerships featuring organisations such as the Royal Scottish Academy, Firth sees the redeveloped Linkshouse as a vital part of Orkney’s artistic life’
Linkshouse already has quite a history of welcoming artists and others to Orkney. The house was built in 1913 by local couple, Robert and Jane Comloquoy, who ran it as a guesthouse, naming it after the sandy links that stretch out to sea. In 1974, under owners Mr and Mrs Selwyn Hughes, Linkshouse was opened as the Orkney Field and Arts Centre, which hosted tours for groups interested in Orkney’s flora and fauna, as well as artists’ residencies from the likes of John Busby, Frances Walker and Allen Lawson. In 1976, Richard Demarco’s Edinburgh Arts programme brought students from Durham University to the centre, where they received a lecture by Orcadian historian Ernest W Marwick. Linkshouse continued as the Orkney Field and Arts Centre when the house was bought in 1980 by naturist and author Robin Noble and his wife Iona, with residencies continuing for several years before it was purchased by the Williamsons in 1999. Over almost two decades of the Erlend Williamson Fellowship, artists including Laura Mansfield and Mike Nelson spent time at Linkshouse. With future partnerships featuring organisations such as the Royal Scottish Academy, Firth sees the redeveloped Linkshouse as a vital part of Orkney’s artistic life. ‘Orkney’s an interesting place,’ he says. ‘It’s got lots of artistic activity going on, and that enables us to think about things, not just as a visual arts organisation, but to be able to utilise culture in a much broader sense. I see Linkshouse playing a big part of that, and a big part of the future of the Pier Arts Centre.’ Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh For more info on Linkshouse – Orkney Arts Residency, check out pierartscentre.com/linkshouse-1
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Alan Davie: Beginning of a far-off World ‘He wrote that images appeared to him in surprise moments when he was “enraptured beyond knowing”’
In 2020, Dovecot Studios planned a major exhibition of renowned Scottish artist Alan Davie (1920-2014) to coincide with the centenary of his birth. Two years on, and after multiple pandemic-related delays, audiences this summer are finally able to enjoy a carefully selected celebration of his eight decades of work, drawn from the collections of Davie’s friends and peers. The project was initiated in 2019 by Edinburgh College of Art graduate Siobhan McLaughlin, who studied painting in the very same studios where Davie trained. Here she shares some of her exhibition highlights and the curatorial decisions behind them 2
Beginning of a far-off World (1949) Monotype, 29 x 36cm The show takes its title from this 1949 monotype (pictured opposite). Titles were important to Davie’s practice, although he often said that they should not be taken literally. Instead, the poetic titles are his interpretations of the artworks after they are finished. His titles, like his work, often incorporate the energy of his other interests. As well as a painter, Davie was a jazz musician, accomplished classical celloist and pianist, poet and jewellery designer. Within staccato brush marks, he saw the rhythm of jazz music and within layered line and form he saw ritualistic actions, resulting in titles such as ‘Jazz by Moonlight’ and ‘Pagan Dance’. ‘Beginning of a far-off World’, with its gestural black lines, swirling
as if the world is in flux, articulates something about timelessness and spirituality. As if the paintings that Davie made across his life are just the beginning of the shamanistic journey he is on: a fitting way to open the celebration of his centenary.
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Still Life, Flowers on a Table (1946) and Cathedral (2008) Oil on board, 60 x 43cm and oil on board, 44 x 37cm Although Davie’s style evolved throughout his career, his work is most well known for its strong sense of abstraction combined with symbolic gesture. In a letter to the Tate Gallery in 1972, he wrote that images appeared to him in surprise moments when he was ‘enraptured beyond knowing’. Although it is true that Davie painted spontaneously while captivated by the painting process, it is also clear that his classic training at Edinburgh College of Art was of importance. This is particularly evident in ‘Still Life, Flowers on a Table’ (1946) which demonstrates that a strong foundation in drawing and composition allowed for greater freedom in abstraction and improvisation in his later works. Sixty years later in ‘Cathedral’ (2008), the same observation skills are present but Davie’s interest in drawing has developed to become looser and more energetic. Similar gestural drawings of buildings are also seen in the backgrounds of Davie’s later works.
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Homage to an Earth Goddess 2 (1992) Oil on canvas, 153 x 122cm There are six large oil paintings in the Homage to an Earth Goddess series, one of which we have in the exhibition. Central to this series is a motif taken from a book on African mud temples, which Davie regularly referenced. The graphic colour and line from the huts of the South African Ndebele community are clearly echoed in this series, combined with imagery from Mexican muralists and Jain cosmology diagrams. Davie’s fascination with non-Western cultures was not a fetishisation of the exotic ‘other’. Instead, Davie found a shared visual language that spanned across time. Discovering that symbols from 3000BC Venezuela were similarly found in Coptic textiles or Celtic tapestry confirmed to Davie the idea of universal connection. He did not see himself as a Western painter as such, but as an artist intuitively connected to the cosmic energy of the world.
Good Morning my Sweet (1968) Oil on canvas, 122 x 153cm Alongside his pursuits of driving fast cars, scuba diving and sailing, in 1960 Davie began gliding with fellow artist Peter Lanyon, declaring ‘I discovered that I could be a bird . . . How much more important than Art, just to be a bird.’ The exhilaration and freedom Davie felt from physically being immersed in nature is echoed in his paintings from this decade. Progressing from the dark and sombre works of the 50s, these paintings become joyous celebrations of colour and form. There is a glowing vitality in his gestures and a liberated sense of space in works like ‘Good Morning my Sweet’. The act of letting go, painting intuitively, was key to Davie’s aim for creating universal images. Expressing the fullness of human experience, this work evokes the romantic/erotic impulses prevalent throughout Davie’s work that give it universal appeal.
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‘There is a glowing vitality in his gestures and a liberated sense of space in works like “Good Morning my Sweet”’
Celtic Spirit II (2003) Tufted by Douglas Grierson and David Cochrane, 230 x 331cm In 2003, the vivid colour palette Davie developed in the 60s was combined with his long-standing interest in Celtic symbolism to produce a tufted rug design at Dovecot Studios. Collaborating with Dovecot’s weavers, ‘Celtic Spirit II’ was created on an immense scale and in bold, graphic colour and line. The composition evokes interlace, a decorative element found in medieval art, with the rectangular nature of the forms echoing carpet pages from illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells. Another recognisable symbol that appears frequently in Davie’s work is the ancient Egyptian ankh symbol (cross with a looped top). This small ‘key of life’ seen on the right side of the composition symbolises eternal life, perhaps used by Davie to connect his work to ancient traditions. This combination of a diverse range of ancient symbols, from Celtic interlacing to Druid crescent forms, with a highly contemporary colour palette, demonstrates the unique visual language Davie developed across his life.
