SCOTTISH A RT N EWS
AGES OF WONDER
at the Royal Scottish Academy
Grand tours, House tours, Art tours ISS UE 2 8
Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire KA18 2NJ www.dumfries-house.org.uk 01290 425 959
AU T U MN 2017
Take a tour of Ayrshire's Dumfries House, designed by Robert and John Adam, and discover one of the most complete collections of furniture from Thomas Chippendale's early Director period and the finest collection of Scottish rococo furniture in existence. Dumfries House, which is run by the Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust, is also proud to display a group of paintings by Scottish masters on loan from the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation.
ISSUE 28 AUTUMN 2017 Â£3
A history of Scottish abstract art Peploe in Hull Sam Ainsley Ross Sinclair and Bruce McLean Robin Gillanders Richard Waitt
SCOTTISH ART NEWS
Private View Peploe in Hull John G Bernasconi
Ages of Wonder Susan Mansfield
16 A Point in Time – The Eternal Now Bill Hare 23 CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland David Pollock 26 A Remembrance of Ian Hamilton Finlay Robin Gillanders 31
Sam Ainsley Rachael Cloughton
In praise of the Pathfoot Building Neil Cooper
Scottish Art News The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, 15 Suffolk Street, London W1J 8DU United Kingdom T: (0)207 042 5730 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Scottish Art News is published biannually by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, London. Publication dates: May and October.
52 The Art of Steven Campbell Kathryn Lloyd
Director James Knox
53 Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 Neil Cooper
Editorial assistance Paul McLean
54 Daughters of Penelope Jessica Ramm 56 Stephen Sutcliffe: Work from the Collection Neil Cooper
40 I, Richard Waitt, Picture Drawer: Portraits of a Highland Clan Malcolm Jones
Cover Image John Duncan RSA (1866–1945), Ivory, Apes and Peacocks, 1923. Image © Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture (Diploma Collection), RSA Diploma Deposit, 1923. Image credit: Andy Phillipson
Scottish Art News Diary Perrine Davari
Editor Rachael Cloughton
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 2017. 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 28 / AUTUMN 2017/SPRING 2018 DIRECTOR’S NOTE
1 1 Opening of the Scottish Colourist exhibition, at the Granary Gallery, Berwick-Upon-Tweed 2 Sir William Quiller Orchardson RA, HRSA (1832–1910) Ophelia, 1874. Image © Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation
2 | ART
Our collaboration with the Barber has also provided an opportunity to unveil the Fleming Collection’s latest acquisition, Sir William Quiller Orchardson’s ‘Ophelia’ which will be on show in the main gallery alongside the Barber’s own Orchardson. Born in Edinburgh in 1832, Orchardson was trained at the city’s Trustees Academy before making his name in London as one of the most successful high Victorian painters of the age. His beautiful tonal paintings of historical and literary subjects marked him out from the conventional genre painters of the day and drew the admiration of two giants of contemporary painting, James McNeill Whistler and Edgar Degas. In return, Orchardson said that ‘he knew Whistler’s pictures by heart’. Now is the chance to assess how Orchardson measures up to Whistler, whose renowned ‘Symphony in White III’ is one of the highlights of the Barber’s collection. Having Whistler, Orchardson and the Scottish Colourists under one roof provides a masterclass in Whistler’s god-like influence over generations of Scottish painters. As young men, Peploe, Fergusson and Cadell were in thrall to Whistler’s ‘Symphonies in White’, as their early works in the Fleming Collection exhibition reveals. The Orchardson, which fills a significant gap in our already impressive holdings of high Victorian art, came from the collection of the legendary art critic Brian Sewell and was bought from the Fine Art Society in Edinburgh. This autumn we have returned the compliment with a loan to the gallery of Stephen Conroy’s ‘Wireless Vision Accomplished’ (1987) for their exhibition The Vigorous Imagination: Then and Now which marks the 30th anniversary of the ground-breaking 1987 exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. One of the key players behind that original show, Clare Henry, writes about its significance on page 6, and how it turned the emerging Scottish painters of the day into international stars. One of the leaders of the pack was Steven Campbell, who died in 2007, aged 53. His recent exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in London is reviewed on page 48. The Fleming Collection has lent a monumental early painting by Campbell as one of eight 20th-century works to the new Scotland House on the Embankment in London. This is the latest initiative in our programme of cultural diplomacy in collaboration with the Westminster and Scottish governments. Scotland House serves as the London HQ for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, Visit Scotland and the Scottish Government; it also hosts services for Scottish-based companies doing business in London and thus provides a perfect venue to reach influential audiences for Scottish art in London.
Opening Scotland House in April this year, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, highlighted the importance of the loan: ‘The paintings lent by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation’s collection of Scottish art,’ she said, ‘are not simply beautiful examples of Scottish creativity – although they are – they also provide a reminder of the fact that Scottish investment and innovation has often looked outwards to the rest of the world, and it has often brought benefits to the rest of the world. These paintings are a great reminder of all that can be achieved – and a great addition to Scotland House.’
‘Having Whistler, Orchardson and the Scottish Colourists under one roof provides a masterclass in Whistler’s god-like influence over generations of Scottish painters’ The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh
MODERN SCOTTISH P A I N T I N G S 24 NOVEMBER – 23 DECEMBER
Since the last issue of Scottish Art News, the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation has launched its ‘museum without walls’ strategy – which aims to bring Scottish art to audiences outside Scotland – with an exhibition of the Scottish Colourists at the Granary Gallery in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The Financial Times hailed the Fleming Collection’s initiative with ‘its superb holdings of paintings by Samuel Peploe, John Duncan Fergusson, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell and Leslie Hunter in a summer show alive to the landscapes of pleasure . . . learnt in Paris at a time when British art was still largely insular.’ It was, they wrote, well worth the detour from Edinburgh ‘in a year when the Festival has few paintings shows.’ The show’s success is reflected in the visitor numbers, which at the time of going to press and with two weeks still to go, were nearing 10,000. The statistics for the ancillary activities are equally impressive, amounting to school trips bringing in 150 pupils, and a programme of tours, lectures and workshops supporting significant numbers of people. The impact of the exhibition on Berwick and the north east testifies to the public appetite for great Scottish art south of the border. The next stop on the tour is the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, where the exhibition opens on 16 February and runs till 13 May 2018. Given that the Scottish Colourists will be hanging in proximity to the Barber’s outstanding collection of European masterpieces, this exhibition sets out to make connections between the Scots and their influencers, from the radical French realist Edouard Manet to the inventor of colourist painting, Vincent Van Gogh, to one of the ‘wild beasts’ of the revolutionary colourist movement in the 1900s, the Fauve, André Derain.
6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ +44 (0)131 557 4050 www.fasedinburgh.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Douthwaite (1934-2002), Teddy Boys, 1960 Scottish Art News | DIRECTOR’S NOTE | 3
Art Builds Major capital projects for Perth and Paisley underway Perth and Kinross Council plan to transform a derelict primary school into a Creative Exchange, with studios, workshop space and galleries all under one roof. The £3.5m development received a significant funding boost, with a contribution of £500,000 from whisky giants Famous Grouse earlier this year. Creative Scotland has also pledged £335,000 towards the project. It’s hoped the Creative Exchange will support the city to retain more artists and makers – Perth’s limited grassroots scene was a challenge their now failed bid for the UK City of Culture 2021 faced.
Lyon & Turnbull open London base Scottish-based auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull have opened a new office and gallery in London at 22 Connaught Street, W2 2AF. At the opening show of Scottish Colourists, the auction house’s vice-chairman, Nick Curnow, said: ‘There will be a rolling selection of previews for forthcoming sales which will also form part of a London programme that already includes sales of Asian art and jewellery.’ The initiative, which provides a base in the capital for the auctioneers’ experts, signals their determination to expand in London and the south east.
‘What’s fascinating for me is so much has happened in the world since the last GI in 2016 – the world is a completely different place, and I think we’re going to see how artists are responding to that’
4 | ART
Susan Mansfield meets Richard Parry Richard Parry took over this summer as the director of Glasgow International, the city’s biennial festival of contemporary art. Prior to GI, he was curator-director of the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool for four years, and assistant curator at Hayward Gallery in London, where his work included the highly acclaimed Psycho Buildings exhibition (2008) and Tracey Emin’s show in 2011. What’s your background? I did a degree in renaissance and modern history at Warwick University and then a cross-disciplinary masters at the London Consortium. It doesn’t exist now, but it was a collaboration between the Tate, the ICA, the Science Museum, the Architectural Association and Birkbeck College. I’m very interested in cross-disciplinary thinking, and that’s certainly something I’ll be bringing to GI. What made you apply for the job? I’ve been coming to Glasgow for years so I came as a fan. I always enjoyed coming to the city and GI always has a special energy about it. As a curator, GI was an important moment to discover artists and what artists are doing because Glasgow is so important as a centre of production. What makes GI stand out among art festivals? GI is not a biennial like a lot around the world because the majority of the programme comes from the art community here. It’s a real showcase for the city, you can see the diversity of what’s happening here and what’s interesting artists now.
But it’s also a chance to bring in work from outside? GI is a wonderful time of dialogue. Artists in Glasgow are really good at going out and making connections with other countries; maybe it comes from being a port city. GI is a time to really expose these dialogues. What are you excited about in the 2018 festival? What’s fascinating for me is so much has happened in the world since the last GI in 2016 – the world is a completely different place, and I think we’re going to see how artists are responding to that. We’re also hoping to open up buildings that people won’t have stepped inside before, which is a really exciting part of the festival. The 8th Glasgow International takes place 20 April–7 May 2018. For more information, see glasgowinternational.org
‘Perth and Kinross Council plan to transform a derelict primary school into a Creative Exchange, with studios, workshop space and galleries all under one roof’ In Paisley, the ambitious plan to transform the town’s museum into a world-class destination based around Paisley’s unique heritage and textile story received a £4.9m National Lottery grant. Renfrewshire Council have set aside £24.1m towards the proposed £42m revamp and described the Heritage Lottery Fund’s contribution as ‘a massive boost allowing the project to move forward’.
A grant of almost £4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund has ensured the completion of The Willow Team Rooms’ restoration project. The iconic café on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street is a huge tourist attraction for the city, with almost 150,000 people visiting the Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece every year. While work on the exterior of the building is already complete, this significant cash injection from the National Lottery will fund the restoration of the interior spaces, as well as add a new interactive visitor centre, highlighting the achievements of entrepreneur and tearoom founder Miss Cranston, and Mackintosh himself. The Willow Tea Rooms are scheduled to open for Glasgow’s city-wide celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth on 7 June 2018. Inverclyde Council have prepared proposals to incorporate a ‘Wyllieum’ – a permanent exhibition space dedicated to artist and playwright George Wyllie – into a new Greenock Ocean Terminal building. Plans are still in their early days, with the project awaiting approval, but the idea has the support of the George Wyllie Foundation: ‘The Trustees welcome this opportunity to create a home for the George Wyllie Foundation on the Clyde in Greenock, so that George’s legacy can continue to engage and inspire the community and visitors to Scotland.’
The Edinburgh Printmakers have launched a huge fundraising drive to secure funds for Castle Mill Works, a new, state-of-the-art printmaking facility in Fountainbridge. The £12.3m project is due to open to the public in 2019, transforming the former headquarters of the North British Rubber Company into a dynamic, world-class centre for printmaking and the creative industries. For more information, see castle-mill-works.edinburghprintmakers. co.uk/castle-mill-works-support
Scottish Art News | NEWS | 5
Exquisite Rubens painting thought to be lost for 400 years discovered in Glasgow Museums’ collection Scholar-sleuth Bendor Grosvenor of BBC Four’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces has discovered a painting in Glasgow Museums’ collection that art historians believe is a work by one of history’s most influential painters, the Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). The portrait was on show at Pollok House, Glasgow. Before conservation and reassessment, it was thought to be a copy of a lost original. The painting, ‘George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham’ is believed to have been painted in about 1625, during the reign of James I, but had been regarded as lost by art historians for almost 400 years. Until now, only one British sitter painted by Rubens has been on display in Britain – the Earl of Arundel – and this portrait is only the second by Rubens held in a public collection in Scotland. Since the work has been attributed to the Flemish master, it has been moved to a more high profile spot at Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, said he was ‘beyond delighted to discover the painting is by Rubens’. Conservation work carried out by the restorer Simon Gillespie, working on behalf of the BBC programme, removed layers of dirt and overpaint that had concealed many of Rubens’ trademark techniques, creating doubt over the paintings true attribution. Now returned to its original state, the portrait underwent reassessment and the revised attribution to Rubens was confirmed by the director of the Rubenshuis Museum in Antwerp, Ben van Beneden.
