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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Friday, 11 December 2009

Clare Yarrington @ Perth Art Gallery and Museum (plus round-up) as published in The Herald, 5/12/09


From Here to There: New Work by Clare Yarrington
The Fergusson Gallery, Marshall Place, Perth
01738 783425
www.pkc.gov.uk/museums and www.clareyarrington.com
Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm
Until January 23

There are moments in all our lives when we suddenly appreciate the undeniable fact that we are all but a blip on the vast timescale of our constantly changing planet.
As an archaeologist turned artist with an abiding passion for rock-climbing thrown in for good measure, Clare Yarrington has had more reason than most to ponder this truth. In her latest solo exhibition at The Fergusson Gallery in Perth, she examines in delicately forensic detail, what it is to be a figure passing through the landscape.
In this exhibition, Yarrington uses a variety of techniques, from collographs to collage and drawings with elements of printmaking, to convey her vision of an environment on which mankind leaves its mark as clues for those who follow to pick over and piece together.
Her mixed media collages and collographs of the landscape have non-specific titles such as Between The Land and The Sea and Coast and are like a jigsaw puzzle of land, sky and sea. Yarrington is aiming, she says, to convey that gut feeling of what it is like to be out there and in among it all.
In seeming contrast, her finely drawn figures of climbers, in which she prints in the hands and feet, then draws in detail in graphite, charcoal or pen and ink, have a precision which echoes that feeling climbers have of being rooted to the landscape by watching the precise movements of hand and foot.
Yarrington, who gave up her job as an archaeological administrator with Aberdeen Art gallery and Museum 13 years ago to become a self-employed artist, is this year’s recipient of the JD Fergusson Arts Award.
The Award was set up by the JD Fergusson Foundation in 1995 and alternates year on year between an exhibition award which allows the winner to mount a solo exhibition in the Fergusson Gallery, and a travel bursary which lets the winner travel anywhere in the world to help develop their art.
Aimed at promising Scottish artists who have not yet received any major recognition for their work, past winners have included Daisy Richardson, Jim Bond and Gillian Forbes.
The Fergusson Gallery, which is housed in the former Perth Waterworks, boasts the world’s largest collection of work by the celebrated Scottish Colourist, John Duncan Fergusson. The work was donated to Perth and Kinross District Council in 1991 by the JD Fergusson Foundation and celebrates the joyous energy which Edinburgh-born Fergusson brought to bear on all his artwork.
When Fergusson moved from Paris to Glasgow in 1939 with his wife, the dancer Margaret Morris, at the age of 65 the couple brought their Bohemian spirit to bear on an art scene hungry for outside influence.
Fergusson was never fully embraced by the Scottish art establishment during his lifetime and according to the Chair of the Trust, author and gallery owner, Roger Bilcliffe, the spirit of the award which carries his name is to champion independent artists trying to make their way in a tough environment.
In many ways, Clare Yarrington’s work, which throws up questions and challenges about the footsteps which we leave behind, can be said to sum up the quest of all artists, including the ebullient Fergusson, to chart their own particular trail through life.
“An artist friend told me I made art like an archaeologist,” says Yarrington. “She meant the way I piece things together and I guess she’s right. Just like putting a pre-historic bowl together, my collage work is all about piecing and linking. Just like memory, we remember fragments. Not the coherent picture.”



Philip Reeves: Prints 2006 - 2009
Hughson Gallery
1 Cleveden Gardens, Glasgow
0141 334 2473
Wed-Sat, 12-6pm (or by appointment)
Until Dec 15

