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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)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Gallery round-up (published in The Herald arts supplement 21/5/11)

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
University of Dundee, Perth Road, Dundee
Monday – Friday 10am -8pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am – 4pm

By the time you read this the first of Scotland’s degree shows will be up and running. Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) traditionally sounds the bell that signals the beginning of the frenetic degree show season.

Dundee has always been one to watch and certainly its reputation goes before it. The city which built its name on jute, jam and journalism is fast becoming another Athens of the North, with the new V&A project being the latest notch in its cultural belt.

DJCAD’s 2011 degree show officially opened on Thursday night, with Susan Philipsz (DJCAD Graduate and 2010 Turner Prize winner) giving a presentation to staff and students.

This was followed by a lecture by Alvy Ray Smith (Executive Vice President & Co-founder of Pixar) to staff, students and the public.

The fact that DJCAD impresses upon its students the fact that great heights can be scaled and reached within the broader creative industries has always been one of its strengths. A wide base of disciplines designed to shape students for working life is offered here and a browse around the final year students’ work will dazzle, amaze, puzzle and inspire you.

It’s the same at all degree shows. Occasionally the sheer energy of these annual events in the art calendar induces a peculiar sort of degree show dizziness.

By way of a build up, Twitter has been buzzing in the last few weeks with news from Dundee staff, students and even students’ parents tweeting about who’s doing what and how from across the 11 programmes of Animation, Art, Philosphy, Contemporary Practices, Digital Interaction Design, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Environmental Design, Jewellery and Metal Design, Product Design, Textile Design, Time Based Art & Digital Film.

Professor Mike Press, associate dean of design, is a great tweeter and thanks to him I’ve been able to view a showreel of developmental pieces created by the illustration students of 2011, hot off the press.

On that note, Product Design student, Christopher McNicholl, has set up a Tweeting Seat (@tweetingseat) an interactive park bench designed to ‘explore the potential for connecting digital and physical communities’.

Ingleby Gallery
15 Calton Road, Edinburgh
0131 556 4441
From today until July 30

If you are partial to a touch of poetry with your visual art, then Gravity’s Rainbow is the only show in town this week. As the title suggests, this is an exhibition about colour, with a nod to the American writer Thomas Pynchon’s use of ‘borrowed’ colour adjectives as imaginative prompts in his novel of the same name.

Pynchon uses terms such as ‘drowned man green’, ‘creamy chocolate FBI-shoe brown’ and ‘deep cheap perfume aqua marine’ to great effect. It’s a basic use of language which children employ to great effect and which tends to be edited out of our everyday vocabulary as we mature.

This exhibition features work by David Batchelor, Jonathan Callan, Ian Davenport, Grace & Owens, Yves Klein, Peter Liversidge and Kay Rosen. Colour is integral to all the work on show, and may even be its subject, but it always originates elsewhere.

In the main gallery space David Batchelor’s five giant balls of colour are scattered across the floor, each one wound from electrical wires in different shades of blue, yellow, green white, black and orange.

Peter Liversidge’s has picked up objects on his travels and on the street and assembled them on a shelf. A series of random finds united by a common hue. Jonathan Callan finds colour in the hard covers of old books, sliced and rearranged into abstract reliefs.

Three site-specific installations anchor the exhibition. The first is by Tommy Grace and Kate Owens, whose temporary stained-glass window transforms a section of gallery’s glass frontage with panels cut from coloured pastic bags, filtering the light and bathing the gallery in a synthetic pool of colour.

Kay Rosen’s wall painting is made from ordinary house paint layered in rectangles to form an abstraction in which the colours are chosen from the pages of a paint chart on the strength of their quasi poetic names.

Ian Davenport has made a wall painting; his choice of colour is found in the real world, in this case by deconstructing an old master painting into its colour components and re-assembling it as a series of poured lines.

McGill Duncan Gallery
231 King Street, Castle Douglas
01556 502468
Until July 2

Far, far from the madding crowds of our capital city, degree shows and groovy city art shows, one small gallery in Castle Douglas is celebrating the work of eight Ayrshire artists.
The McGill Douglas Gallery has assembled a fine mix of artists here in Glen Scouller, James Cosgrove, Sandy Murphy, Michael Durning, Clare Harrigan, Euan McGregor, James Orr and David Palmer.

There are some artists who are quietly brilliant and yet the wider public don’t know about their work. A goodly few are represented here. Sandy Murphy’s still lifes and landscapes are beautiful and understated, like little nuggets of poetry within four sides of a canvas. Glen Scouller too has a definite following, but why his work is not flying onto walls all over the land is a mystery. He paints light, space and colour like no other Scottish artist I know. His sense of composition is as clear as a bell. You can almost feel your senses reordering themselves when you look at his work.

James Cosgrove too is a well kent figure around the Glasgow art scene through a long teaching career at Glasgow School of Art. He ‘retired’ in 1999 but is still as busy as ever painting at his Ayrshire home and working as a director of House for an Art Lover in Glasgow. There is always a sense of anticipation in Cosgrove’s work, which has a strong narrative running through it. In this exhibition, he has a few gems such as Fisher’s Wife a la Mode and Red Sky at Night (both incredibly well-priced acrylic, ink and collage on board paintings).

Gallery owner Jill Blamire says: “McGill Duncan Gallery formed most of our connections with Ayrshire artists through exhibiting the work of Sandy Murphy RSW RGI. His paintings are hugely popular in our gallery and we wanted to introduce the work of some of his friends and contemporaries to our customers. Ayrshire shares a rich artistic history with Galloway and this show proves that we have some of the best artists in the country working very close to home.”

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great review Jan. I love your description of Sandy Murphy's work.



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