6 | ART
Art Exhibitions Seminal 80s exhibition The Vigorous Imagination returns The Herald’s former chief art critic Clare Henry writes of her experience curating the original show and celebrating its anniversary with two new exhibitions Thirty years ago, 17 young Scottish artists, all in their mid-twenties, made history. Their ground-breaking exhibition of powerful new wave figurative art, The Vigorous Imagination, presented at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, was the first time contemporary Scottish art formed the lead show at the Edinburgh International Festival. It was a phenomenal international success, a proud pronouncement that visual art in Scotland was vibrant, intelligent and very much alive. Since then, many of the artists have become household names. So my idea to celebrate this anniversary has been well received, resulting in two concurrent shows this autumn in Edinburgh and Glasgow – surely also an east/west first! Yet without an old-fashioned protest by two recent graduates at the time, the original exhibition may never have happened. In 1985, Phil Braham & Ian Hughes demonstrated about the festival’s lack of new Scottish art by hanging their paintings on Edinburgh’s RSA railings on a Saturday afternoon, an event spotlighted in The Herald newspaper. Brought to the attention of festival director Frank Dunlop, he asked Phil and Ian to write a proposal. They suggested me (I was then chief art critic of The Herald). And out of the blue, Frank invited me to help curate the show.
The McManus celebrates 150 years with new commission from Duncan Marquiss The McManus: Dundee’s Art Galleries & Museum celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion, curators have commissioned Duncan Marquiss to create a new large-scale video installation inspired by the permanent collection. Since May, Marquiss has worked with curators and staff at the McManus to draw together images and stories triggered by objects in the collection. From this source material, he has created a video that will be projection mapped onto the façade of architect Sir George Gilbert Scott’s extraordinary Gothic Revival-style building. The work, called ‘Drawn to Light’, will be shown on Saturday 25 November at 7pm, when all roads around the McManus will be closed to allow up to 6000 people to witness this spectacular event of art, light and sound, virtually turning the museum building inside out to expose its contents.
Because we all wanted to stage it at the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, it took two years to happen. Meanwhile at Frank’s request, I also organised Artists At Work for the 1986 festival, a selection of young painters working in shops, community centres and studios scattered around the city. Frank asked Sean Connery, then at the height of his fame, to open the show, with the result that I spent a day driving Connery around the various locations, all good PR for the artists. And for those two years in 1986/87, these two shows featured on the front of the Edinburgh Festival brochure, which is printed in millions and travels around the world. Frank Dunlop did the visual arts proud. ‘Emerging artist’ was not even a familiar term when these artists – Sam Ainsley, Philip Braham, Steven Campbell, Calum Colvin, Stephen Conroy, Ken Currie, Gwen Hardie, Peter Howson, Ian Hughes, David Mach, Keith McIntyre, Ron O’Donnell, June Redfern, Mario Rossi, Kate Whiteford, Joseph Urie, Adrian Wiszniewski – mostly from Glasgow, suddenly found themselves in the limelight. Yet this group came to influence the wider artistic landscape in Scotland and beyond, and The Vigorous Imagination paved the way for the current crop of international artists whose fame attests to the vibrancy of Glasgow as a pivotal centre for contemporary art.
‘It was a phenomenal international success, a proud pronouncement that visual art in Scotland was vibrant, intelligent and very much alive. Since then, many of the artists have become household names’
So, 30 years on, how will these artists’ work have changed, matured, progressed? Come to Edinburgh’s Fine Art Society and Glasgow’s Roger Billcliffe Gallery to see! Clare Henry is former chief art critic at The Herald and now works for the Financial Times, North America The Vigorous Imagination: Then & Now Until 18 November The Fine Art Society 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ T: (0)131 557 4050 | fasedinburgh.com Open: Monday to Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 11am–2pm
Roger Billcliffe Gallery 134 Blythswood Street, Glasgow, G2 4EL T: (0)141 332 4027 | billcliffegallery.com Open: Monday to Friday 9.30am–5.30pm, Saturday 10am–1pm
Scottish Art News | NEWS | 7
1 Richard Parry, courtesy of Jonathan Lynch 2-4 Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle Mill Works development plans. Images courtesy of Edinburgh Printmakers 5 Peter Paul Rubens, George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham is believed to have been painted in about c. 1625. Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums 6 Jonnie Common recording in The McManus Collections Unit for Drawn to Light. Image courtesy of Siôn Parkinson
7 Adrian Wiszniewski, Collars and Cuffs, 2017. Image courtesy of Clare Henry 8 Peter Howson, The Noble Dosser, 1987. Image courtesy of Clare Henry 9 Stephen Conroy, Wireless Vision Accomplished, 1987. Image courtesy of Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation and Stephen Conroy 10 Kayus Bankole from Young Fathers in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery 2017 © Young Fathers
‘With their work, the band are reclaiming a history which ordinary people have been whitewashed from by creating a very different kind of masterpiece. The film’s plea for equality is vital’
8 | ART
Young Fathers – Squaring Up to A Black and White World When Mercury Music Prize-winning band Young Fathers were commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London to make a short film, the Edinburgh-based trio of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham ‘G’ Hastings relished the proposition. The context was a UK tour of Sir Anthony van Dyck’s 17th-century painting, ‘Self-portrait’. Having been purchased by the NPG in 2014, Van Dyck’s work formed a key part of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s summer 2017 exhibition, Looking Good: The Male Gaze from Van Dyck to Lucien Freud, which explored male image, identity and appearance. Young Fathers’ film was one of six commissions. Other artists who made films were Marcus Coates, John Stezaker, Mark Wallinger, Karrie Fransman and Jason Turner. It was Young Fathers’ film, however, that garnered much of the attention. Over a low electronic hum, the film, shot in the SNPG, features a text co-written by Bankole with Young Fathers’ former manager Tim Brinkhurst. The words
are spoken in voiceover by Massaquoi, as Bankole squares up to some of the gallery’s portraits after dark. As he strips off his shirt, shadow-boxing with the heroic images of some of history’s greats, the text challenges how such icons of privilege and power came to be immortalised in this way. In keeping with the Young Fathers’ canon, word, sound and images combine to make something provocative, righteous and profound. When the film was put online at the start of August, it was targeted by right-wing trolls, who claimed the film was anti-white. The film was briefly taken down at the band’s request, before being re-posted shortly after, following statements from both the National Galleries of Scotland and the band themselves. Young Fathers’ film was a timely accompaniment to ‘Black Burns’, Douglas Gordon’s contemporary response to both John Flaxman’s 1824 statue of Robert Burns that sits in the SNPG as well as to received notions of the Scots poet. The film sits well too with ‘The Slave’s Lament’, Graham Fagen’s reggaefied reappropriation of a poem by Burns, installed in the next room to ‘Black Burns’ throughout the 2017 Edinburgh Art Festival. Given that Burns almost became a slave trader, and that many of his contemporaries made their fortunes from slavery in a way that allowed them to commission self-aggrandising portraits of themselves, Young Fathers weren’t acknowledging anything new. With their work, the band are reclaiming a history which ordinary people have been whitewashed from by creating a very different kind of masterpiece. The film’s plea for equality is vital. Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh npg.org.uk/whatson/van-dyck/artists-films
AGES OF WONDER Susan Mansfield
The Royal Scottish Academy stages the largest exhibition ever of its own collection, which represents one of the most significant assemblies of Scottish art in the world It’s not a long journey, but it is a significant one. David Roberts’ huge painting of a Roman sunset is making its way across the courtyard on the Mound from the National Gallery of Scotland to the Royal Scottish Academy building. Although it was gifted to the RSA by the artist in the 1850s, it has never been shown here. The 4 metre-long painting is emblematic of the entwined histories of two of Scotland’s major art organisations. When the painting was gifted, the RSA and NGS shared the same building (the current National Gallery). The artwork then became part of a major gift from the RSA to the national collection in 1910, so it remained there. Now it will cross the courtyard to be part of the RSA’s exhibition, Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now, the largest the organisation has ever staged exploring and celebrating its own collection. ‘Having the opportunity to show our collection in the entire building is really inspirational,’ says Sandy Wood, the RSA’s collections curator, who is curating Ages of Wonder along with RSA president Arthur Watson and art historian Tom Normand. ‘There is so much work in this show that hasn’t been seen before, I think it will be eye-opening.’ Arthur Watson adds. ‘Very few of the members would have any notion of just how much stuff there is here.’
The RSA’s collection, which contains more than 7000 individual artworks, is one of the most significant assemblies of Scottish art in the world. While there are plenty of surprises in its vaults, from Thomas Hamilton’s original architectural plans for the RSA and NGS buildings (proposed in the 1840s but never built) to life drawings done by Peploe while he was a student, it is also a unique collection because of how it has been put together. ‘It’s a collection that’s built by artists, for artists, to support and advance artists and the arts in Scotland,’ says Wood. ‘That’s really the crux of what the Academy’s collection has been about since the beginning and continues to be about today.’ The exhibition will range from Jacopo Bassano’s ‘The Adoration of the Kings’, painted in the 1540s (one of the works gifted to the NGS in 1910) through Dyce, Raeburn, McTaggart and Guthrie to Elizabeth Blackadder, Barbara Rae, Alison Watt and Callum Innes. There are new commissions from Kenny Hunter, a custombuilt ‘Wunderkamer’ display cabinet by architect Richard Murphy, and Calum Colvin, who will move his studio into the gallery for the duration of the show to work on his latest project, a portrait of Hugh MacDiarmid. Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 9
‘That speaks, in a nutshell, about what the whole collection is about,’ says Wood. ‘Artists are inspired by the past, and what they do and how they understand that is what feeds into the collection today.’ A key aim of the exhibition is to show artists’ processes, whether in the cartoons created by William Dyce for his murals at the Palace of Westminster, or in the bequest to the RSA from the studio of sculptor Keith Rand which will include the artist’s handmade tools, sketches and maquettes, as well as finished sculptures. In a tribute to the RSA’s heritage in the training of artists, members such as George Donald and John Byrne will teach ‘live’ life-drawing classes as part of the exhibition to senior students and recent graduates, and artists including Frances Walker and Paul Furneaux will make new etchings in the gallery using Ernest S Lumsden’s historic star wheel etching press. 10 | ART
History will be explored not only in the artworks themselves but in the way they are presented. A room of 19thcentury paintings will be displayed as per the custom of the time, hung four or five deep from dado rail to ceiling. ‘And next to that will be a contemporary space of 21st-century works,’ says Arthur Watson. ‘I think there will be seven things in that gallery as opposed to 90odd in the gallery next door. Showing the context of how things are presented is important.’ The RSA collection began in the 1820s when the organisation was founded (getting its royal charter in 1838 to become the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture). The core of the collection is formed by the ‘diploma’ works – an artwork gifted to the RSA by each new member – and has been augmented by bequests, commissions and purchases. In 1910, in an accord brokered by the
then president, painter James Guthrie, the RSA made a significant gift of artworks to the NGS collection in return for the use in perpetuity of parts of what is now the RSA building. Self-funded and managed by and for its members, the organisation has been called Scotland’s oldest artists’ collective. The last decade has seen the institution scrutinising every aspect of its work to ensure it is best serving the needs of artists in the 21st century. Though it no longer teaches, supporting young and emerging artists through bursaries, scholarships, awards and residencies is a key part of its work. Artworks gifted by these artists, as well as by new members, make the RSA’s collection one of the most dynamic and fast-growing in the country.
‘The RSA’s collection, which contains more than 7000 individual artworks, is one of the most significant assemblies of Scottish art in the world’ Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 11
It’s proof that the RSA collection is living, contemporary and unique. ‘Unlike a museum or gallery collection, which is built up through generations of curators exercising conoisseurship, this is very much built up by a group of working artists and architects to reflect what they do and the things they think of as important,’ says Watson. ‘It’s the product of everybody who’s ever been part of it.’