Siobhan McLaughlin is an artist and freelance curator based in Glasgow
5 1 Alan Davie, Beginning of a far-off World, 1949
5 Alan Davie, Homage to an Earth Goddess 2, 1992
2 Alan Davie, Still Life, Flowers on a Table, 1946. Fleming Collection
6 Alan Davie, Celtic Spirit II, Tufted by Douglas Grierson and David Cochrane © Dovecot Studios
3 Alan Davie, Cathedral, 2008 4 Alan Davie, Good Morning my Sweet, 1968
All images courtesy of the Alan Davie Estate, managed by Alan Wheatley Fine Art
Alan Davie: Beginning of a far-off World 24 June–24 September Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT T: (0)131 550 3660 | dovecotstudios.com Open: Monday to Saturday 10am–5pm
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Patrick Elliott, chief curator of modern and contemporary art at National Galleries of Scotland, discusses the challenge of making new acquisitions with limited funds and takes us on a tour of new arrivals at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in the last five years
Funds are tight in all museums. And yet the remit enlarges constantly. There’s a big shift, rightly, across art galleries and museums, to collect and show a broader range of artists: more work by women artists, more diversity, more inclusion. And the ‘modern’ period expands with every passing day. When the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh first opened in 1960 its remit covered a 60-year period, from 1900–1960. Sixty-two years later, that period has more than doubled in length. Also, the definition of ‘art’ has expanded enormously since 1960 to include film, installation, performance, spoken word, all sorts. But new acquisitions are the lifeblood of any museum and change is always needed if we are to remain relevant. How do you square the need for change with limited funds? The answer can be found in the exhibition, New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville, which opened in November last year at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) and remains on show until February 2023. It occupies the whole of the ground floor of the gallery – all 12 rooms – and, with a couple of exceptions, is made up of acquisitions made in the past five years. There are about 100 works and each room forms a kind of mini exhibition. The spread is impressive, ranging from a rare watercolour by the ‘Glasgow Girl’ Frances MacNair to a rare early collage by Pablo Picasso and a film made by the American artist Amie Siegel over the lockdown period and finished just a couple of months ago. There’s Salvador Dalí’s famous ‘Lobster Telephone’, a major recent work by Bridget Riley, a room full of extraordinary works by Elisabeth Frink, rare monotypes by Naum Gabo, a landmark painting by Peter Doig (he regards it as his first major landscape), a Marc Chagall (the first in Scotland), a Toyen (the first in the UK), and a stunning Jenny Saville.
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How do you do that when there’s very little money? It’s down to friends and supporters and the tax system. More than half the new acquisitions were gifted and most of the ones we bought were acquired with grants. The Henry and Sula Walton Fund has been a game-changer for us. World-famous psychiatrists who lived in Edinburgh, Henry and Sula really believed in the redemptive power of art – that art could change lives for the better. They left us a substantial fund which has helped us buy world-class works by Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning, Gwen John, Picasso and many more. It was their fund that enabled us to buy the Jenny Saville. Their funding has often been matched by the marvellous, inestimable Art Fund, which contributed towards Dali’s ‘Lobster Telephone’, Leonora Carrington’s stunning ‘Portrait of Max Ernst’ and several other important acquisitions in recent years.
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Another avenue is tax. When an owner of a major artwork dies, their estate can, in certain circumstances, offer the artwork to a UK public gallery ‘in lieu’ of death duties. It’s called the Acceptance in Lieu scheme and it’s run by the Arts Council of England. This scheme has enabled us to acquire works that would ordinarily be well out of our reach (the Peter Doig and Chagall paintings mentioned above, for example). And there’s a related scheme, the Cultural Gifts Scheme, whereby owners of major works can give them to a museum, during their lifetime, and receive a reduction on their income tax. This has led to works by Damien Hirst, Fred Sandback and Naum Gabo entering the collection. Artists have gifted works (Bridget Riley, Raqib Shaw) and organisations such as the Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland, the American Friends of the National Galleries of Scotland, the Contemporary Art Society and Outset have helped us acquire other works. The exhibition is not fixed. We are changing some of the rooms every few months, so visitors will need to come back if they are to see the full range of our acquisitions. And we still have quite a few stunning acquisitions to unveil before the show closes next February.
1 ‘There’s a big shift, rightly, across art galleries and museums, to collect and show a broader range of artists: more work by women artists, more diversity, more inclusion. And the “modern” period expands with every passing day’
Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) Portrait of Max Ernst, c.1939 Purchased with assistance from the Henry and Sula Walton Fund and Art Fund, 2018 We have a world–famous collection of surrealist art, but had few works by the female surrealists, who played such a major part in the movement. This stellar work portrays Carrington’s then partner, the artist Max Ernst. The painting has temporarily left the New Arrivals show and can now be seen in a major show, Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity, at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Image © Estate of Leonora Carrington. All Rights Reserved. ARS, New York and DACS, London 2021. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland.
1 Elisabeth Frink (1930–1993), Desert Quartet III, 1989. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland. Provided to the National Galleries of Scotland inaccordance with the wishes of the artist’s late son, Lin Jammet, 2020 © The Executors of the Frink Estate and Archive. All Rights Reserved, DACS, London 20 2 Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973. Bouteille et Verre sur un Table (bottle and glass on a table), 1912. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland. Purchased (Henry and Sula Walton Fund) 2015.© Succession Picasso. DACS, London 2021 3 Alberta Whittle, Secreting Myths (magenta), 2019. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, © Alberta Whittle. All Rights Reserved. DACS, London 2021. © Alberta Whittle. All Rights Reserved. DACS, London 2021
Peter Doig (b.1959) At the Edge of Town, 1986–88 Offered by the Kennedy Doig family in loving memory of Bonnie Kennedy. Accepted in lieu of tax by HM Government and allocated to the National Galleries of Scotland in 2021 Doig was born in Edinburgh in 1959. This
Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012) Primitive Seating, 1982 Purchased with support from Alison Jacques, London, 2021 The National Galleries of Scotland purchased a major painting by Dorothea Tanning, ‘Tableau vivant’ (1954), from the Alison Jacques Gallery in 2019 (once more with support from the Walton Fund and Art Fund). Alison Jacques then very generously supported the acquisition of this rare and striking three-dimensional work in 2021. Image: National Galleries of Scotland
is a key early painting that grew out of a photograph that Doig took of a friend. It became his first landscape painting, in which nature comes alive, as if in sympathy with the melancholic mood of his friend. 3 Image © Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS, London 2021. National Galleries of Scotland
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Wangechi Mutu (b.1972) Histology of the Different Classes of Uterine Tumors, 2004–05 Purchased with assistance from the Heinz Fund and Art Fund, 2020
Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) Lobster Telephone, 1938 Purchased with assistance from the Henry and Sula Walton Fund and Art Fund, 2018 This is one of 11 telephones made by Dalí for his English patron, Edward James. The Edward James Foundation offered it at auction in London and it was sold to a collector abroad. Major works such as this have to go through an export license process and in this case UK museums were given the chance to match the price. Thanks to the Walton Fund and Art Fund, we were able to do this.
