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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)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Galleries round-up published in The Herald 23/4/11

1839 – A Gothic Adventure 
Dean Castle, Dean Road and Dick Institute, Elmbank Avenue
01563 554902
April 30 – August 20
I was born and grew up a stone’s throw from the scene of the greatest debacles of the Gothic revival of the first half of the 19th century, but I suspect I am not alone in being completely in the dark about the fact it happened at all.
The Eglinton Tournament, an aristo-stuffed two-day even which took place in August 1839 on the Eglinton Estate between Kilwinning and Irvine in Ayrshire, was the last great endeavour of the Gothic Revival and attracted crowds in excess of 100,000.
It ended in glorious failure when a violent downpour soaked the assembled masses, including 800 + VIPs dressed in expensive costumes. Reading about the farcical goings-on in the book produced by East Ayrshire Council to accompany the exhibition of the same name, it has all the ingredients of a Blackadder Goes Gothic special.
The 100 page bool acts as an introduction to both the exhibition and Eglinton Tournament and features watercolours, shields and the largest collection of artefacts relating to the Eglinton Tournament to be brought together since 1839.
The Gothic Revival was a phenomenon which gripped Europe during the mid 18th to 19th centuries. The movement revived and reinvented medieval forms in architecture, Glasgow University being a good example, and decorative design leading to an increased interest in classical romanticism, painting and literature.
This fabulously quirky exhibition includes the iconic Eglinton Trophy, costumes and armour worn by the rain-sodden knights as well as watercolours originally created for use by lithographers for a folio account of the tournament. The watercolours were drawn in pencil then painted and heightened with gouache and touches of gold.
Kate Downie: Dialogue with the Land
The Gallery at Linlithgow Burgh Halls
The Cross, Linlithgow
01506 773858
www.katedownie.com and www.linlithgowburghhalls.co.uk
Until June 2
A new exhibition by Kate Downie is something to shout about and when it is the inaugural exhibition at a venue freshly remodelled into a community arts centre by leading architect Malcolm Fraser, then its appeal doubly shivers the timbers.
For this exhibition, Kate Downie has explored the historic town and created new work which reference its position in Scotland today. These new works are hung alongside more recent work made in Scotland.
Dialogue with the Land at the newly refurbished Burgh Halls Gallery (located directly in front of Linlithgow Palace) presents works on paper dated made between 2009 to 2011.
Kate Downie’s sense of place is as acute as her beautifully executed paintings and drawings. She seems to position her whole being into her work so that it exists as naturally as breathing. Her line is position-perfect but her eye is guided by something deeper, which imbues her work with an almost filmic quality, despite its lack of obvious ‘realism’.
Put a date in your diary for the evening of Tuesday May 5 when Downie will give a free guided tour of her work,
discussing the ‘finer points of meaning and mystery wrapped up in these personal yet powerful expressions of shared landscapes’.
On Saturday May 14, award-winning local artist Leo du Feu will take an ink and watercolour workshop based on Downie’s work. (£40 or £38 concession)
This fine new art space is well worth a visit. It has a great cafe and garden, excellent access and is just a five minute walk from the train station.
Migration of Souls by Alec Galloway
McLean Museum and Art Gallery
15 Kelly Street, Greenock
01475 717171
Until May 7
As one of the UK’s leading glass artists, Alec Galloway is a busy man, divvying himself up between a thriving glass studio, a position as head of architectural glass at Edinburgh College of Art and a sideline career as a painter. In between times he’s husband, father and musician.
Galloway was shortlisted for the prestigious Aspect Prize two years ago for his powerful painting depicting the theme of migration, a subject to which he has returned for this show at the McLean Gallery in his native Greenock.
Galloway is a thoughtful painter, who brings the solid sensitivity of his glasswork to bear in his work on canvas and paper. Crows are a recurring motif. Like talismen who flit through time and space, they are always hovering.
Having grown up in the Greenock area and left it for a while, only to return and settle there with his wife and growing family, Galloway has become fascinated by the ties which bind and separate us all.
For this exhibition, he has taken real life events in Greenock and further afield, such as the Iolaire tragedy of 1919 in which hundreds of young men drowned in Stornaway Bay, having escaped from the horrors of the trenches, and woven his own story around them.
Galloway tried unsuccessfully to contact descendants of those lost at sea before embarking on making a new glasswork about the Iolaire, using old photographs and records. The day after the exhibition opened a lady approached him to say that her uncle was one of the men who drowned. For Galloway, this is the nub of his work; making connections across the years and the miles.
It is the underlying tenderness of Galloway’s work, be it in his depiction of punk/new wave icon Debbie Harry or the intricate detail of a Red Indian head-dress, which is most affecting. As one six-year-old noted in the visitor’s book: “It was scary at first, but then I thought it was really nice.”
Galloway also has new glasswork on show at Kelvingrove in Glasgow, as part of Patricia Cain’s Drawing (on) Riverside exhibition. The two artists met when they were shortlisted for the Aspect Prize, which Cain went on to win and have gone on to collaborate on different projects.

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