‘Examples of emerging artists’ work will be included in the exhibition, not set apart in a single gallery but mixed together with the artists who are established academicians,’ says Wood. ‘That is at the heart of our collection as much as everything else.’ In the room dedicated to printmaking, for example, hanging shoulder to shoulder with works by Runciman, ES Lumsden, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Will Maclean, will be work by Ade Adesina, a young Nigeria-born artist who graduated from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen in 2013. Wood says: ‘He was a John Kinross scholar (the annual RSA scholarship which funds eight to ten young graduates to spend two months in Florence) and the work he presented was one of the most impressive Kinross deposits I think I’ve seen. They deserve to be hanging next to the historic greats such as Runciman, they stand up absolutely.’ The show will also include a brand new sculpture by Kenny Hunter, a portrait of James Guthrie which the RSA commissioned. ‘One of the only two presidents we didn’t have a portrait of was Guthrie, who was a key figure in the history of the Academy,’ explains Arthur Watson. ‘Hunter has made a rather beautiful head of Guthrie, split it and doubled it, and each one is a slightly different design and a different colour to show the different aspects of Guthrie’s character.’
Susan Mansfield is an arts journalist based in Scotland Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now 4 November 2017–7 January 2018 Royal Scottish Academy The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL Tel: (0)131 225 6671 | royalscottishacademy.org Open: Monday to Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday noon–5pm
‘Examples of emerging artists’ work will be included in the exhibition, not set apart in a single gallery but mixed together with the artists who are established academicians. That is at the heart of our collection as much as everything else’
12 | ART
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 13
1 David Roberts, Rome Sunset from the Convent of Sant’ Onofrio on the Janiculum, 1856. Courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland 2 Anne Redpath, The Chapel of St Jean, Tréboul c.1995 © Royal Scottish Academy 3 Joyce W Cairns, Polish Journey, c.1998-99 © The Artist 4 James Guthrie, Midsummer, 1899 © Royal Scottish Academy 5 Geoff Uglow, Eilean Donan Castle, 2010 © The Artist 6 James Giles, The Weird Wife o’ Lang Stane Lea, c.1830–31 © Royal Scottish Academy 7 Jacopo Bassano, The Adoration of the Kings, early 1540s. Image courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland
14 | ART
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 15
A POINT IN TIME – THE ETERNAL NOW Bill Hare
There has yet to be a major exhibition dedicated to the rich history of Scottish abstract painting. Bill Hare asks why It may come as a surprise to many of my fellow Scots that there is such a thing as a history of abstraction in Scottish modern painting. Not that they are really to blame, for there has never been any marked recognition of this particular history, either through a major publication or exhibition. There have, of course, been numerous exhibitions and accompanying catalogues on the work of individual Scottish abstract painters; I have curated and written some myself, but their artistic achievements have been seen in relative isolation, and never within the wider context of a recognised history of Scottish abstract art. When are we to be given the opportunity to see, admire and celebrate the particular nature and specific history of abstraction in Scottish modern painting? Who knows. This article aims to go some way to rectify this lamentable neglect and to tell the story of Scottish abstract art on the page, if not the gallery walls. It was a Scottish artist, William Johnstone, who in the 1920s did more than any other to introduce and pioneer the art of abstract painting in Britain. As much a radical modernist as his great friend, the poet Hugh MacDiarmid, Johnstone was committed to creating a new dimension in the language of modern painting. The inspiration for the art of both painter and poet was rooted in the landscape of their native Borders hills, but they were also committed internationalists. Thus Johnstone’s career was one of much travel; constantly going from his homeland and returning to it. Firstly, to Paris in the mid-1920s 16 | ART
where he came in direct contact with European modernism – there he encountered and became deeply involved with surrealist biomorphism which allowed him to develop a deeper psychological relationship with his atavistic feeling for landscape. ‘I am part of nature and nature is part of me,’ said Johnstone. He was also one of the first British artists to work in America and, long before Jackson Pollock, he discovered Native American art and noted commonalities with Pictish / Celtic art. ‘When I studied those Indian paintings,’ he said, ‘so simple, with such depths of intensity in the abstract patterns, I was reminded of the old Scottish and Pictish carved stones.’ The abstract paintings which Johnstone evolved from the late 1920s onwards became an eclectic mix of modern and ethnic sources. Furthermore, he worked on an epic scale for the time, with such paintings as ‘A Point in Time’ (1929–37), which critic Paul Overy was later to describe as ‘a masterpiece of surrealist-abstraction unrivalled in scale and ambition in British painting in the 1930s’. Johnstone continued to develop his abstract painting throughout his long career, adapting different approaches and experimenting with new techniques, but almost always using nature as his primary source of inspiration. In the immediate post-war period, three Scottish painters shared a similar attitude and approach as Johnstone to their own abstract painting. They were Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Joan Eardley and William Gear. All of them used their experiences of natural phenomenon, be it geological or meteorological, as
the starting point for their highly personal approach to abstract painting. As Barns-Graham succinctly put it, ‘I’m very affected by nature. Nature is a tremendous informer.’ Barns-Graham in Cornwall and Eardley at Catterline both painted within their chosen coastal environments. The former took rock formations as the impetus for much of her St Ives work, while the latter preferred to confront the sublime power of the North Sea and capture its awesome force in the bold sweeping gestural brushstrokes of her late abstract expressionist paintings such as ‘Sea and Snow, Catterline’ (c.1958). By contrast, Gear sought to capture on canvas the intangible aspects of nature – like shifting sunlight and shadow – and abstract these fleeting effects into complex rhythmic patterns of highly coloured decorative compositions in dazzling paintings such as ‘Autumn Landscape’ (1950). All the painters mentioned so far can be seen as ‘soft’ abstractionists where, as indicated by the titles of their works, there is a traceable connection between their paintings and some specific aspect of the natural world. Alan Davie’s work, however, is more problematic. Being a mystic, as were all the early European pioneers of abstraction, Davie did not see himself as an artist at all – ‘I don’t practice painting as an art but as a means to enlightenment,’ explained Davie. On the other hand, whether consciously or not, he drew deeply upon the conventions and language of post-war abstract painting. In particular, Davie’s paintings of the 1950s and 60s, when he was hailed in The Times as ‘the most remarkable British artist to emerge in recent years’, were closely associated with surrealist automatism and abstract
expressionism, both of which involve a loss of ‘self’. As Davie exclaimed: ‘The work of art seems to be something thrown off – a by-product of the process of being and working.’ His most powerful paintings do have that raw immediacy of some newly formed creation just coming into being, such as in ‘Kaleidoscope for a Parrot’ (1966). Alan Davie and William Turnbull were both recruited by William Johnstone to teach at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London in the 1950s, though there was little love lost between Davie and Turnbull. They did, however, share a very open approach to their artistic practice, based on intuition and improvisation. ‘I’ve never believed in planning what I am going to make,’ was Turnbull’s working mantra; but while Davie saw pictorial space in cosmic terms, Turnbull thought about space as ‘almost an object’. This attitude clearly reflects Turnbull’s dual role as a sculptor / painter who always thought of paintings in three dimensions. After his early, highly simplified ‘Head’ paintings, Turnbull became a truly ‘hard’ abstractionist whose paintings after 1957 ‘don’t refer to anything else, only to themselves’. Turnbull described his highly innovative and challenging paintings, which are just titled by date and numbers, as ‘a dialogue between the artist and his material’ where the truly epic scale of his all-over monochrome canvases ‘acts outwards into our world’. Turnbull was greatly admired by leading critics, such as Lawrence Alloway and Frank Whitford, who regarded him as a key-figure in the development of British painting in the 1960s. Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 17
18 | ART
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 19
20 | ART
Throughout the next decade or so, most of the serious abstract painting by Scots was carried out in London. Four Scottish abstract painters – Douglas Abercrombie, Alan Gouk, John McLean and Fred Pollock – were all associated with the studios at Stockwell Depot, a former brewery in south London, and the important annual abstract painting and sculpture exhibitions held there. They were each engaged, in their different ways, with their own individual response to the recent American post-painterly abstraction of Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski. But, as McLean put it, ‘they’ve done their paintings and we ought to be able to do ours, and still acknowledge that what they’ve done is good.’ They were visited in their studios and supported and encouraged by the leading champion of abstraction at the time, Clement Greenberg. In a letter to McLean, Greenberg reinforced his high opinion of the ‘Stockwell Scots’, writing: ‘I remain intrigued by the fact that it’s the four Scots at Stockwell, along with [Jennifer] Durrant, that are alone in England – if not in Europe – in bearing down on painting as a high art.’ Their ‘seriousness’ was made manifest in their determination to develop their own independent and individual engagement with recent aspects of formalist abstract painting. Gouk, for instance, strove in his painting to ‘allow colour maximum richness in relation to surface through painterly facture’, while Pollock, whose painting was greatly admired by Anthony Caro, took a more sculptural approach. ‘My work must contain an illusion of the third dimension, giving a sense of some
colours projecting forward from the picture plane and others appearing to recede,’ Pollock explained. At the same time, John McLean experimented with a range of painting techniques to create a directness of application and lightness of touch that is pure sprezzatura. As he said of his work, ‘there is nothing about my paintings that, if you look hard enough, you cannot see for yourself. They are not obscure. Their directness hides all the hard work.’ About the same time in Scotland, there began to emerge a very different approach to abstract painting. One of the main impulses for this was a strong reaction among the younger Scottish artists against the belle peinture style which had dominated modern painting in Scotland since the colourists. This new generation sought a radical alternative through minimalist abstract painting. Like Turnbull, they wished ‘to charge the canvas with maximum meaning through the minimum of means’. An important exponent of this highly austere and intense approach was Kenneth Dingwall who painted with a self-imposed narrow range of colours; blue, red, black and grey, all of which in his painting alluded to and evoked profound emotional associations. Although much of his work appeared to be monochrome, on closer examination, little breaks in the paint revealed layers of different colours underneath the final surface, suggesting hidden depths of complex feeling and profound expression. As the critic Paul Overy observed on this delayed effect, ‘Dingwall’s paintings give little away at first. Meanings seep out of them slowly.’ Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 21
Another abstract artist from this period who also evolved a highly pared-down attitude to his art was Alan Johnston. Using the simplest and most direct approach – pencil markings on a canvas or a wall, held together within some loose nonEuclidean geometric shape – Johnston’s minimal interventionist approach required highly perceptive and sensitive awareness in the attentive viewer. Johnston’s fugitive and ethereal art, forever hovering between presence and absence, the visible and invisibility, emanated from a wide range of philosophical and esoteric sources; from Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology to Japanese Zen. In contrast to Johnston’s graphic approach, Callum Innes’ art is deeply concerned to reveal the physical properties of paint as a material substance. Innes prefers to work in ongoing series which are differentiated by the complex process of their making; for example, his Exposed Paintings – as the name implies – are as much about removing colour pigment as applying it. Innes’ finely balanced approach to painting involves intuition and experimentation, accident and control, yet with the ultimate aim, ‘to create an image that is somehow natural, that exists in its own right’. In 1998, Innes was part of a multi-national group exhibition at the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum, Texas, entitled Abstract Painting, Once Removed. The exhibition set out to show that good abstract painting was now being produced anywhere and everywhere across the globe – even in Scotland. Unlike their predecessors, Dingwall, Johnston and Innes were, and still are, all based in Scotland. Today, there is a whole generation of younger and emerging artists working in Scotland who are investigating and extending, in their own individual way, the range and creative possibilities of contemporary abstract painting; from the intriguing organic pictures of Abstract Critical prize-winning, Glasgow-trained Zara Idelson to the ‘everyday’ abstraction of Edinburgh graduate Kevin Harman’s doubleglazing window constructions. Abstraction for Scottish artists came later than for their European counterparts. Unlike the pioneers of abstract art, the Scots were hardly touched by the mystical or utopian ideals that dominated the early stages of European abstraction – ‘Paths to the Absolute’ as the eminent modern art scholar and abstractionist, John Golding, described it. By contrast, the Scottish abstract painters were rarely motivated by Platonic ideals. They were much more Aristotelian in their outlook; less concerned with the transcendental and immutable, more with the immediate phenomenological impact of colour, shape, texture, and scale on the human senses – what William Turnbull termed the ‘eternal now’. For inspiration, they preferred to look to nature and their own place in it – even Alan Davie took some of the impetus for his art from flying and swimming – rather than seeking the expression of some otherworldly experience. 22 | ART
The historian Christopher Kissane recently wrote in The Guardian that, ‘historians must take it upon ourselves to increase our engagement with broader audiences, spreading awareness of the content, diversity and importance of our work.’ This equally applies to art historians and art institutions. The aim of this essay is not to enhance the reputations of these important Scottish abstract painters – individually they hardly need it, as seen from the critical responses quoted throughout. However, there has never been an opportunity for Scottish audiences to view work by these pre-eminent artists alongside each other, in an exhibition that tells the remarkable story of Scottish abstract art – much would be gained by viewing their works in this context.