This landmark series of 12 collages is one of Mutu’s best-known works. Based on images taken from an old medical folio, overlaid with bits of fashion magazines and pornography, the collages explore themes of power and control. Image: National Galleries of Scotland © Wangechi Mutu
Image: National Galleries of Scotland © Edward James Foundation and Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, London, 2021
Jenny Saville (b.1970) Study for Branded, 1992 Purchased with assistance from the Henry and Sula Walton Fund, 2017 Saville was a star student at the Glasgow School of Art in the early 1990s. She quickly attracted a global following. This is, surprisingly, the first painting by Saville to enter a public collection in the UK. Image: National Galleries of Scotland © Jenny Saville. All Rights Reserved. DACS, London 2021
Marc Chagall (1887–1985) The Horse Rider, 1949–1953 From the collection of Andrew Stirling and Simonetta Stirling-Zanda, both of whom had a great fondness for the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government and allocated to the National Galleries of Scotland in 2020 This is the first work by Chagall to enter a public collection in Scotland. It came through the acceptance-in-lieu scheme; the credit line was specified by the offeror’s family.
Bridget Riley (b.1931) Intervals 2, 2019 Gift of the artist, 2020 Many of our new acquisitions connect to our exhibition programme. Artists, galleries and lenders will sometimes donate works at the time of the show. We organised a major retrospective of Bridget Riley’s work at the Royal Scottish Academy in 2019 (it travelled to the Hayward Gallery in London), where ‘Intervals 2’ was first shown. The artist generously gave us the painting when the London show closed. Image: National Galleries of Scotland © Bridget Riley, 2020. All Rights Reserved, Reproduced courtesy Bridget Riley Archive.
New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville Until 23 February 2023 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) 73 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DS T: (0)131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org Open: Daily 10am–5pm
Image: National Galleries of Scotland © Estate of Marc Chagall. All Rights Reserved. DACS, London 2021.
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Recent ACQUISITIONS Scottish Art News highlights the latest acquisitions to enter other Scottish collections 1
Edinburgh’s City Art Centre has acquired three digital prints by Rachel Maclean. ‘As an ex-Edinburgh College of Art graduate, we were keen to acquire something substantial for the City’s collection,’ says curator David Patterson, who first approached Maclean about an acquisition in 2019. ‘She had just opened her first exhibition in New York under the title Native Animals. The exhibition focused on the ongoing Brexit debate through a series of highly coloured, emotive images. At the time, none of the works had been sold to a public collection. It seemed the right moment, therefore, to consider a purchase.’ The three digital prints, ‘Green and Pleasant Land’, ‘Apparition’ and ‘Disunion’ (2019) were chosen in consultation with the artist. Two are currently exhibited in the City Art Centre’s exhibition Incoming: Recent Acquisitions at the City Art Centre, open until 28 May 2023. The Royal Scottish Academy’s diverse collecting policy is reflected in two recent acquisitions: Mungo Burton's 19th-century painting, ‘The Children of the Late George Waddell Esq of Balquhatstone and a Favourite Greyhound’ (c.1851) and a collection of Florentine drawings and paintings by 2018 Fleming-Wyfold Bursary winner Hannah Mooney. ‘Mungo Burton, an early Associate, was unrepresented in the 40 | ART
collections, which led us to purchase this fine portrait group using our designated acquisition fund,’ explains curator Sandy Wood. ‘In addition to actively purchasing for our collections, the RSA also receives deposits from emerging artists through the various scholarship and awards we administer. The John Kinross Scholarship has sent nearly 500 emerging artists and architects to Florence since 1981, and on their return they deposit work into the RSA collections. In 2021, Hannah Mooney deposited a group of eight beautifully composed Florentine drawings and paintings.’ 3
museum. The sculpture, ‘L’Implorante’, was created around the same time Claudel’s relationship with Rodin was coming to an end and he returned to his long-term partner, Rose Beuret. It shows a naked, young woman kneeling on rocky ground. The work will be shown in the inaugural exhibition of the museum’s newly designed Special Exhibition and Event space, opening late summer 2022. (Read more about the work on page 42). 5
West Dunbartonshire Council has purchased Joan Eardley’s oil painting ‘Tenements in the Snow’ (1953) for Clydebank Museum and Art Gallery. ‘It is a pivotal acquisition providing a key narrative which enables us to tell our visitors a more coherent story of the artist`s background and development,’ explains curator Trish Robins. ‘The urban setting of “Tenements in the Snow” is familiar to West Dunbartonshire audiences, as are the narratives of urban change and regeneration that underpin Eardley’s street scenes.’
