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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)

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Divine Intervention

An artist called Anne Devine emailed me recently to say that she and another artist, Lorraine Lamond, had work on display at the former home of Sir William Burrell at 8 Great Western Terrace in the west end of Glasgow.

A week or so later, she emailed to say the exhibition had been extended until May 18.

Now, despite evidence to the contrary, I really don't get out to see as many exhibitions as I'd like, despite an inbox which bulges with news of openings and interesting-sounding happenings.

I laugh nervously when people say things like: 'Oh, you must see so many shows... What a great life.' The reality is that I'm more often working/being a mum/being a daughter and fitting in being a wife. Art has to be grabbed greedily with both hands when the opportunity arises.

So it was that last Saturday, what my dad would have called Divine Intervention, helped steer me in the direction of Anne Devine's exhibition. I happened to be hanging around in Hyndland for 45 minutes while my daughter was at her ballet class and I suddenly noticed the distinctive pink Glasgow International sign which indicated an exhibition was inside, even though GI had finished the previous week.

Anne's work, In Search of the Beloved and Lorraine's Journey of the Heart are currently displayed on the ground floor of this empty house, while, upstairs, the GI show featuring the work of Craig Peacock and Mark Campbell, titled A God Given Light, was in situ.

The building, which is for sale (O/O £595k if you have any spare cash), is an original Greek Thomson townhouse once occupied Glaswegian shipping magnate and art collector, Sir William Burrell and his wife and looks like it has been stripped back to basics by an over-enthusiastic developer who ran out of cash in the downturn.

For some reason, this stripped back, exposed backdrop, all exposed metal girders and wood panneling, teamed up with sad looking plasterboard and painted over 1960s wallpaper, all conspired to form an elegiac setting for some powerful and impressive work by all four artists.

Anne and Lorraine's work takes up the whole of the bottom floor, while Mark Campbell and Craig Peacock have colonised the upper floor. Mark Campbell's Jelevision stained glass house, subtitled, A God Given Light, looked like a groovy pulpit whichever angle it was viewed from. As a daughter of the manse, I liked its subversive overtones and in this setting, it positively glowed.

Lorraine's huge panels of figured painted in bitumen seem to roar off the walls, while Anne's work, mostly on a smaller scale, had an almost sepulchral-like quality. I particularly liked her little delicate drypoint etchings. She too, had been experimenting with unusual raw materials, such as red wine.

If our local authorities were not so strapped for cash, this house would make a fantastic permanent gallery space. It has the heritage and the space, not to mention atmosphere by the vat-load.

I can imagine an historic art organisation like the RGI (Royal Glasgow Institute for the Fine Arts)dusting itself down and free-ing itself from tradition to exhibit in such a space.

Just an idea - and maybe if I got out more - I'd stop dreaming...

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