CURRENT: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM SCOTLAND David Pollock
Bill Hare is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and a freelance writer and curator
Ross Sinclair and Bruce McLean headline the third instalment of a project which aims to bring Scotland’s distinctive art culture to Chinese audiences
1 William Johnstone, A Point in Time, 1929 –1937. Image courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland. © William Johnstone
6 William Turnbull, Red Saturation, 1959. Image courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland © Estate of William Turnbull
2 Alan Davie, Kaleidoscope for a Parrot, 1966. Courtesy of EU Collection
7 John McLean, Lagoon, 1985. Image courtesy of the artist 8 Fred Pollock, Honey Dripper, 1977. Image courtesy of Sean Pollock.
3 Joan Eardley, Sea and Snow, Catterline, c.1958. Image courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland, George and Isobel Neillands Collection © Estate of Joan Eardley
9 Kenneth Dingwall, Curtain, 1979, Image courtesy of the artist and the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art
4 William Gear, Autumn Landscape, 1950. Image courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland © The Artist’s Estate
10 Callum Innes, unknown. Image courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland, The Henry and Sula Walton collection © Callum Innes
5 Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, White Rocks, St Mary’s, Scilly Isles, 1953. Image courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland © The BarnsGraham Charitable Trust
11 Kevin Harman, untitled, 2017. Courtesy of Ingleby Gallery
Shanghai is the only city in China with a Western colonial history, points out the Glasgow-based artist Ross Sinclair, as he describes The Bund, the waterfront area whose Victorian-era buildings ‘wouldn’t look out of place in Glasgow or Liverpool’. ‘It’s an international city,’ he says, ‘but there are two Shanghais; one in which you pay more for a Starbucks than you do in the UK, and another where you slip down the next side street and feed a family of six for the same price.’ We’re talking via Skype prior to the opening of his exhibition Real Life is Dead/Long Live Real Life – alongside Bruce McLean’s I Want My Crown – at the city’s Himalayas Museum, the site of two previous phases of the CURRENT project, a collaboration between the Himalayas Museum and the Cooper Gallery at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. Supported by the British Council, China-UK Connections through Culture, the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government, the aim of the project is to introduce and foster a better understanding of Scotland’s distinctive art culture among Chinese audiences, with Poster Club, Lucy Skaer and Corin Sworn some of the artists to have appeared in 2015 and 2016. Sinclair’s piece for 2017 is all-new, although it touches upon his life’s body of work.
Twenty-three years ago, Sinclair went into Terry’s Tattoo Parlour in Glasgow and had the words ‘REAL LIFE’ tattooed on his back, and ever since, his practice has been related to exploring what those words mean; he’s staged, been involved in or created hundreds of exhibitions, performances, books and CDs, none of them seeking answers, but all geared to explore what the concept of The Real is for individuals, societies and cultures. ‘I wanted to continue with it in some way, but I had to recognise that the project, as it was, is over,’ he says. ‘So to cut a long story short, I had ‘IS DEAD’ tattooed under the old tattoo. The idea is to take this Real Life project in a different direction, and I don’t know exactly what that direction is, but for me it represents something about how insane the world feels right now, and how the notion that any thought is real is up for discussion in a big way. Everything is floating, nothing is certain. ‘It’s been almost 25 years since I started the project,’ he continues, ‘and there may have been a dollop of youthful optimism involved, together with the feeling that art would be able to change the world. I guess over the two decades since, that’s been worn away a little bit, and revealed the actual mechanism of what’s involved in dealing with art, culture and audiences. There’s a sense of realism and pragmatism now.’ Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 23
1 Ross Sinclair, Real Life Is Dead, 2017 2 Chinese-Scottish Real Life Orchestra 3 Audiences with Bruce McLeans work 4 Bruce McLean, Chicken Wing, 2017 All images courtesy of the artists and Cooper Gallery
This exhibition merges a variety of works which look at the past and the present of Sinclair’s life-consuming project. ‘There are banners and posters, and we’ve made a whole bunch of records and written a couple of songs called ‘Real Life is Dead’ and ‘Long Live Real Life’,’ he says. ‘These form the basis of our grandiosely named Chinese/Scottish Real Life Orchestra – I’ve been doing a series of workshops with people that the museum have got together for a performance at the opening, and we’ll film it and put it in the exhibition.’ It was an open call, Sinclair informs us, so the responders were all fairly young people, a mixed and interesting bunch of singers and musicians. The songs were initially recorded with students he teaches in the sculpture and environmental art department at Glasgow School of Art. They were then translated into Chinese by another student there, then the Chinese and English versions blended together in the Shanghai workshops. This must have been fascinating; it’s one thing to export your own art elsewhere, but another to create art amid a different culture. 24 | ART
‘Culturally, it has been very different,’ says Sinclair, ‘but it’s been easy to forget over the years that people you usually work with in art or music are there because a process of self-selection has gone on – you’re all there because you’re into the same things and have the same references. This has been very different, although I must say, even though the cultural difference between East and West is huge, the young people I’ve met here have all been pretty interested and turned on to what’s happening [in the art world].’ For sculptor, performance artist, painter and the Slade School of Fine Art’s former head of graduate painting Bruce McLean, however, the attraction of showing on the other side of the world wasn’t huge. ‘I wasn’t bursting to show in China, but I decided to do it, because I like the curator at the Cooper Gallery,’ he says. ‘But I don’t really like the art world, to put it mildly.’ Such warm irascibility is fine when you happen to be one of the great figures in Scottish contemporary art of the last half-century. Containing work from the 1960s, 1990s and 2000s, this isn’t a pure retrospective, more a selection of film and photographic works.
Among the range of films are ‘I Want My Crown’, a film of McLean dancing to a 1973 track by Kevin Coyne, and ‘Chicken Wing’, a brand new commission in which he dances to another Coyne song. ‘“Urban Turban” (1997) is the big film,’ he says. ‘It’s a kind of retrospective of my work within a single film. It’s about a cultural war – but I don’t know if anyone there will make head nor tail of it. Or whether it might make perfect sense to them, actually. I like the fact I’ve not actually “made” anything, that it’s all shadows on a wall. Switch it on, it’s there, switch it off, it’s gone.’ Part of the septuagenarian’s art is a subversion of the art world itself. ‘I’m interested in the ephemeral, in the thing not even being there, really. It’s not buyable, it’s not consumable, it’s just beautiful. Do you know what I mean? I’ve seen images of how they’re going to install it in China and it’s very good. If I could fly there for an hour and fly back it would be great, but I can’t be bothered with all the hanging around in airports.’
David Pollock is an arts journalist based in Edinburgh
CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland Until 10 November Shanghai Himalayas Museum, China In association with the Cooper Gallery at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee himalayasart.cn
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 25
A REMEMBRANCE OF IAN HAMILTON FINLAY Robin Gillanders
Stonypath, Little Sparta, 2009
Robespierre 26 | ART
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 27
28 | ART
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 29
SAM AINSLEY Rachael Cloughton
Highly regarded for her academic career, particularly her time at Glasgow School of Art, artist Sam Ainsley talks about the creation of her first solo show in Scotland for 30 years
Sail-boat Robin Gillanders 28 October 2017–14 January 2018 Stills 23 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1BP T: (0)131 620 622 | stills.org Open: Daily 11am–6pm 30 | ART
Sam Ainsley is officially an Outstanding Woman. Earlier this year, the Saltire Society awarded her the title, which is shared by a small group of pre-eminent women who have contributed hugely to Scottish culture. Ainsley was awarded it for both her glittering academic career (she taught for 25 years at Glasgow School of Art, including five years on the school’s renowned environmental art course) and her artistic practice, the latter becoming Ainsley’s focus after retiring from teaching in 2005. Currently Ainsley has a solo show at Comar, the ‘multiarts’ organisation perched on a hill overlooking Tobermory Bay in Mull. This is the her first solo show in Scotland for 30 years – the last being Why I Choose Red at the Third Eye Centre (now CCA) in Glasgow in 1987. Many will wonder why Ainsley didn’t decide to do something sooner. ‘The simple answer is, I didn’t decide not to, I was never asked,’ she says. ‘Last year I mentioned to Jenny Brownrigg (curator at GSA) that I would love to show my work on one of the Scottish islands and she put me in touch with Mike Darling at An Tobar and it all began from there after a studio visit. I am very thankful that Mike took the time to familiarise himself with my work; so few people are interested in artists in
their sixties . . . most of the focus (quite rightly) is on younger or emerging artists but it’s lovely to be invited at an advanced age!’ There are 45 new works, large and small, in Ainsley’s exhibition at Comar, none seen before and all created in the last year, in what has to be one of the artist’s most prolific creative periods. The paintings show no sign of an artist in her later years slowing down. Aside from the sheer quantity of work, the paintings themselves are full of energy and buzzing with ideas, moving between shapes and forms. In one, an outline of a tree transforms into a pair of lungs, in another, arteries of a heart become a map of an Island. Even the viewer moves, as their perspective shifts through multiple vantage points, from what Ainsley describes as ‘the microscopic, the lens, the atom, to the earth from above, the island, the world and so on’. The works reflect her infectious enthusiasm for the world around her and the easy connections she seems to make between what others may view as disparate ideas and forms. The paintings are hung in sequences and grids across one wall of the gallery highlighting their ‘network of connections’.
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 31
‘I start with an idea of what I want “to talk about” so it might begin with a found image that has excited me or a drawing I’ve made and then it continues from there; all the time I am conscious of how difficult it is to really convey what it is you are getting at, except obliquely,’ explains Ainsley. Even when discussing her making process, she makes references elsewhere: ‘I’d like to quote the words of Alasdair Gray in Lanark – a huge influence on me: “I started making maps when I was small, showing places, resources where the enemy and where love lay. I did not know Time adds to land. Events drift continually down effacing landmarks, raising the level like snow. The arts are maps. They show us the terrain of life, contours, cliffs and coasts. They chart our deepest oceans and their rivers run like arteries across arid plains.”’ The quote particularly resonates with a five metresquare wall drawing Ainsley has created on site at Comar, with three imaginary islands created alongside a map of Mull that she has turned upside down; ‘I wanted it [Mull] to appear as strange or unrecognisable to the viewer as the other islands,’ Ainsley explains. ‘They all reference different kinds of utopias based on a huge number of influences over the years . . . suffice it to say that 32 | ART
Madeleine de Scudery’s ‘Map of Tenderness’ has always intrigued me, where she substituted geographic information with the trials, pitfalls and beauty of love. Metaphor is at the heart of my work, so I loved naming geographic locations in the wall drawing such as the River of Love, the Plains of Indifference, Mount Strife – some of which are hers, some mine. ‘I have been thinking about utopias and dystopias more recently and islands in particular as places of both refuge and, paradoxically, isolation from a mainland; potentially utopian and dystopian,’ continues Ainsley, ‘and especially in relation to Brexit and Trump, of course . . . ’ That’s what makes Ainsley and her work so captivating – in one moment she’s drawing out imaginary islands, the next she is very much back to reality, speaking just as emphatically about politics and current affairs: ‘With the Westminster Government, the rise of the far right, Trump in the US, wars everywhere, North Korea’s madman to contain, Brexit and more . . . I still believe things can get better, but my God, we are all going to have to be on our guard. In the words of Alasdair Gray (himself quoting a Canadian poet I believe), “work as if you live in the early days of a better nation”.’
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 33
1 36 framed drawing/collages 2 Separate States 3 Her wild, scared heart 4 Wanderlust 5 Fragments of experiences 6 Parched Planet 7 When you’re scalded, touch hurts 8 Athena All images courtesy of Comar, 2017
‘That’s what makes Ainsley and her work so captivating – in one moment she’s drawing out imaginary islands, the next she is very much back to reality, speaking just as emphatically about politics and current affairs . . .’
