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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)

Monday, 1 February 2010

Galleries Round-up from The Herald 30/01/10

Van Gogh Self-Portrait and Memorandum III by Melanie Sims

Galleries Round-up, Published in The Herald (ABC section)

Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London
020 7300 8000
10am-6pm, Sun-Thur, Fri, 10am-10pm, Sat, 10am-9pm Saturday
Until 18 April

The life of Vincent van Gogh has become such a caricature that is it almost impossible to separate fact from fiction. Self-taught and a late starter, this sensitive Dutchman, who suffered from bouts of severe depression, ended his life at the tragically early age of 37 by shooting himself in the stomach in an upper room of the Ravoux Inn, in Auvers-sur-Oise, a suburb outside Paris, where he had moved to be treated by Dr Paul Gachet.
He had a half-finished letter in his pocket. If ever an artist needed to be understood, it is Vincent Willem van Gogh
The Royal Academy of Arts in London, has taken this premise and created an exhibition which aims to bring the real van Gogh to life. The result is a must-see exhibition.
Made up of 35 original letters, rarely exhibited to the public due to their fragility, together with around 65 paintings and 30 drawings that express the principal themes to be found within the correspondence, this exhibition is the first major van Gogh exhibition in London for over 40 years and a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the complex mind of one of the most important artists of the last 150 years.
The exhibition has been curated by Ann Dumas of the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
As the letters are so fragile, it is unlikely they will be exhibited in such a way again. For anyone who can’t make it to London to see this exhibition, the letters of van Gogh are now online at www.vangoghletters.org.

Park Gallery
Callendar Park, Falkirk
01324 503789
www.falkirk.gov and www.mjs-photography.com
Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm
Until February 20

The small gem in the central Scottish arts scene that is the Park Gallery may be under threat of closure, but it continues to stage exhibitions which punch well above its weight.
As it enters an uncertain future - Falkirk Council want to transplant it to nearby Callendar House as part of an ongoing series of cuts - the purpose-built gallery has cranked up its 2010 programme of exhibitions regardless with a fine exhibition by the photographic artist, Melanie Sims.
In this exhibition, Glasgow-based Sims presents a highly individual response to the experience of bereavement and loss, with a series of striking photographic works that blur the boundaries between what is real and what is imaginary. Along the way, confounding expectations of what the viewer might expect from photography.
Sims works traditionally, layering film and using negatives to create a very personal imagery, engaging with digital processes only at the print stage and in order to make the large scale works in fabric and light box pieces.
The Memorandum Series, which came about as a reponse to the death of her mother, is a personal journey but will strike a chord with many onlookers. Ultimately, the images are about hope.
This is the first time the series has been shown in its entirety.
“The space is just perfect for my work,” says Sims. “There is an intimacy that complements the subject matter and I’ve been able to hang it exactly as I had hoped.”
Sims will be giving an talk about her work today at the gallery from 2pm-3pm.

The Dick Institute, Kilmarnock, The Baird Institute, Cumnock, and the Doon Valley Museum, Dalmellington
01563 554902
Tue-Sat, 11am-5pm
Until April 17

The worldwide preoccupation with our engagement - or lack of it - in our environment is currently being addressed in a thought-provoking exhibition currently receiving its only Scottish airing in East Ayrshire.
The three-venue exhibition, first seen at The Barbican in London last summer explores the role of the environment in art and architecture, tracing for the first time, the post war history of artists’ engagement with ecology and environmentalism.
Radical Nature includes work by internationally-feted artists and architects who have created visionary works and inspiring solutions for our ever-changing planet.
The exhibition is housed in three venues in East Ayrshire, at Kilmarnock, Cumnock and Dalmellington, and is backed by an extensive educational programme, which includes events and activities aimed at schools, families and anyone interested in environmental issues.
Radical Nature features work by pioneering figures such as San Francisco architectural collective Ant Farm and visionary architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, artists Joseph Beuys, Agnes Denes, Hans Haacke and Robert Smithson. There is also work by a younger generation of artists, including Heather and Ivan Morison and Glasgow-based Turner Prize winning artist, Simon Starling.
In addition to large-scale sculptures, expect photographs, artist film and original drawings.
Key pieces in the exhibition transform the Dick in Kilmarnock into a dramatic and fantastical landscape.


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