Dundee Heritage Trust, which has responsibility for Discovery Point, home of RRS Discovery and Verdant Works, has purchased ‘Gaia’ by the environmental artist Luke Jerram. The seven-metre diameter globe installation is created from 120 dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. ‘We purchased the piece because of the respect and feel of awe for the planet which the viewer experiences when 6 looking at ‘Gaia’ . . . [which] will give Stirling University’s acquisition our visitors an understanding of the of three untitled works on paper by David importance of the scientific work which Shrigley fulfils a long-held ambition for the crew of the Discovery undertook, the the institution. ‘David Shrigley is an artist way it links to present-day climate change that we have wanted to acquire works research,’ says curator Mel Ruth Oakley. for the collection for many years,’ says ‘Gaia’ will be the feature object at the curator Sarah Bromage. ‘We considered Dome Gallery at Discovery Point, which 2021 an appropriate moment to acquire opens this this year following a major works by a contemporary artist whose £12m renovation project. distinctive drawing style and satirical commentary on everyday situations and The Burrell Collection has become the first public UK collection to acquire a work by sculptor Camille Claudel (1864–1943), the lover and close collaborator of Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), whose work is synonymous with the
1a Rachel Maclean, Green and Pleasant Land, 2019 1b Rachel Maclean, Apparition, 2019 1c Rachel Maclean, Disunion, 2019. Images courtesy of City Art Centre. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions
2a Mungo Burton ARSA (1799–1882), The Children of the Late George Waddell Esq of Balquhatstone and a Favourite Greyhound, c.1851. Purchased 2021 with a 100% grant from the National Fund for Acquisitions. Image courtesy of the RSA 2b Hannah Mooney, Image from Florentine. Deposited by the artist in 2021. Image courtesy of the RSA 1c
3 Luke Jerram, Gaia, 2019 © W5, Belfast. Image courtesy of Dundee Heritage Trust. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions
4 Camille Claudel, L’Implorante,1898 (France) © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collections Purchased with support from the Burrell Trustees, National Fund for Acquisitions, Art Fund and Henry Moore Foundation 5 Joan Eardley, Tenements in the Snow, 1958 © Estate of Joan Eardley. All Rights Reserved. DACS 2022. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions
6 David Shrigley, Untitled, 2019-20. Image courtesy of The University of Stirling. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions
human interactions reflects contemporary experiences of the pandemic in a quickwitted way’. The works will be on display in 2022–23 as part of the University’s Space & Place exhibition programme. 5
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Among the Burrell Trustees’ most enjoyable tasks is to buy new works for the collection. It is important for any new acquisition to reflect shipping tycoon Sir William Burrell’s own tastes, but also to be relevant to today’s audiences. The Burrell boasts an outstanding collection of 14 sculptures by Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), representing all aspects of his genius – from the poignant and symbolic realism of ‘She Who Was the Helmet Maker’s Once-Beautiful Wife’ (1885–7) to the sentimental tenderness of ‘Brother and Sister’ (1890). Such tenderness is rare in Rodin’s work, and he owed more than he acknowledged to his brilliantly talented student and lover Camille Claudel (1864–1943). It is therefore supremely fitting that among the Trustees’ most recent purchases is Claudel’s profoundly moving ‘L’Implorante (The Implorer)’. Claudel entered Rodin’s studio at the age of 17 and soon became his model, confidante and mistress. ‘L’Implorante’ was begun the year their love affair ended; it expresses in the simplest terms Camille’s intense grief and sense of abandonment, as well as the unbearable tensions that existed in their relationship. The kneeling figure was first modelled as part of a larger group, ‘L’Age Mûr (Maturity)’, which features a middle-aged man being led away by an older woman, generally acknowledged to represent Rose Beuret, Rodin’s lifelong companion and eventual wife.
As the Burrell Collection in Glasgow finally reopens after a major five-year revamp, senior trustee Professor Frances Fowle shines a light on a new acquisition by Camille Claudel, whose genius has often been overshadowed by that of her famous teacher and lover, Auguste Rodin
‘Above all, I realised that the intensity of her passion in her crouching and soaring figures stemmed from her own creative imagination and connection with the clay’ Camille Claudel, L’Implorante (1898) © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collections. Purchased with the aid of Sir William Burrell’s Trust, the National Fund for Acquisitions, the Art Fund and the Henry Moore Foundation
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I first discovered Claudel’s genius while studying in Paris in the late 1970s. The subject of my undergraduate dissertation was Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’, necessitating numerous visits to the Hôtel Biron in the Rue de Varenne. Although my focus was Rodin, I was enthralled by the few works by Claudel that I encountered there and intrigued by her ability to work imaginatively with different materials – mixing onyx and bronze, for example, in works such as ‘The Wave’. Above all, I realised that the intensity of her passion in her crouching and soaring figures stemmed from her own creative imagination and connection with the clay. Her most brilliant work is acknowledged to be ‘The Waltz’, a passionate and sensuous creation showing two dancing lovers locked in a tight embrace. By contrast, ‘L’Implorante’ represents the abandoned lover; it is not only a reflection of her own tragic story, but also symbolises an aspect of the human condition which has universal resonance. The critic Octave Mirbeau described Claudel as ‘a revolt against nature: a woman genius’. As a woman sculptor trying to forge a career in late 19th-century Paris, she lived constantly under the shadow of her master. In later life, she suffered from mental illness (diagnosed as schizophrenia), accusing Rodin of stealing her ideas and even plotting to murder her. She spent the last 30 years of her life in an asylum at Montfavet. Her career ended in obscurity, but in recent years her genius as a sculptor has been properly recognised. Her work is now represented in collections worldwide and in 2017 the Camille Claudel Museum opened at Nogent-surSeine. Nevertheless, ‘L’Implorante’ is the first work by Claudel to be bought by a UK museum; hopefully it will be the first of many. Frances Fowle is senior trustee of the Burrell Collection, Professor of Nineteenth-Century Art at the University of Edinburgh and senior curator of French Art at the National Galleries of Scotland The Burrell Collection Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, G43 1AT T: (0)141 287 2550 | burrellcollection.com Open: Monday to Thursday and Saturday 10am–5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am–5pm
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ART MARKET Susan Mansfield 44 | ART
The day sale saw paintings by Alan Davie, Craigie Aitchison, Anne Redpath and Elizabeth Blackadder firmly exceeding estimates, while less distinguished works by Eduardo Paolozzi and a more traditional early Peploe were disappointing. Strang says that, while traditional art had something of a resurgence in the darkest days of lockdown, the barometer of taste is now pointing firmly back to modern and contemporary art, including abstract art like the work of Edinburghbased Callum Innes, a painting by whom was a highlight of April’s contemporary sale. ‘There’s nothing nicer when you’re worried about where the world is going than a misty-looking Highland glen and some cows to calm the soul,’ says Strang. ‘But modern and contemporary art has been the zeitgeist for some time and remains so, from the Colourists to Howson, Bellany and beyond. Prints and multiples is a growing market and a great way for younger audiences to engage.’
As the art market emerges from the pandemic, galleries and auction houses continue to adapt to the challenges of a post-lockdown world
Of all the lessons we learned in the pandemic, one of the more surprising ones is this: global lockdowns are good for the art market. A cluster of factors – people spending more time at home and considering improvements, disposable cash which might have been spent on travel – led to a ‘mini boom’ in the buying of art and antiques. Lockdown meant everyone had plenty of time to absorb online content from galleries and get to grips with bidding in internet auctions. Galleries, dealers and auction houses all reported record results during the pandemic, the best of them during the periods of full lockdown. However, more than two years since the first lockdown began, the situation has changed. While some of the new habits acquired during the pandemic are here to stay, others are being sloughed off as ‘real life’ returns. Meantime, the post-pandemic world is presenting
buyers. Online sales have brought a resurgence of international buyers, particularly from North America. That momentum has brought a strong start to 2022, and managing director Gavin Strang is ebullient: ‘Things may be settling down a little bit, but we’re still seeing very strong results. Good quality examples of almost everything are seeing a lot of interest. Things which aren’t the best examples are a little sluggish, but the market remains very robust, particularly for the best items.’ The Scottish Colourists take some of the highest prices in Scottish art, and Lyon & Turnbull’s flagship Scottish Paintings and Sculpture sale in December saw Samuel Peploe’s ‘Roses and Fruit’ sell for £735,000. The six Peploes in the sale fetched a total of £1.17 million and there were also high prices for Francis Cadell, Anne Redpath and Joan Eardley.
different challenges. Edinburgh-based auction house Lyon & Turnbull was a pioneer of online sales in April 2020. The company has reported record results for the last two years, 2021 being their strongest year to date with sales of £26 million (88 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels) and a 15 per cent rise in new
Strang’s analysis of the market was borne out by the Modern British and Irish Art sales at Christies in March. In the evening sale, Peploe’s ‘White Roses’ sold for £441,000, while Cadell’s ‘Still Life with Tulips’ sent prices soaring up to £724,000. Meanwhile, ‘The Croquet Party’ by ‘Glasgow Boy’ John Lavery pushed expectations upwards, selling for £2.9million.