Art may offer Ainsley an imaginative retreat from today’s realities, into the utopian landscapes she creates on her canvases, but she equally sees the arts as a means to tackle these issues head on. ‘In dark times, the arts are more important than ever,’ she insists. Which explains her frustration at the future direction the arts are taking in Scotland. ‘I wouldn’t start with A Cultural Strategy from the Government and Creative Scotland for a start – Christ, how many times have we been there before to no avail?’ she says. ‘I was on the Scottish Arts Council for many years back in the 80s and it was much, much better than its present incarnation for the simple reason that it had artists on all its decision-making committees. Have “the powers that be” learned nothing? Anything that is top-down will never work. The impetus and ideas have to come from the grassroots; the artists, makers, writers, poets, musicians. Has anyone ever asked them what they would like to see happen except perhaps for a chosen few?’ It’s not hard to see why Ainsley thrived as a teacher at GSA; she is a fearless but fair critic, far more focused on nurturing the next generation of artists and ensuring they have a platform than playing by ‘the rules’. However, when Ainsley was teaching alongside David Harding on the legendary environmental art course from the early 80s to the late 90s, there were few rules to follow. ‘Without wanting to sound as if everything was brilliant in the “good old days”, the “managers” at the time trusted teaching staff to deliver the best possible experience and education to our students and we did just that,’ explains Ainsley. ‘There was no interference and no sense of being judged or monitored; we were trusted to give 100% to our students and everyone of them was given the time and attention to develop as a potential artist and encouraged to “dream big”. The likes of Douglas Gordon, Christine Borland and Roderick Buchanan all studied on the course.
34 | ART
‘I know that many staff now feel they are overworked and have low morale due to the increased amount of paperwork, increased student numbers and decreasing numbers of teaching staff but that’s due to Government policy,’ she continues. ‘Nevertheless, GSA is fortunate to have a group of amazing tutors in fine art who do their damnedest to provide the kind of world-class education GSA has been renowned for, despite the difficulties.’ Unlike her salubrious paintings at Comar, the picture Ainsley paints for the Scottish art scene today is a grim one – but one the arts community must confront if things are to change. ‘Culture and all the arts, but visual art in particular, are simply not as valued as they are elsewhere,’ concludes Ainsley, unafraid to point out when things aren’t good enough. She may have stopped academic teaching, but Ainsley’s passion and commitment to the arts is a lesson to us all – and it seems she is not yet done with inspiring those she meets to ‘dream big’. Rachael Cloughton is editor of Scottish Art News Sam Ainsley Until 25 November Comar Druimfin, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6QB T: (0)1688 302211 | comar.co.uk Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10am–5pm
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 35
IN PRAISE OF THE PATHFOOT BUILDING Neil Cooper
Stirling University’s fantastic campus building, designed by John Richards, turns 50 this year and is reconnecting with the spirit of the swinging 60s to celebrate In 1967, the world was being turned upside down. With the counter-culture in full psychedelic swing, the so-called Summer of Love was about to break, protests against the Vietnam War were building to a peak, while race riots flared up across America. In the UK, homosexuality was decriminalised and abortion legalised. Closer to home, Celtic won the European Cup and championship, the first northern European club to do so. Elsewhere, the global village Marshall McLuhan had predicted was brought into our living rooms when the first ever live international satellite broadcast saw 400 million viewers watch the Beatles perform their single ‘All You Need is Love’. It may have been the Fab Four’s kaleidoscopic masterpiece, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and later their Magical Mystery Tour record and film that soundtracked the year, but things were happening underground as well. Beyond the tripped-out whimsy of Pink Floyd’s debut record, the Doors and the Velvet Underground and Nico offered a darker flipside that reflected some of the underbelly of unrest that was simmering. Meanwhile, on the leafy campus of a brand new Scottish university, another revolution was about to be set in motion. The opening of the University of Stirling was light years away from the hallowed halls of the older universities in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which the city is equidistant from. The new build, too, seemed to reflect the shock of the new which, following an 36 | ART
era of post-WWII greyness, had reinvigorated the decade with a cultural explosion that put youth at its centre. This could be seen particularly in the Pathfoot Building, which, as the first completed construction on campus, became a flagship for a brave new world of idealism in a way that, for its initial batch of less than 200 students, put aesthetics at its everyday heart. Fifty years on, the Pathfoot Building, designed by architect John Richards, celebrates its half century as the epicentre of the University of Stirling’s cultural life with 1967, an ever-expanding year-long exhibition intended to highlight the building’s roots in that crucial year as well as inspire future generations of students. Conceptually speaking, the exhibition asks what kind of world were the students living in when they } first arrived on campus. The exhibition also looks at what they were wearing, listening to and reading as they lounged artfully on Harry Bertoia-designed chairs in this new modernist paradise. 1967 will feature work drawn from the university’s own collection by artists including Bridget Riley, George Wylie, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Alan Davie. Also on show from the collection will be pieces by Patrick Heron, Michael Tyzack and many others. Personal stories, photographs, clothing, music and memorabilia will be added as the year goes on, creating a kind of living scrapbook of past, present and possible futures for the Pathfoot.
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 37
‘We want to inject the same kind of feeling of society’s politics in 1967 into our students right now. They’ve got the power. They can change things. It’s the job of the art collection to educate, stimulate and inspire in that way . . .’
A programme of events includes a ‘happening’ on 11 November, which will feature badge making, tie-dying, games, film screenings and a 1967 disco. A series of essays penned by various academics looks at different aspects of the era. Former artist in residence Ally Wallace’s own architectural-based exhibition will run until December 2017, while photographer in residence Alan Dimmick is documenting a year in the life of the university which will encompass events in the Pathfoot Building. There will be a dressing-up box, while the music of 1967 will be key to illustrating how the year panned out in all its contradictions. ‘We’re curating this in the spirit of the era, in the spirit of counter-culture,’ explains Jane Cameron, curator of the university’s contemporary art collection. ‘We want the exhibition to keep changing, and to morph into something else. We just want to let it happen.’ The university was built on 330 acres of land within the grounds of Airthrey Estate, beneath the Ochil Hills, two miles from Stirling itself, the first new university to be built in Scotland for almost 400 years. Its creation followed the Robbins Report, drawn up by Lord Robbins, who recommended an expansion of universities across the UK, and became the university’s first chancellor in 1968. In the report, and sounding not unlike a Zen master, Robbins stressed that ‘the search for truth is an essential function of institutions of higher education and the process of education is itself most vital when it partakes of the nature of discovery’. Stirling was selected from a shortlist of sites that included Falkirk and Perth, with the Pathfoot being the first phase of a thoroughly modern development. With its wide open spaces giving a countrified feel, the landscape surrounding the university already provided a natural canvas. In keeping with the liberal sensibilities of the era, the Pathfoot Art Collection was initiated from the start, with the university’s founding principal, Tom Cottrell, insisting that art ‘should be part of everyday life on campus’. With work displayed in the building’s iconic Crush Hall and the surrounding courtyards, the Pathfoot collection has played a vital role in university life ever since. 38 | ART
As well as the Crush Hall, the building originally housed lecture theatres, offices and classrooms, while extensions in 1979 to house a tropical aquarium and in 1987 for a virology unit saw it widen its remit. The Pathfoot Building itself is a work of art, with international conservation organisation DoCoMomo recognising it in 1993 as one of 60 key Scottish monuments of the post-war era. It was also voted as one of Prospect magazine’s 100 best modern Scottish buildings, and now has category A listed status. Significantly, perhaps, the University of Stirling also houses the archive of Lindsay Anderson, the iconic film and theatre director, whose big-screen depiction of public school rebellion, If.... appeared in 1968, just as Paris and Prague were being ignited into action on the streets. As an allegorical assault on the British establishment (a theme Anderson would continue in the 1970s with O Lucky Man! and in the 1980s with Britannia Hospital, forming a loose-knit state-of-the-nation trilogy), If.... would define the revolutionary spirit of ’68. Artist Stephen Sutcliffe has frequently looked to Anderson-based iconography. Two of his images, drawn from promo shots of If.... and originally seen as part of Is That All There Is? at the Changing Room Gallery in Stirling in 2007, will appear in the 1967 exhibition. All this, however, was yet to come, with 1967 - the year - laying the groundwork just as the Pathfoot laid the foundations for the University of Stirling’s future. ‘We want to inject the same kind of feeling of society’s politics in 1967 into our students right now,’ says Cameron. ‘They’ve got the power. They can change things. It’s the job of the art collection to educate, stimulate and inspire in that way, and for people to discover things they might not have known about that reach their souls. That’s what art and music can do. It’s about doing something colourful and fun, and that’s about life and energy and change.’ Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh 1967 11 September 2017–24 August 2018 University of Stirling, Pathfoot Building, Stirling, FK9 4LA T: (0)1786 466050 | stir.ac.uk/artcol Open: Monday to Friday 9am–5pm
1-4 Images of the Pathfoot Building over the years, courtesy of The University of Stirling
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 39
I, RICHARD WAITT, PICTURE DRAWER: PORTRAITS OF A HIGHLAND CLAN Malcolm Jones
A new exhibition and book shine a spotlight on an 18thcentury Scottish artist and the Highland family he captured in his work Having taken on a part-time job as a tour guide at Ballindalloch Castle in Banffshire in order to eke out my university pension, it was inevitable I would sooner or later become interested in the portraits of the Macpherson-Grant ancestors hanging on the walls of the ground floor rooms. They were all in feigned ovals – except a charming full-length portrait of a young boy dressed up as a soldier – and the labels announced them to be by one Richard Waitt, of whom I had never heard. A little Googling and a visit to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery later, and I was able to provide documented dates for the artist’s life – born Edinburgh 1684, died Inverness 1733. By now I had also become aware of the great number of portraits of the upper echelons of the Clan Grant painted by Waitt in the early decades of the 18th century – some 60 by my reckoning, of which a surprisingly high proportion still survive. My attempt at grappling with the various septs of the Clan Grant, their inter-relations, and Waitt’s part in what seemed almost to amount to a comprehensive Grant pedigree illustrated by portraits, led to the present book and catalogue of the ten paintings recently exhibited in Grantown-on-Spey. The late 18th century knew Waitt as a painter of still lifes – the present book has recorded two new ones – though his reputation reached what was surely its nadir when one 19th40 | ART
century historian referred to the dozen or so Rose family portraits at Kilravock Castle as ‘coarse representations of humanity’, and it was not until 1989 that James Holloway, then director at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, rescued Waitt from oblivion in the gallery’s Patrons and Painters exhibition. The so-called ‘Cromartie Fool’ – currently exhibited in the SNPG café – is Waitt’s most intriguing work. It portrays a scruffy but kindly looking individual who holds a cabbage stalk with a candle in the top of it which has evidently just gone out, as it is still smoking. It is doubtless coincidence that it is Waitt’s last-known work (dated 1731) – and yet the smoking candle was by this period a well-known symbol of vanitas, paintings which remind the viewer of the transitory nature of all earthly things. The present unfortunate title derives from the government official who drew up the inventory for selling off the disgraced Jacobite-supporting 3rd Earl of Cromartie’s possessions. The clerk was evidently unfamiliar with Scottish Halloween tradition and unable to recognise ‘a candle in a castock’ when he saw one. It’s an extraordinary eye-witness record of a traditional practice, a detail of Scottish folk-life, treated with as much, if not more, seriousness and minute attention to detail as any of his portraits of more exalted clansmen.
‘It’s an extraordinary eye-witness record of a traditional practice, a detail of Scottish folk-life, treated with as much, if not more, seriousness and minute attention to detail as any of his portraits of more exalted clansmen’
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 41
Waitt’s earliest-known work is not on canvas but on a wall, a huge mural coat of arms for the Earl of Hopetoun in the family loft in the church at Abercorn (1708). But it was undoubtedly an initial commission from Brigadier Alexander Grant of Grant in 1713 that restarted Waitt’s career as – in effect – portraitist by appointment to the Clan Grant. Miraculously, the bill for that all-important commission survives, and as well as ‘The Brigadiers own picture’ and four other standard-size portraits, at 1 pound 5 shillings each, it lists the two enormous companion portraits of ‘Piper to the Laird of Grant’ and ‘Champion of the Laird of Grant’ – at a mere £5 each. The former is now in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the latter still in private hands, and it was satisfying to be able to reunite the pair for the first time in decades since they gave up their original places guarding the foot of the stairs at Castle Grant. The ‘Piper’ will be familiar to many readers – so often reproduced, indeed, that he has become an icon of latter-day tartanry, but the ‘Champion’ is here shown to be the original for all the numerous ‘portraits’ of the celebrated outlaw, Rob Roy Macgregor, of whom no contemporary likeness exists. In recent years, Waitt has been applauded for his unpatronising portraits of humbler folk at a time when such 42 | ART
plebeian portraiture was rare – he has been lauded not for his numerous minor Grant lairds and ladies, but for ‘The Cromartie Fool’ and his celebrated ‘The Hen Wife’. The latter, painted in 1726, shows an elderly woman, her spotless white shawl fastened with a brass brooch. The mysterious bladed implement she holds and its associated animal horn (possibly a container) presumably identified her to contemporaries as a ‘hen wife’ – though one earlier commentator thought she was engaged in taking snuff. Waitt’s ‘Self-Portrait’ (1728) undoubtedly harks back to George Jamesone’s similarly posed self-portrait which Waitt had probably seen at Castle Grant (both are now in the SNPG). Jamesone’s index finger points vaguely at his ‘Chastisement of Cupid’ among the paintings hanging on his studio wall, while Waitt’s provocatively over-long finger stabs at the unidentified nude on his easel, her only attribute a mirror – is she visus (‘sight’) or vanitas? Did he tire of painting all those slightly puffed-up lairds and their swan-necked ladies? Is he cocking a snook at posterity in this oddly suggestive selfie? Posterity is still coming to terms with Richard Waitt. For centuries regarded as decidedly minor – as ‘not Allan Ramsay’ – it is hoped that the recent exhibition and accompanying catalogue have drawn attention to some of his other virtues.