In 2001, an exhibition ‘Philip Reeves at 70’ was organised by the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow in tandem with the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh. In keeping with the reputation of one of the UK’s finest printmakers, it was also shown at Peacock in Aberdeen and at The Fine Art Society and Bankside Gallery, London.
As head of printmaking at Glasgow School of Art from 1970 to 1991, Reeves’ influence has permeated a whole generation of printmakers.
In the past decade, the master has shown no sign of slowing down, exhibiting regularly with Compass Gallery and Cyril Gerber Fine Art in Glasgow, and with the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh.
This exhibition of his recent work at Joan Hughson’s small privately-run gallery in Glasgow’s west end is an opportunity to examine the beautifully honed simplicity of his prints. Reeves has said of his work: “I suppose from the start I was interested in the object and the place’ This clarity of thought is clear for all to see. In recent years he has continued to print from found metal objects, following on from his earlier series of Fragments.
Also on show this month, are six works by Graham Murray (1907-1987), a sadly neglected Glasgow artist who travelled widely in Europe the years leading up to the second world war. During the war, he taught in Clydebank and became a close friend of the acclaimed war artist Stanley Spencer, who was a frequent visitor to Murray’s flat in Lansdowne Crescent, Kelvinside.
This exhibition includes four finely executed pastel studies and one oil of Lansdowne Crescent.

Scotland: Images & Icons
Mansfield Park Gallery
5 Hyndland Street
0141 342 4124
Tue-Sat, 11am-5pm
Until Dec 22

As the Year of Homecoming comes to a close, this exhibition in the Mansfield Park Gallery in Glasgow’s west end wraps up some Scottish icons and hands them to us on a plate. Quite literally.
Fiona Watson is not the only artist to revel in the joy of Tunnock’s gloriously sparkly iconic packaging. The Uddingston-based baker must have had some art department in the 1950s to come up with these wrappers.
Watson’s Teacake print is just one of the Scottish images and icons to grace the walls of Mansfield Park this Christmas. Owner Vicki Cassidy has assembled a clamjamfray of artworks which presents a fresh take on what it is to be Scottish.
Printmaking is high on the agenda and highlights include Helen Fay’s ghostly Scottie dog etching and print-meister Willie Rodger’s instantly recognisable wee linocut figures which say more about what makes us Scots tick than all the Homecoming hoo-ha put together.
Another fine printmaker, James Greer, who happens to be Cassidy’s father-in-law, has produced a memorable wood engraving, entitled Memories of Joan, which depicts a view of 1950s Townhead, with the painter Joan Eardley’s studio in the background.
This affectionate tribute to the Eardley was inspired by seeing a couple of her pictures in his son Mark’s framing business. One of the pictures, an oil painting of a young boy, had lain undiscovered behind a chalk on glass paper study of a little girl in a pink dress for nearly 50 years.
Seeing Eardley’s work up close reminded Greer of the days in which, as a young art teacher, he used to walk past her Townhead studio every day on his way to work, never daring to walk in and introduce himself.

The Flower and the Green Leaf: Glasgow School of Art in the Early Twentieth Century
Mackintosh Gallery
The Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow
0141 3534500
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-2pm (Closed Sun)
Until February 6

Talking of Scottish icons, to celebrate the centenary of the Mackintosh Building, the first half of which was completed in 1899, Glasgow School of Art is displaying previously unseen works of art from their vast archives and other international collections in this fascinating new exhibition, which continues until the beginning of February.
Anyone interested in the social history of the period as well as the history of art will be drawn to this insight into the work and social life of its staff and students during the first two decades of the twentieth century.
There is work on display from each of the four departments of the day; drawing and painting, modelling and sculpture, design and decorative art and architecture. The exhibition covers a lot of ground and includes drawings for the Mackintosh Building by Charles Rennie Mackintosh dated 1910; a green linen bag designed by Grace Wilson Melvin (1892-1977), embroidered in green white and violet, the colours of the suffragette movement; photographs of staff and students in the early 20th century; life drawings by students of the time and the inaugural Bram Stoker Medal awarded for most imaginative work of the year, dated 1903.
GSA was unique in Britain in its ability to attract artists from overseas as well as some of the most highly regarded British practitioners onto its staff. Men such as Jean Delville, a leading Belgian Symbolist painter, Maurice Greiffenhagen, a noted English portraitist, illustrator and decorative artist, the Dutch sculptor Johan Keller and the Frenchman Eugène Bourdon who ran one of the first Beaux-Arts architectural courses in Britain.


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