Perhaps what has changed most is the nature of the auctions themselves. ‘People come to view things, but often don’t stay for the sale. If they trust the technology, it’s easier to dial in via their mobile phone or their computer screen. As auctioneers, we’ve had to re-learn our craft and play to people who we can’t see.’ Meanwhile, in the gallery sector, dealers are pleased to be welcoming people back through the doors. For many, 2021 was a repeat of 2020: very successful online sales during lockdown, followed by a brief euphoric return to gallery visits in the summer, tailing off in the autumn with rumours of new Covid variants.
While many of the developments of lockdown are here to stay (weekly emails, 3D Matterport technology for online viewings, increased social media presence), galleries now face the challenge of doing these things in addition to everything they did before. Emily Walsh, managing director of Edinburgh and London-based gallery The Fine Art Society, says: ‘For the first time in two years, it feels like we are able to plan. We are now offering a full programme of events again and there is a real appetite for them. People are pleased to be out amongst other people and it’s so nice to walk into a gallery without an appointment. We want to remind people they can come in. As good as digital is, coming to look at pictures in the flesh is what it’s really about.’
‘While traditional art had something of a resurgence in the darkest days of lockdown, the barometer of taste is now pointing firmly back to modern and contemporary art’
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A few doors further down Dundas Street at The Scottish Gallery, managing director Christina Jansen has also had two good years. A particular highlight was the Joan Eardley Centenary exhibition in August 2021 which not only had a significant digital presence, it had visitors queueing up the street for socially distanced viewings, and resulted in a significant increase in Eardley prices for the gallery. As Covid recedes, Jansen sees other challenges on the horizon: the ongoing impact of Brexit, the war in Ukraine, fuel bills sky-rocketing and the long-term economic effects of the pandemic. These not only bring pressures on the gallery as a business – she says their fuel bills could treble – but are also likely to affect the art-buying public. ‘This is likely to be a tough year for everyone, with inflation, mortgage costs and fuel bills increasing. Maybe these are reasons not to invest in art. Covid is still with us, but, as a health crisis, it is not the number one priority any more; it’s more about the consequences globally and the impacts locally. ‘We knew it was going to be difficult coming out of Brexit and the pandemic has to be paid for. Now we are in a different phase. We need to play to our strengths and make sure we are looking after our artists. We’re in a strong position but we are prepared for what might be a bumpy ride.’
‘A particular highlight was the Joan Eardley Centenary exhibition in August 2021 which not only had a significant digital presence, it had visitors queueing up the street for socially distanced viewings, and resulted in a significant increase in Eardley prices for the gallery’
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Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life REVIEWS
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two), Edinburgh Until 2 October
1 Samuel John Peploe RSA, Roses and Fruit c.1920. Image courtesy of Lyon & Turnbull 2 John Lavery, The Croquet Party, 1890-93. Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images 3 Callum Innes. Payne Grey-Cobalt, 1995. Image © the artist 4 John Byrne, Ceci n'est pas un autoportrait, 2003. Image © the artist. Image courtesy of Lyon & Turnbull 5 Queue outside of the Scottish Gallery. Image courtesy of The Fine Art Society
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is currently staging the first major retrospective in Scotland of Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975), one of the most important artists of the 20th century. The exhibition, comprising over 120 works, takes viewers on an extraordinary journey which repeatedly demonstrates how inextricably interwoven are Hepworth’s art and life (the title of both the show and the accompanying substantial and beautifully illustrated publication from Thames & Hudson, by its curator Eleanor Clayton from the Hepworth Wakefield. As Clayton explains, Hepworth has been most widely known as an abstract sculptor, with people often regarding her work as ‘detached from the world’. In her lifetime, she was
with a wealth of materials including an extraordinary diversity of woods, stones and metals. The organisation of the exhibition demonstrates the tightness of her body of work; its multidirectional growth never loses focus, but sharpens over time. The first room introduces the insistent presence of three forms through sculptures made over four decades, which Hepworth called ‘the standing form (which is the translation of my feeling towards the human being standing in landscape); the two forms (which is the tender relationship of one living thing beside another); and the closed form, such as the oval, spherical or pierced form which translates for me the feeling of the embrace of living things, either in nature
totemic monuments. Space is dedicated to exploring Hepworth’s concern with the intimate bonds between mother and child (she gave birth to triplets in 1934), exploring works associated with pregnancy and motherhood – the swellings of a pregnant body, the soft, vulnerable contours of a child’s head. Another room shows abstract drawings made in 1939 at Carbis Bay, near St Ives, created against the background pressures of war, child-rearing and a scarcity of sculptural material. On the opposite wall, we see figurative ‘hospital drawings’ from 1948, whose genesis lay in the surgery one of Hepworth’s daughters underwent, showing medical teams preparing and performing operations, with a particular emphasis on the role of
criticised for being ‘cool and restrained’. The exhibition pulls at the seams of this conception of her work, unravelling an oeuvre saturated in human experience. Her art ranged widely across drawing, painting and sculpture, lithography, textile and stage design. She worked
or in the human spirit.’ From this room, visitors are led chronologically through these conceptions in different contexts – from their beginnings in early drawings and life classes, to displays of her larger sculptures, echoing pre-historic and
hands, their skilfulness and touch. These drawings surround abstract sculptures made during and immediately after the war years, such as ‘Wave’ (1943-4), a masterpiece from the Scottish National Galleries’ collection which will only be on show in Edinburgh due to its fragility. The Scottish Art News | REVIEWS | 47
repeated theme of wood and stone pierced by strings reflects the medical suturing in the drawings and emphasises biomorphic elements of Hepworth’s work. The solidity of stone and wood strangely evoke the softness, warmth and vulnerability of flesh, particularly in the fossil-like piece ‘Small Stone with Black Strings’ (1952), its pinkish alabaster stitched with string. This representational plasticity challenges straightforward distinctions between abstraction and figuration, reflecting back onto medicoethical considerations of the human body as subject and object. The string-pierced forms also resemble musical instruments, anticipating the exhibition’s exploration of the importance of music, dance and movement in Hepworth’s art in spaces dedicated to her stage designs for Electra in 1951 (including ‘Apollo’, a beautiful wire sculpture seemingly entangled with its own shadow), and her set and costumes for The Midsummer Marriage in 1955. The circular insists emblematically throughout this exhibition, offering spaces to look through or traces engraved on the surfaces of forms, imprinted in lithographs, or drawn and painted. Circles exert a continuous gravitational pull on the viewer’s eye, establishing lines of force linking Hepworth’s art and life with the historical and political contexts on which she drew. The final room cements