Malcolm Jones is a retired academic who lives in the Cairngorms I, Richard Waitt, Picture Drawer: Portraits of a Highland Clan Until 31 October Grantown-on-Spey Museum Burnfield House, Burnfield Avenue, Grantown-on-Spey, PH26 3HH T: (0)1479 872478 | grantownmuseum.co.uk Open: Monday to Saturday 10am–5pm A book accompanying the exhibition is published by Grantown-on-Spey Museum
1 The Cromartie Fool, 1731. Courtesy of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery
4 The Hen Wife, 1726 . Courtesy of Grantown Museum
2 Alastair Grant Mor, the Champion to the Laird of Grant, 1714 © Reidhaven Trust
5 General James Grant of Ballindalloch as a child aged six (1720–1806), 1726 ©Ballindalloch Trust
3 Piper to the Laird of Grant, 1714 © National Museums Scotland
Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 43
John G Bernasconi
PRIVATE VIEW 44 | ART
How a remarkable Samuel J Peploe painting ended up in the UK’s City of Culture A stunning painting by a Scottish artist is undoubtedly one of the star works of a perhaps little-known art gallery in East Yorkshire. The gallery belongs to the University of Hull and was described by Fred Hohler as ‘a collection of breathtaking quality’. The painting, by the Scottish artist Samuel J Peploe, is ‘Interior with Japanese Fan’ (c.1915), which sits in the centre of the entrance wall of the gallery. There it dominates, by its size (80 x 62 cm) and its brilliant colour, with toneddown contemporary Camden Town paintings, by Sickert and others, surrounding it. The Hull University Art Collection specialises in art in Britain from 1890–1940, but in a collection that boasts fine examples by Lucien Pissarro, Augustus John, Stanley Spencer, Vanessa Bell, Wyndham Lewis and Ben Nicholson, Peploe’s work holds its own. The art collection was established from scratch in 1963 on the basis of a purchasing endowment of just £300 a year. Even in 1971, when the painting was purchased in the centenary of Peploe’s birth, it was an expensive work at over £2000. Gifts from generous benefactors as well as grants from the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Art Fund made its acquisition possible. Sadly, it remains the collection’s only work by one of the Scottish Colourists.
The Hull Peploe doesn’t depict an elegant interior of the type so familiar in Cadell’s paintings but instead shows the corner of an artist’s room, with paintings seen leaning against the wall. On a table is an orange fan, a common type of prop in Peploe’s art, and indeed one of the paintings against the wall is a still-life on its side featuring the same fan. This is ‘The Orange Fan’ which was sold at Christie’s in 1971 and has since been in private collections. In 2015, the Hull University Collection moved to a bigger and better gallery in the university library. In its position on the entrance wall, the Peploe is the focal point of the main vista back down the length of this new gallery space. Hull is currently the UK City of Culture and, so far this year, the gallery and its exciting programme of loan exhibitions has been seen by some 50,000 visitors – the collection, and its Peploe, are becoming better known by the day. John G Bernasconi is the director of Hull University Art Collection
Samuel J Peploe, Interior with Japanese Fan, c.1915. Image courtesy of University of Hull
Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 45
RECENT ACQUISITIONS Scottish Art News highlights the latest acquisitions to enter Scottish collections
46 | ART
One of the most high profile acquisitions in recent months has to be Edwin Landseer’s ‘Monarch of the Glen’ (1851). Following a fourmonth fundraising campaign, the painting was acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland with overwhelming support from the public, The National Lottery, Art Fund, private trusts and foundations, Scottish Government acquisition grant funding and by a part gift by previous owners Diageo Scotland Ltd. At the start of October, the iconic painting embarked on a landmark tour around Scotland, starting with Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, where it will be on display until 18 November. The painting will also be shown at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery and Kirkcudbright Galleries. Landseer’s masterpiece famously depicts a proud stag imperiously surveying a Highland landscape and is recognised the world over as an image closely associated with Scotland.
Other acquisitions for the National Galleries 4 Continuing the nautical theme, the Scottish of Scotland include ‘Space – Order’ (1974) by Fisheries Museum in Anstruther recently acquired Japanese artist Kishio Suga. Suga was a key member JM Horsburgh’s painting, ‘Larachmhor Off of Mono-ha (‘School of Things’) – a pioneering artistic Whitby’ (1949). The work has a special connection movement which emerged in the late 1960s/early 70s. to Anstruther – James More Horsburgh (1924–2007) The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art showed was a local man who spent his working life there as a his work alongside Karla Black earlier in 2017. This fisherman. It was only after retirement that he went on exhibition included the five silver gelatine prints that to attain national fame and recognition as an artist. have been acquired for the permanent collection. Horsburgh is known for his very detailed paintings of boats from his lifetime fishing, as this delicately crafted 3 Another major recent acquisition was made painting demonstrates. The subject of the painting by the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, which also has significance because it shows a boat from acquired ‘Chrysalis’ by Ian Hamilton Finlay CBE Scotland’s east coast fishing off Whitby, highlighting as part of the ambitious SMMart project to create a the practice of fishing boats from the east coast nationally significant art collection. The acquisition of following the herring seasons. The Scottish Fisheries the bronze sculpture, created by Finlay (1925–2006) in Museum already has the weathervane from the collaboration with John Brazenall in 1996, was made Larachmhor in its collection and significant historical possible by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s research into the vessel, making this acquisition all the Collecting Cultures programme, with further support more noteworthy for the museum. from Art Fund and the National Fund for Acquisitions. The work is described by Fiona Greer, curator of art at the Scottish Maritime Museum, as a ‘bronze propeller, perhaps just delivered to a boatyard, “trapped” in a sturdy, open-slatted wooden crate, giving a glimpse of what it will become when it breaks free and is transformed as part of a working vessel.’
Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 47
‘Perhaps the most exciting part of this exceptional jewel is what it might reveal about other objects in the National Museums’ collection . . .’ 5b 7
The Lillie Art Gallery in Milngavie is another collection that has recently acquired significant work by a local artist, with the purchase of 60 prints by Willie Rodger RSA. ‘Willie’s designs and images have become part of the fabric of Kirkintilloch, his home town, and the wider surroundings of East Dunbartonshire,’ explains Peter McCormack, museums development officer at East Dunbartonshire Council. ‘In 1988, for example, a set of stained glass windows on the subject of the six days of creation, made to Willie’s design by John Clark, was unveiled in Saint Mary’s Church, Kirkintilloch. A memorial in Bishopbriggs to mark the centenary of the Cadder pit disaster was unveiled in 2013 featuring Willie’s “pithead” design carved in stone. Even a local pub is tastefully decorated with his images.’ The newly acquired prints look set to be a highlight in the gallery’s permanent collection.
Glasgow Museums recent acquisition of the dialectogram, ‘A Showman’s Yard in the East End’ (2012) by Mitch Miller, sheds light on the fascinating history of showpeople in Glasgow. Around 3–4000 showpeople live in Glasgow – not a huge number out of a total population of just under one million, but enough to comprise the largest single minority group in the schools of the city’s East End, according to Glasgow City Council’s education service. Dr Mitch Miller is himself a showman from a long line of showmen and women. He is also a member of a team of co-curators who have been working with Glasgow Museums to reveal the history of this small but important Glasgow community.
Finally, returning to Edinburgh, National Museums Scotland has acquired an exceptionally rare Scottish renaissance jewel – a 16th–century enamelledgold pendant locket set with an almandine garnet, dating from c.1570–80. An exquisite work of art, the Fettercairn Jewel is also a key to the wider culture of the Scottish renaissance. The pendant was sold at auction alongside numerous works of art and artefacts from the private collection of the Forbes family, whose ancestral home is Fettercairn House in Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire. The Forbes of Pitsligo descend from Sir William Forbes, brother of Alexander Forbes, first Lord Forbes. Both branches were prominent elite families in the 16th century. The first Lord Forbes married the granddaughter of King Robert II of Scotland and daughter of Douglas, Earl of Angus.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this A major acquisition in the pipeline is the 8 exceptional jewel is what it might reveal about other Galloway Hoard. National Museums Scotland are objects in the National Museums’ collection – in the in the process of trying to save the hoard, which is Scottish renaissance there was a practice of extensive an unparalleled find of Viking-age gold, silver and court gift-giving of jewellery, with a massive amount jewelled treasures. It is the richest collection of rare gifted each year by the royal household to Scotland’s and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or elite families. National Museums Scotland will Ireland. Of international significance, it will transform investigate potential links between the Fettercairn our understanding of this period of Scottish history. Jewel and the Scottish royal court. It will also Uncovered by a metal detectorist in Dumfries and investigate the potential of its links to the Darnley Galloway, the hoard comprises in excess of 100 gold, Jewel, now in the Royal Collection, commissioned at silver and other Viking-age items. It was buried at the some time between 1564 and 1571 by Lady Margaret beginning of the 10th century, although some of the Douglas, Countess of Lennox, for her husband items within the hoard date from an earlier period. Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox and Regent of The campaign to raise the £1.98 million required to Scotland, and owned by both Horace Walpole and save the Galloway Hoard for the nation has received a Queen Victoria. It is possible that the Fettercairn Jewel significant boost thanks to a funding contribution of was made by the same jeweller in Edinburgh. £400,000 from Art Fund. With just over two months of the fundraising campaign remaining, the public appeal aims to raise £200,000 towards the final target. You can help ‘save the hoard’ here: nms.ac.uk/ support-us/save-the-galloway-hoard
1 Edwin Landseer, Monarch of the Glen, 1851. Image © National Galleries of Scotland 2 Kishio Suga, Space – Order, 1974. National Galleries of Scotland © Kishio Suga; photography © Sam Kahn; Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo 3 Ian Hamilton Finlay CBE, Chrysalis. Image © Scottish Maritime Museum 4 JM Horsburgh, Larachmhor Off Whitby. Image © Scottish Fisheries Museum
48 | ART
5a Willie Rodger RSA, Who Loves a Garden, loves a Greenhouse. 5b Willie Rodger RSA, Man nearly falling in love. Images © The Lillie Art Gallery 6 Mitch Miller, A Showman’s Yard in the East End. Image © Glasgow Museums 7 Fettercairn Jewel. Image © National Museums Scotland
Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 49
ART MARKET James Knox selects some of the most exciting Scottish artworks available at upcoming auctions 50 | ART
Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell RSA RSW (1883–1937) ‘Interior (Red Chair)’ (c.1928) On sale at Christie’s’ British Impressionist Evening Sale on Wednesday 22 November in London. Estimate: £400,000–£600,000.
Stanley Cursiter CBE RSA RSW (1887–1976) ‘The Red Dress’ (1920) Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, RSA RSW (1883–1937) ‘Portrait of Nan Ivory’ (c.1914) Both paintings on sale at Lyon & Turnbull’s Scottish Paintings & Sculpture Sale on Thursday 7 December in Edinburgh. Cursiter estimate: £30,000–£50,000. Cadell estimate: £80,000–£120,000.
Joan Eardley RSA (1921–1963) ‘Girl With A Green Scarf’ (c.1950) On sale at Sotheby’s Scottish Art Sale on Thursday 21 December in London. Estimate: £60,000–£80,000.
Alberto Morrocco OBE RSA RSW RP RGI LLD D Univ (1917–1998) ‘Life Class (A Triptych)’ (c.1985) On sale at Bonhams’ Pictures Sale on Wednesday 29 November in Edinburgh. Estimate: £30,000–£50,000.
Scottish Art News | REGULARS | 51
The Art of Steven Campbell REVIEWS
Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855
1 Collagist in the drama – Mort de Pierrot, 1988
1 Roger Fenton, Valley of the Shadow of Death, 23 April 1855
2 The Family of the Accidental Angel, 1991
2 Roger Fenton, Council of War, 6 June 1855
3 Birth of Eurithia with Drowned Family, 1991
Images courtesy of Royal Collection Trust
All images © the Estate of Steven Campbell. Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art
The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh Until 26 November
Marlborough Fine Art, London Until 21 October The Art of Steven Campbell is an expansive retrospective, featuring a total of 30 works made between 1983 and Campbell’s untimely death in 2007. His figurative paintings are surreal, vivid and often operate on a recurrent visual vocabulary and symbolism: the besuited man, the bespectacled man, the uniforms of fashion, sport and war and the small wooden figure of Pinocchio. Densely constructed, Campbell’s paintings are populated with mock-heroic gestures and the ceremony of history painting, creating dream-like dystopian environments in which his characters explore, despair and revel. Campbell’s fabrications are both reminiscent of Edwardian and Victorian style and impossible to place. He presents an augmented, unstable history, combining allegorical and fictional characters with authors, singers and art historical references. In ‘Two Men gesturing in the Landscape each with the Chin of Joan Sutherland’ (1984), two identical men, who are at once as tall as the trees which surround them and dwarfed in stature, sport the distinctive chin of Australian 52 | ART
opera singer Joan Sutherland. Titled after an 1889 book by French writer Maurice Guillemot, who founded the International Society of Watercolour Artists, ‘Collagist in the drama – Mort de Pierrot’ (1988) depicts a man emerging from pointillist paint daubs, solidifying from the waist upwards; alongside him the rhythmic marks bring into existence mountains and a sunset. The figure props up a painting of trees, imposed on the pointillist background as though adorning a wall. The composite image is a construction of constructions: the creation of painting, the subsequent discourse it is entered into, of narrative and artifice. Alongside Campbell’s paintings, the exhibition also features a selection of collage works. As figurative painting became less fashionable in the early 1990s, Campbell began incorporating string, cut paper, foam, brass and textiles alongside oil and acrylic paint. Made in the aftermath of his brother’s death, these works often combine mythical elements with family narratives, such as ‘Birth of Eurithia with Drowned Family’ (1991) and ‘The family
of the accidental angel’ (1991). Campbell’s collage works parallel the volatility of the human body with the instability of myth and history, made while the artist himself was exploring his own struggles with grief and a diminishing interest in contemporary figurative painting. The linear repetition of embroidered string affords these works a graphic quality, and they capitalise on its innate potential to unravel and dematerialise. In a rich exhibition of Campbell’s monumental canvases, it is this small selection of works which best illustrate his ability to analyse the human condition. Kathryn Lloyd is an artist and writer based in London Marlborough Fine Art 6 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BY T: (0)20 7629 5161 | marlboroughlondon.com Open: Monday to Friday 10am–5.30pm, Saturday 10am–4pm
The image of 19th-century war photographer Roger Fenton dressed as an Algerian soldier at the start of this major showing of his frontline dispatches from the Crimean War says much about the sense of derring-do that pervades early on in this exhibition. With Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia at war with the Russian Empire since 1853, Fenton was hired by Manchester publishers Thomas Agnew and Son to document the war in a way that could be used by painter Thomas Barker, who they also commissioned. More than 50 of the Rochdale-born snapper’s studies are rounded up in Barker’s ‘The Allied Generals with the Officers of their Respective Staffs Before Sebastopol’, a piece worth it for the title alone. It was a commercial gig, with Fenton encouraged by friends in high places to deliver a more heroic counterpoint to the critical war reporting of Times journalist William Russell. Things didn’t work out like that, however, with Russell having already inspired Alfred Lord
Tennyson to use the phrase ‘the Valley of Death’ in his poem, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. Tennyson’s bust sits on the stairwell of the Queen’s Gallery, and his voice can be heard reading the first lines of his poem on the recorded guide essential to the exhibition. Curator Sophie Gordon, celebrated war photographer Don McCullin and even Prince Harry all chip in as our guides. Beyond portraits of crusty-looking generals posing stiffly on and off the battlefield, the show becomes as much about Fenton’s journey as the work, which may yet inspire a bank holiday-friendly bigscreen blockbuster in his honour. Likewise the rollcall of bit-part players captured here, including the shellshocked Lord Balgonie, officer’s wife on horseback Mrs Duberly, and a Colonel Brownrigg sitting with two Russian boys apparently taken prisoner by the British. While technology didn’t allow for action shots, it is the barren ravine captured in Fenton’s own ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Death’, an apparently manipulated image
loaded with used cannonballs, that is most striking, even if Fenton did ‘interfere with the truth’ as McCullin puts it. If the post-war section is a well-meaning guddle, it’s only because Fenton had presumably moved onto other projects, having made less on his Crimea pictures than expected. It is left to his contemporaries Joseph Cundall and Robert Howlett to document images of wounded soldiers, as well as more commentary from McCullin, to point up the real collateral damage of such international follies. Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh The Queen’s Gallery Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX T: 0303 123 7306 | royalcollection.org.uk Open: Daily 9.30am–6pm (4.30pm in November)
Scottish Art News | REVIEWS | 53
Daughters of Penelope Jessica Ramm
1 Maurren Hodge, Fields of Endeavour, 2004 2 Fiona Mathison, Sink, 1972 3 Caroline Dear, Installation view of Reed Veil, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist 4 Linder, Diagrams of Love: Marriage of Eyes, 2014
Dovecot Gallery, Edinburgh Until 20 January 2018 Daughters of Penelope presents an array of sumptuous wall hangings alongside draped, embroidered and knotted floor-based objects. At the centre of the exhibition, rising up like a snake being charmed from its basket is Linder’s ‘Diagrams of Love: Marriage of Eyes’. This spiral-shaped rug was designed to participate in a ballet, Children of the Mantic Stain, and was made in Dovecot’s studios for British Art Show 8. Here the dancers are shown on video delicately unfurling the rug to reveal its gold lamé underbelly, a nod to Elvis Presley’s famous gold suit. Linder refers to her rug as having an A side and a B side, and like a record, it is designed to be played. Her performers actively show off its opulent weight and luscious colours as it wraps around the their bodies. The traces of make-up and sweat smeared into the pile may not be visible, but knowing that this rug is merely sleeping till it is next performed with sets it apart from other pieces in the show. Though works by other artists such as Julie Brook and Elizabeth Blackadder are equally luxuriant, their status as wall-mounted 54 | ART
objects renders them untouchable and fixed; like paintings, they are to be looked at rather than handled. Moving from tapestry to tapestry, some contain coded messages such as Maureen Hodge’s ‘Fields of Endeavour: Territory II’ commissioned for the Scottish Parliament or Joanne Soroka’s ‘Water of Life’, commissioned by Glenfiddich Distillery, which presents the ‘drama of a Highland waterfall captured in whiskylike colours’. These tapestries function like adverts, demonstrating the power and status of their commissioners. The demanding labour and expensive materials required to produce these works mean that they are likely to be unobtainable for most people. This is part of their attraction. They are reminiscent of tapestries that would have hung in medieval feasting halls showing off noble family crests. In ‘Water of Life’, we see Glenfiddich as they wish to be seen: purveyor of golden Scottish water. Though the titular Greek figure of Penelope – the ambiguous weaving wife of Odysseus – has taken a back seat in this exhibition, the myth-making continues in
other guises. There was once a time when a distinction was made between high-art materials such as bronze and marble and humble craft materials such as wool, thread and cloth. The works in this exhibition are proof that artists have taken raw fibres and spun them into gold. There are no threadbare stained carpets waiting to be mended here.
Jessica Ramm is an artist and writer based in Edinburgh Dovecot Gallery Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT T: (0)131 550 3660 | dovecotstudios.com Open: Monday to Saturday 10.30am– 5.30pm
‘The works in this exhibition are proof that artists have taken raw fibres and spun them into gold. There are no threadbare stained carpets waiting to be mended here’
Scottish Art News | REVIEWS | 55
1 Stephen Sutcliffe, Untitled Wall Drawing (Selected Errors), 2011. Photo Alan Dimmick 2 2 Stephen Sutcliffe, Despair, 2009. Photo Alan Dimmick
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow Until 21 January 2018 2017 has been a busy year for Stephen Sutcliffe, the Glasgow-based pop cultural obsessive who re-imagines a pick-and-mix of late-20th century iconography culled from his personal archive in his own fractured image. GoMA’s showing of video collages, photographs and wall drawings follows the Anthony Burgess-inspired No End to Enderby show in Manchester and the Lindsay Anderson-based Sex Symbols in Sandwich Signs in Edinburgh. It marks the first public showing of five of the works together since being bought by Glasgow Museums in 2013. Two others loaned by Sutcliffe complete the show. The walls may be painted bright yellow, but the crossed-out cartoon clouds are anything but bright in ‘Untitled Wall Drawing (Selected Errors)’ (2011), which, inspired by New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg, sets out its store as a monument to indecision. Such expressions of selfdoubt and ennui were part and parcel for serious young men of Sutcliffe’s generation, who channel-hopped their way through stumbled-upon totems of hope and despair – and it is the latter word that gives 56 | ART
the longest video work its title. ‘Despair’ (2009) begins with more crossings out, and is broken into numbered chapters, each punctuated by a Monty Python-sounding cough. A moustache is drawn over an archive interview with Dirk Bogarde, who is seen again behind a taciturn Rainer Werner Fassbinder, as layer on layer of sound and vision struggle after a punchline. In ‘Plum’ (2012), an edition of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour programme plays over the aural wallpaper of a rockpool as doodles are squiggled on top. ‘Come to the Edge’ (2003) is a video of boys’ school common room horseplay turned nasty to the sound of a poem by Christopher Logue. ‘No (after Steinberg)’ (2011) and ‘Self Portrait with Boxes (after Steinberg)’ (2011) are staged reconstructions of Steinberg cartoons. With Sutcliffe at the centre of each photograph, the first is of an interview with a giant ‘No’ chalked on a blackboard like a speech bubble. The second sees a queue of kids with cardboard boxes on their heads waiting to have faces painted on. Looming over all this to one side in ‘Untitled Wall Drawing (after
Weber)’ (2009) is a life-size hangdog slacker wearing a sandwich board on which is a drawing of a gallery opening. Steinberg described himself as ‘a writer who draws’. This description could similarly apply to Sutcliffe, whose work here is revealed as a series of tragi-comic visual routines delivered with deadpan, and at times deadly, dry-as-a-bone wit. Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh Gallery of Modern Art Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH T: (0)141 287 3050 | glasgowlife.org.uk Open: Monday to Wednesday & Saturday 10am–5pm, Thursday 10am–8pm, Friday & Sunday 11am–5pm
SCOTTISH ART NEWS DIARY
Stephen Sutcliffe: Work from the Collection
Aberdeen Michele Horrigan and Sean Lynch: Ignore the Management Peacock Visual Arts Until Sat 21 Oct 2017 W: peacockvisualarts.com Irish artists Michele Horrigan and Sean Lynch, through both artistic and curatorial activities have recently been investigating the multifaceted nature of the public realm. With their exhibition at Peacock, and with a focus on their homeland, they aim to challenge societal measures.
Dumfries Jane Perryman: Containing Time Gracefield Arts Centre Sat 25 Nov 2017–Sat 6 Jan 2018 W: dumgal.gov.uk/gracefield Spanning a year in the form of a weekly diary, Jane Perryman’s exhibition examines interlocking themes of materials, environment, time and journeys through an exploration of spontaneously and randomly found material. A Curious Eye: Celebrating the Art Collections of Eric Robinson and Dickie Hewlett Gracefield Arts Centre Sat 13 Jan–Sat 17 Feb 2018 W: dumgal.gov.uk/gracefield For this special exhibition on loan, the collections of Eric Robinson and Dickie Hewlett are displayed in Dumfries and include key Scottish artists such as Anne Redpath, Elizabeth
Blackadder, Peter McLaren and Robert Colquhoun, as well as prints by Picasso, Miro and Matisse.