this centrality in the circular image of the moon, connecting her work with movements such as pop art, and affirming in lunar imagery her conception of the function of sculpture (and art more widely) in relation to human perception, a view which is central to this beautiful exhibition: ‘A sculpture might, and sculptures do, reside in emptiness; but nothing happens until the living human encounters the image. Then the magic occurs – the magic of scale and weight, form and texture, colour and movement, the encircling interplay and dance occurs between the object and the human sensibility.’ Patricia Allmer is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Edinburgh Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two) 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR T: (0)131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org Open: Daily 10am–5pm
‘Circles exert a continuous gravitational pull on the viewer’s eye, establishing lines of force linking Hepworth’s art and life with the historical and political contexts on which she drew’
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1 Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child, 1934. Purchased by Wakefield Corporation in 1951. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones 2 Barbara Hepworth, Genesis III, 1966. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones 3 Barbara Hepworth, Spring, 1966. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones 4 Barbara Hepworth, Tibia Graft, 1949. Image courtesy of Wakefield Permanent Art Collection, Purchased 1951
5 Barbara Hepworth, Sun Setting (from the Aegean Suite), 1971 6 Barbara Hepworth at work on the plaster for Single Form, January 1962, at the Morris Singer foundry. Photo: Morgan-Wells All image © Bowness, Hepworth Estate
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Katie Paterson: Requiem
Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer
1 Katie Paterson, Endling 2 Katie Paterson, Requiem Courtesy of the Artist and Ingleby Gallery
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh Until 11 June
V&A Dundee Until 4 September
Katie Paterson is an artist who invites us to imagine the impossible. Her works, often realised on a disarmingly domestic scale, have typically asked questions of life’s deepest origins in space, and the vast scales of time and distance that bookend our existence. Recently, her attention has seemingly been drawn to Earth, particularly the planet’s geological provenance and the responsibility we bear for non-human life at a time of epochal environmental damage. The origins of some of these themes can be found in ‘Fossil Necklace’ (2013), a necklace of tiny fossils representing major events in geological history. It was the artist’s storage of remnants from ‘Fossil Necklace’ in her basement that laid the seeds for this current show, Requiem, at Edinburgh’s
Stored in hand-blown glass vials on thin ledges around the edge of the gallery’s main space, each 21-gram pile of dust (the fabled weight of the human soul) will be poured into a transparent funeral urn over the course of the exhibition. As so often in Paterson’s practice, a topic of extraordinary breadth is compressed into an idea-based durational artwork that can be explained in a couple of sentences. This opening out of the horizons of conceptualism, so that the questions it poses are not of narrow significance to the artworld but of immediate and gripping relevance to us all, is the great gift of the artist’s oeuvre. In this case, an invitation to audience participation – each layer will be poured by a different gallery visitor; my own includes 2.87-billion-year-old sedimentary
The anthropocene layers, of course, make up a compendium of ruin. An accompanying newspaper-format booklet, narrated with great verve by paleobiologist Jan Zalasiewicz, steers us through zombie forest, piles of wildfire ash and microplastics, via a Chittagong ship-breaking yard and the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Three hundred and sixtyfour layers are offered in total: as if we had one day left in the annual cycle to mend the damage.
Ingleby Gallery. Working with a team of researchers and technicians, Paterson has sourced and ground into dust a plethora of geological deposits – 364 in all – representing every age of Earth’s history: from pre-solar (over 4.6 billion years ago) to anthropocene (1945–present).
rock from banded iron formations – might well enhance that sense of connection. Grasping a small cup of ancient dust, curved to suit the palm’s grip, the combination of intimacy and grandeur that has always defined Paterson’s work is realised on a new level.
Open: Wednesday to Saturday 11am–5pm
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Greg Thomas is a critic and editor based in Glasgow Katie Paterson: Requiem Ingleby Gallery 33 Barony Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6NX T: (0)131 556 4441 | inglebygallery.com
Michael Clark was still only in his midtwenties when he danced solo on Italian television to Marc Bolan’s 1971 song that gives this epic exhibition its title. In the footage, Clark moves slowly, swathed in a swishy yellow dress and black lipstick as Bolan sings over elegiac strings of how he danced himself ‘right out of the womb’. Broadcast in 1986, with Thatcher’s Britain in full pomp, Clark was already feted as a taboo-busting enfant terrible of contemporary dance. Thirty-six years on, and with Clark now in his 60th year, his performance looks as vulnerable and as heroic a show of strength as it ever did. It is the perfect curtain-raiser to what might be regarded as a sort-of prodigal’s return to Scotland for the Aberdeen-born polymath following the show’s London run at the Barbican, who
Atlas’ realigned footage captures Clark and his gang of lost boys and girls at work, rest and play, children of the revolution taking steps towards building their own brave new world. Pulsed by a narcotic mix of outrageousness and naughty fun as it is, beyond the bare bums, the up-all-night hedonism, the why-the-hell-notness and the sheer bloody two-fingered cheek of it all, there is serious artistry at play. Each room charts Clark’s creative connections, be it through Elizabeth Peyton’s understated portraits or extravagant costumes by performance artist Leigh Bowery, BodyMap and Stevie Stewart. There is the Proustian thrill of standing on the chessboard floor and giant Big Mac set of I Am Curious, Orange (1988), Clark’s ballet that put Mark E
Presented as an installation, the coruscating metal soundtrack evokes the black-box primitivism of a dive bar rock club, while the dancers on screen map out even more ancient rituals. Posters and programmes of Clark’s back-catalogue style him as the ultimate poster-boy pin-up. There are more TV interviews and performances, videos by Derek Jarman and footage of Clark as Caliban in Prospero’s Books (1991), Peter Greenaway’s arthouse reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. There are constructions made by Clark with Sarah Lucas, and a room of photographs of Clark by Wolfgang Tillmans. Edinburgh-born artist Peter Doig’s ‘Portrait (Corbusier)’ (2009), originally made for Clark’s production, come, been and gone (2009), is set against
initiated and curated the show. The first of 14 rooms is occupied by A Prune Twin (2020), Charles Atlas’ multiscreen mash-up of two films he made with Clark in the 1980s; the quasi-biographical Hail the New Puritan (1986), and the even more impressionistic Because We Must (1989).