Dundee Andrew Lacon: Fragments Dundee Contemporary Arts Sat 9 Dec 2017–Sun 25 Feb 2018 W: dca.org.uk Andrew Lacon’s new commission is a bold and minimal undertaking, taking the form of a substantial yet subtle installation across the whole gallery. It aims to challenge our expectations regarding how artworks are presented and asks questions about how certain raw materials are understood and valued in different contexts across space and time. Kate V Robertson: This Mess is Kept Afloat Dundee Contemporary Arts Sat 9 Dec 2017–Sun 25 Feb 2018 W: dca.org.uk Kate V Robertson’s first solo exhibition in a UK institution presents a major installation of new sculptural work that draws our attention not only to the walls, but to the floor, ceiling and windows of the most expansive gallery space at DCA.
Edinburgh Masters of the Edinburgh School The Scottish Gallery Until Sat 28 Oct 2017 W: scottish-gallery.co.uk
Sir William Gillies and Sir Robin Philipson emerged in the post-war decades as key figures in the Scottish art scene, becoming known masters of the Edinburgh School style. Their colourful and vibrant artworks continue to play an important role today on the secondary market as more people discover their genius. The Vigorous Imagination: Then & Now The Fine Art Society Thurs 26 Oct–Sat 18 Nov 2017 Also Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow from Fri 27 Oct W: fasedinburgh.com & billcliffegallery.com This cross-city event celebrates the 30th anniversary of ground-breaking exhibition The Vigorous Imagination: New Scottish Art, which was presented at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 1987 as the lead Edinburgh International Festival art exhibition. Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 The Queen’s Gallery Until Sun 26 Nov 2017 W: royalcollection.org.uk This is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Roger Fenton’s pioneering photographs of the Crimean War, taken in 1855. Through his often subtle and poetic interpretations, Fenton created the genre of war photography, showing his extraordinary genius in capturing the futility of war.
Scottish Art News | DIARY | 57
Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now Royal Scottish Academy Sat 4 Nov 2017–Sun 7 Jan 2018 W: nationalgalleries.org Ages of Wonder tells the story of collecting Scottish art. Reuniting works between the National Galleries and the Academy, the exhibition will present an intriguing mix of historic and contemporary works, from the 1540s all the way to the present day. Robin Gillanders: A Retrospective Stills Sat 28 Oct 2017–Sat 14 Jan 2018 W: stills.org Solo exhibition dedicated to the work of the Edinburghbased photographic artist, Robin Gillanders, showcasing newly commissioned work alongside selected portraits from the last 40 years. It will feature photographs from various collaborations between Gillanders and the artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, including a series made at Little Sparta (the garden and work of art created by Finlay at his home in the Pentland Hills) that will be on public display for the first time. Daughters of Penelope Dovecot Gallery Until Sat 20 Jan 2018 W: dovecotstudios.com This exhibition looks at the work of selected women weavers and artists who have contributed to Dovecot’s past and present. These significant Dovecot tapestry and rug pieces will be shown alongside contemporary works by artists 58 | ART
who are exploring the history and cultural identity of women through textile.
over the years, but also how the portrayal of children has shifted too.
John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea Talbot Rice Gallery Sat 21 Oct 2017–Sat 27 Jan 2018 W: ed.ac.uk/talbot-rice Vertigo Sea takes its title from one of the two video installations presented at Talbot Rice by acclaimed artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. He has been recognised internationally for his films exploring the human condition, winning the 2017 Artes Mundi Award.
Rachel Maclean | Spite Your Face Talbot Rice Gallery Sat 24 Feb–Sat 5 May 2018 W: ed.ac.uk/talbot-rice Fresh from its grand debut representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale, Rachel Maclean’s Spite Your Face comes to the Talbot Rice Gallery for its UK premiere. Referencing the Italian Pinocchio folk tale, this visually immersive video is a powerful critique of contemporary society.
Jacqueline Donachie Fruitmarket Gallery Sat 11 Nov 2017–Sun 11 Feb 2018 W: fruitmarket.co.uk Jacqueline Donachie is part of the generation of internationally successful artists that comprise the so-called ‘Glasgow miracle.’ Her work is socially inclusive and visually beguiling, and for this show Donachie will pull together new and existing work, building on the imagery and objects with which she has worked since the 1990s. When We Were Young: Photographs of Childhood from the National Galleries of Scotland Scottish National Portrait Gallery Until Sun 15 Apr 2018 W: nationalgalleries.org This exhibition coincides with Scotland’s Year of the Young Person 2018. It documents the experience and representation of childhood, exploring not only how childhood has changed
A New Era: Scottish Modern Art 1900–1950 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Modern Two Sat 2 Dec 2017–Sun 10 June 2018 W: nationalgalleries.org This major exhibition will offer an alternative version of the history of modern Scottish art, challenging the accepted view of the dominance of the Scottish Colourists and the influence of France, by examining the most progressive work made by leading and lesser-known Scottish artists.
Glasgow Martin Boyce: Light Years The Modern Institute Until Sat 4 Nov 2017 W: themoderninstitute.com Scottish sculptor and Turner Prize winner Martin Boyce’s new show Light Years at the Modern Institute will mark the artist’s fifth solo exhibition at
the venue. Presenting a new body of work, Boyce has formed the space into a grand domestic landscape of poetic ambience. baby boy Transmission Sat 11 Nov–Sat 16 Dec 2017 W: transmissiongallery.org This touring programme of visual shorts and curators is curated by Black Radical Imagination. It explores the discourse of the boundaries and limitations historically given to people of colour in the realm of the cinematic. Stephen Sutcliffe: Work from the Collection Gallery of Modern Art Until Sun 21 Jan 2018 W: glasgowlife.org.uk/ museums/GoMA GoMA’s recent acquisition of the Glasgow-based artist Stephen Sutcliffe’s work is exhibited this autumn in Gallery 3 for the first time. Drawing on Sutcliffe’s extensive personal archive of broadcast material and printed ephemera, with work lent from the artist himself, this marks Sutcliffe’s first solo show at the gallery. The Truest Mirror of Life: 19th Century French Caricatures The Hunterian Art Gallery Until Sun 21 Jan 2018 W: gla.ac.uk/hunterian Drawing from its own collection, the Hunterian presents a superb exhibition of the rapid hunger for the art of caricature in 19th-century France. Featuring artists Daumier, Gavarni and Cham, it provides an intimate look at the Parisian society of the period.
Futureproof 2017 Street Level Photoworks Sat 25 Nov 2017–Sun 4 Feb 2018 W: streetlevelphotoworks.org Futureproof is an annual showcase of some of the best graduating emerging talent from Scotland’s photography courses. In its ninth year, this edition explores materiality in photography, and its interdependence on other visual media such as sculpture, the ready-made, as well as tropes within painting.
Huntly May Murad & Rachael Aston: Walking Without Walls Deveron Arts 2017/2018 W: deveron-projects.com Painters May Murad from Gaza, and Rachel Ashton from Huntly, will digitally collaborate throughout 2017 to plan the 2018 Slow Marathons in their respective places, demonstrating in the final exhibition an intercultural dialogue about peace and friendship.
Mull Sam Ainsley An Tobar Gallery, Comar, Tobermory Until Sat 25 Nov 2017 W: comar.co.uk Sam Ainsley’s new exhibition at An Tobar will be her first solo exhibition in Scotland in over 30 years. Co-founder and head of the MFA programme at Glasgow School of Art until the mid-2000s, her practice is
an exploration of the human relationship with the world and with the experience of living. re.evolution An Tobar Gallery, Comar, Tobermory Fri 1–Sat 23 Dec 2017 W: comar.co.uk Re.evolution brings together a selection of Argyll artists working with the theme of evolution in both art and design. Works featured are in media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, textiles, ceramics and jewellery.
Newport-on-Tay Generations of Colour Tatha Gallery Until Sat 28 Oct 2017 W: tathagallery.com In a very unique exhibition, Generations of Colour brings together the work of grandson and grandfather, Calum McClure and the late David McClure, a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art popular wave of the early 1950s. Though never particularly influenced by his grandfather’s work, Calum said at least through his grandfather he could see that being an artist could be a real job!
of Fine Art, Louise Barrington has recently returned to Orkney to continue her new venture of producing conceptual oneoff pieces of art. Barrington’s work transforms formal visual elements of form, line, pattern and colour in a lyrical, subtle and poetic way. Nick Gordon: Constellations Pier Arts Centre, Stromness Until Sat 4 Nov 2017 W: pierartscentre.com One of a younger generation of artists returning to Orkney, Nick Gordon graduated from Gray’s School of Art in 2012 with a specialism in printmaking. The collecting, connecting and re-interpreting of objects and materials are at the heart of Gordon’s work.
1967 University of Stirling, Pathfoot Building Until 24 August 2018 W: stir.ac.uk/artcol Stirling University’s fantastic modernist campus building turns 50 this year and is reconnecting with the spirit of the swinging 60s to celebrate. 1967 will feature work drawn from the university’s own collection by artists including Bridget Riley, George Wylie, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Alan Davie. Also on show from the collection will be pieces by Patrick Heron, Michael Tyzack and many others.
Stornoway Perth Louise Bourgeois: Artist Rooms Perth Museum and Art Gallery Until Sat 18 Nov 2017 W: culturepk.org.uk The Artist Rooms touring programme presents the work of Louise Bourgeois in Perth. Although Bourgeois’ career spanned seven decades, she was most prolific in later life when she created the famous spider sculptures that helped her become one of the most recognised artists today.
Purvai: Collector Extraordinaire, Mackenzie Collection Exhibition An Lanntair Until Sat 18 Nov 2017 W: lanntair.com For the very first time, Stornoway-born and raised Colin Mackenzie’s collection of Asian antiques from the 19th century are brought together from the British Library, the British Museum and the V&A, to be displayed in his home town. This exhibition will also be the first time ‘The Mackenzie Collection’ will be displayed outside of London.
Louise Barrington: Shaping the Void Pier Arts Centre, Stromness Until Sat 4 Nov 2017 W: pierartscentre.com Graduate of Central Saint Martins and the Slade School Scottish Art News | THE DIARY | 59
Scotland Elsewhere The Art of Steven Campbell Marlborough Fine Art, London Until Sat 21 Oct 2017 W: marlboroughlondon.com This major retrospective of celebrated Scottish painter Steven Campbell is a rare insight into the career of the artist who is considered to have pioneered the renaissance of Scottish art in the 1980s. His monumental figurative paintings often depict recurring characters in dream-like scenarios, which are full of humour and ironic historical references. CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland Shanghai Himalayas Museum, Shanghai, China Until Fri 10 Nov 2017 W: dundee.ac.uk/djcad/ exhibitions This show marks the third phase of the CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland series, taking place in Shanghai. The exhibition is curated by the Cooper Gallery at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, in collaboration with Shanghai Himalayas Museum and organised in partnership with the British Council. Sarah Hardie: before sleep at the end of love (description of a lullaby) V&A Museum, London Fri 10 November 2017 W: vam.ac.uk/ Emerging Scottish artist Sarah Hardie presents a visual arts 60 | ART
opera in the courtyard at the V&A, kickstarting a weekend of performances by emerging artists and opera makers, as well as renowned companies such as Opera North and the Royal Opera House. Karla Black Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris Fri 20 Oct 2017–Sun 7 Jan 2018 W: beauxartsparis.fr/fr/ expositions After Venice, London, Los Angeles and New York, Scottish artist Karla Black will exhibit in Paris as part of the 46th Festival d’Automne, her very first solo exhibition in France. With simple materials and a wave of colour that characterise her art, Black will take over the Melpomene room of the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The Simple Life – Simply Life Foundation Vincent van Gogh, Arles Until Mon 2 Apr 2018 W: fondation-vincentvangogharles.org/ Bringing together a selection of works by contemporary and historical artists, Foundation Vincent van Gogh’s autumn collective exhibition spotlights conceptions of a life of simplicity. Scottish-educated artist Nicholas Party will exhibit alongside other contemporary artists as well as the likes of Van Gogh and Millet.
BRITISH IMPRESSIONISM EVENING SALE AUCTION
22 November 2017 • London
18–22 November 2017 • 8 King Street • London SW1Y 6QT
André Zlattinger • email@example.com
Auction | Private Sales | christies.com Other fees apply in addition to the hammer price. See Section D of our Conditions of Sale at the back of the Auction Catalogue
+44 (0) 20 7389 2074
SAMUEL JOHN PEPLOE, R.S.A. (1871–1935) Still Life of Summer Flowers in a Chinese Blue and White Vase, c. 1920s oil on canvas 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.5 cm.) £250,000–350,000