Smith and The Fall onstage for a week at the King’s Theatre during the Edinburgh International Festival. A visceral bombast resonates from Sophie Fiennes’s film of current/ SEE (1998), set to a live score by Susan Stenger’s all-bass band, Big Bottom.
home movie footage of Clark’s dancers taking a walk across the rooftop of Cité Radieuse, Le Corbusier’s brutalist apartment block in Marseille. Above all, Cosmic Dancer reveals Clark as a collaborator and a catalyst. The array of designers, dancers, filmmakers, Scottish Art News | REVIEWS | 51
John Patrick Byrne: A Big Adventure ‘Above all, Cosmic Dancer reveals Clark as a collaborator and a catalyst’
1 John Byrne, Guitar with painted portrait of Gerry Rafferty Private Collection © John Byrne. All rights reserved. DACS 2022
photographers, composers and pop groups on show are effectively duetting with Clark as part of his extended ensemble. MC by initials, and master of ceremonies in everything that follows, Clark remains at its inspirational centre. Cosmic Dancer isn’t so much a retrospective, then, as a (self) portrait writ large; part living sculpture, part design for life, part choreographed chorus line of Total Art, formed from the explosion of ideas bursting forth from Clark’s personal and artistic evolution. This is what happens if you dance yourself right out of the womb. Check out the guy’s track record. Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh
2 John Byrne, Hands Up. Image courtesy of Andrew and Fiona Paterson © John Byrne. All rights reserved. DACS 2022.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Until 18 September
Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer V&A Dundee 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee, DD1 4EZ T: (0)1382 411 611 | vam.ac.uk Open: Wednesday to Monday 10am–5pm
1 Michael Clark Company in Duncan Campbell, It For Others, 2013. Image courtesy of the artist and Rodeo, London/Piraeus 2 Michael Clark & Company with The Fall in I Am Curious, Orange, 1988. Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. © Richard Haughton 3 Michael Clark in a publicity photography, 1986, © Richard Haughton 4 Michael Clark, Silke Otto Knapp, Group (Formation) 2020, courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/ New York and greengrassi, London 4
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This new exhibition of painting, drawing and sculpture by John Patrick Byrne (b.1940) displays in prominent position a 1968 quote from GW Lennox Paterson, deputy director of Glasgow School Art: ‘Byrne is unquestionably one of the most able painters we have seen in the past 20 years. He is something of a “chameleon”. We have had paintings by him ranging from Bonnard to Picasso which the masters themselves could not have failed to admire.’ The chameleon tag perhaps predicts a critical opinion that would grow up around Byrne’s work, and which curator Martin Craig wants to acknowledge and move past early on: that there may be an absence of depth behind Byrne’s impish and prodigious play of visual styles. An early vitrine of works produced at Glasgow School of Art from
artist’ moniker ‘Patrick’ have something of the huge fleshiness of Stanley Spencer, while strange interior scenes such as ‘Jock and the Tiger Cat’ (1968) riff on surrealist iconography. There are animal studies set in dark dreamlike forests, like ‘Owl’ (c.1968), which bring to mind Henri Rousseau, while in various self-portraits and landscapes the Fauves and Impressionists are emulated with equal glee and dexterity; so too, here and there, is the dapper fin-de-siecle atmospherics of Whistler. ‘Billy Connolly and Banjo’ (1974), indicative of Byrne’s artist-to-the-stars status, sits comfortably in the pop-realist zeitgeist of the Hockney era, but sketches of family members show a tender naturalism, such as ‘Celie’ (2010). Byrne’s status as an accomplished writer for stage and TV makes sense here. Ultimately, he is a masterful inhabitant
and his portraits of comedians and film stars, Byrne is an acolyte of pop culture and especially pop music. He came of age in the post-modernist paradigm of the 1960s–70s, when this was a new and laudatory subject matter for fine art; and when a chameleon-like feint across formal approaches was perhaps the whole point. Certainly, the viewer won’t leave bereft of a sense of warmth, humour or playful adventure.
1958–63 confirms the technical ability: nudes and seated groups are endowed with a living sinuousness that many artists who remain in a sombre, naturalistic approach would envy. But from there on in the show flits enjoyably between reference points. Early works signed off in Byrne’s ‘outsider
of character. The point applies both to his depiction of subject matter and his intuitive-seeming grasp of myriad compositional styles. Indeed, it’s perhaps in his thematic choices that a kind of unity emerges. With his commissions for album covers, painted banjos and guitars,
10am–5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am–5pm
Greg Thomas is a critic and editor based in Glasgow John Patrick Byrne: A Big Adventure Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG T: (0)141 276 9599 | glasgowlife.org.uk Open: Monday to Thursday and Saturday
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SCOTTISH ART NEWS DIARY 54 | ART
Abbas Akhavan: study for a garden Mount Stuart Until 2 October W: mountstuart.com Akhavan’s first solo exhibition in Scotland sees the IranianCanadian work on a sitespecific commission reversing the gardens and interiors of Mount Stuart. Throughout the exhibition, Akhavan explores his understanding of the domestic spheres as a struggle between hospitality and hostility.
Katie Paterson: Requiem Ingleby Gallery Until 11 June W: inglebygallery.com This important exhibition sees Paterson dealing with environmental anxiety in relation to human vs geological time. For the duration of the solo show, an urn is being filled with different particles that tell the story of the life (and death) of our planet.
Dundee Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer V&A Dundee Until 4 September W: vam.ac.uk/dundee Organised by Barbican, the exhibition revisits the groundbreaking choreographer’s shaping of 1990s subculture through his creativity in dance, design and music. A figure of international cross-disciplinary influence, the show explores the Scottish trailblazer’s different facets and collaborations.
James Morrison: A Celebration 1932–2020 The Scottish Gallery Until 25 June W: scottish-gallery.co.uk A major retrospective two years after the beloved Scottish artist’s passing. Includes material from the family archive and provides an intimate look into the landscape painter’s life and oeuvre, with a set of celebratory events running in parallel. John Byrne: Ceci n’est pas une Rétrospective The Fine Art Society Until 16 July W: thefineartsociety.com A retrospective of Paisley-born John Byrne RSA, bringing together important works from the artist’s career from the 1960s to the present. From his first exhibition while working in a Paisley carpet factory,
Will Maclean: Time and Tides The Fine Art Society 22 June–16 July W: thefineartsociety.com Concurrent with the retrospective of the artist at the City Art Centre, this exhibition will showcase a selection of works, from 1980 to 2008, of box construction art and the examination of found objects. John McLean: Flare The Fine Art Society 22 July–27 August W: thefineartsociety.com An exhibition of paintings by abstract artist John McLean (1939–2019). Colour, form and space are the core elements of his work. From the formal precision of his early work, to the free-flowing painterly expression he later developed, luminosity and rhythm run throughout. Lorna Robertson: thoughts, meals, days Ingleby Gallery 25 June–17 September W: inglebygallery.com Glasgow-based Lorna Robertson’s first solo show at Ingleby Gallery. Expect immersive and evocative paintings, densely packed with colour and figurative allusions.
Alan Davie: Beginning of a far-off World Dovecot Studios 24 June–24 September W: dovecotstudios.com Major centenary celebration of the life and work of Scottish artist, jazz musician and jeweller Alan Davie (1920–2014). Curated by University of Edinburgh graduate Siobhan McLaughlin, the exhibition displays works from each decade of Davie’s artistic life and provides a unique opportunity to view previously unexhibited works from the collections of Davie’s friends and peers. Daniel Silver Fruitmarket 11 June–25 September W: fruitmarket.co.uk Part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Fruitmarket brings to Scotland for the first time the work of acclaimed sculptor Daniel Silver, recently turned towards clay. The ceramic figures of all sizes, exhibited through The Fruitmarket’s galleries and warehouse space, speak of human connection, touch and intimacy, or the act of looking and being looked at. Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two) Until 2 October W: nationalgalleries.org The largest Hepworth survey to date, it features more than 120 works from the artist’s iconic modern sculptures to rarely seen paintings and drawings. The exhibition chronologically explores Hepworth’s personal history and interests, from dance and music to politics and science, and the way these shaped her practice.
Tracey Emin: I Lay Here for You Jupiter Artland Until 2 October W: jupiterartland.org The YBA’s largest exhibition in Scotland since 2008, the show takes over five galleries and includes new work. Part of the exhibition is the unveiling of the six-metre bronze sculpture ‘I Lay Here For You’, installed in an old-growth beech grove at Jupiter’s gardens. Will Maclean: Points of Departure City Art Centre 4 June–2 October W: edinburghmuseums.org.uk Also held as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, the show provides a meditative journey through Maclean’s deeply rooted universe and themes. Sculptures, drawings, found objects, videos and installation pieces all intricately weave a web of references to the artist’s long-time preoccupation with Highland people’s histories, the sea, and Scottish archaeology and architecture. National Treasure: The Scottish Modern Arts Association City Art Centre Until 16 October W: edinburghmuseums.org.uk A two-floor exhibition presents the collection of the Scottish Modern Arts Association, founded in Edinburgh in 1907 and now kept by the City Art Centre collection. A showcase of fine examples of Scottish art at the dawn of modernism, including the Scottish Colourists, Joan Eardley and John Duncan, presented as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.
A Taste for Impressionism: Modern French Art from Millet to Matisse Scottish National Gallery (Royal Scottish Academy) 30 July–13 November W: nationalgalleries.org Held at the RSA galleries, the exhibition tells the story of Scottish collectors and institutions’ love for the arts of the continent. Including beloved masterpieces from its impressive collection of modern French art, it also highlights the phenomenon of counterfeit within the market during the first half of the 20th century.
Glasgow Hornel: From Glasgow to Japan Pollok House Until 19 June W: nts.org.uk Pollok House has reopened its galleries with an exhibition of work by 'Glasgow Boy' EA Hornel, focusing on work produced after his trips to Japan at the turn of the century, and his relationship with photography. Some of the works featured are exhibited in Glasgow for the first time. Alex Hetherington + Scott Caruth Centre for Contemporary Arts 4 June–16 July W: cca-glasgow.com This two-person show features the work of Alex Hetherington, who works with 16mm film, writing and performance, and Scott Caruth, whose practice includes photography, bookmaking and writing, most of which focuses heavily on political and social issues.
Byrne's artistic output over six decades amounts to a pictorial autobiography.
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John Patrick Byrne: A Big Adventure Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Until 18 September W: glasgowlife.org.uk The first retrospective on the artist and writer in the past 20 years, the exhibition features over 40 self-portraits and other examples of the versatile icon’s eclectic practice. Still painting in his 80s, this show offers a dive into the vibrant polymath’s restless mind and practice.
Perth Mis(sing) Information Perth Museum and Art Gallery Until 19 June W: culturepk.org.uk Curated by Dundee-based artist Saoirse Amira Anis, the show is a ‘long-overdue showcase of the work of Black artists at Perth Museum’. Battling the generally white-washed account of art history in Scotland, it allows featured artists such as Tayo Adekunle, Nkem Okwechime, Tako Taal and Natasha Ruwona to narrate their own histories.
UK wide Me, Myself, I: Artists’ Self-Portraits Royal West of England Academy, Bristol Until 19 June W: rwa.org.uk The Fleming Collection has loaned three works by Scottish artists to this survey of self-representation over the past 300 years in Britain. Over 80 works by the foremost British artists constitute the landmark reopening exhibition of this historic institution.
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A Window into Scottish Art: The Ingram & Fleming Collections The Lightbox, Woking Until 3 July W: thelightbox.org.uk An overview of the history of Scottish art through loans from two significant private collections. With examples ranging from 18th-century Highland landscapes to contemporary work exploring colonial legacies, the exhibition provides a didactic and prismatic view of the art that has shaped and redefined Scottish identity and culture through time. Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition Sainsbury Centre, Norwich Until 3 July W: sainsburycentre.ac.uk Curated by the Fleming Collection and bringing together a survey of works by female Scottish artists, the exhibition celebrates the richness, variety and inventiveness of the women who paved the way in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Traquair and Eardley, and international stars in the contemporary scene like Borland and Whittle. David Eustace: Memento Mori The Fine Art Society, London 30 June–29 July W: thefineartsociety.com A series by Scottish photographer and director David Eustace will open at the FAS for London Art Week. Eustace's arresting and humbling documentation of decaying flowers serve as a reminder of our own fragility.
The Glasgow Boys The Fine Art Society, London 30 June–29 July W: thefineartsociety.com When they rose to prominence in the 1880s, there was a sense of wonder at how a group of Scottish painters could hold such sway in the academies, salons and secessions of western Europe and North America. The gallery will showcase a selection of work by the famous group to coincide with London Art Week.
Venice Alberta Whittle: deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory Scotland + Venice, Docks Cantieri Cucchini, Venice Until 27 November W: scotlandandvenice.com Two rooms in a rehabilitated boatyard on the island of San Pietro di Castello host Whittle’s commissioned work which represents Scotland at the 59th Venice Biennale. The show, including film, sculpture and tapestry, confronts racism, colonism, migration and police brutality. Sonia Boyce: Feeling Her Way British Pavilion, Giardini, Venice Until 27 November W: venicebiennale.britishcouncil.org Commissioned to represent the UK, Boyce’s work has been awarded the 59th Biennale’s top prize, the Golden Lion. The sound installation, centred around an a capella chorus of five black female voices, has been considered the ‘perfect selection for this time in UK history’.
New publications, paintings, prints and Eye of the Storm DVD available now at