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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, 31 October 2011

RGI, Helen Flockhart & Steven Campbell event

This is an unedited version of The Herald newspaper's galleries round-up from 29/10/11

RGI’s 2011 Annual Exhibition
The Mitchell, North Street, Glasgow
Until 12 November 2011 (Closed Sundays)

Standing Woman by Audrey Grant, one of this year's prizewinners at RGI
(I've used this pic before but I like it so much, thought I'd post again!)

Last Saturday’s Herald Magazine told the behind-the-scenes story of how Glasgow’s oldest artist-led co-operative, the Royal Glasgow Institute for the Fine Arts (RGI), puts together its annual open exhibition.
Since the RGI was established in 1861, artists have been putting their work up for the scrutiny of their peers and crossing their collective fingers that the ‘hanging committee’ made of fellow artists will pick their work to be shown in the institute’s annual exhibition.
This year has been no different. Being selected represents a peer-led pat on the back for the 300 or so artists whose artworks were chosen from more than 1300 entries. 
For the 20 winners of the cash prizes on offer, it also represents a much-needed economic boost.
There is always disappointment for those whose work is not selected and this year, thanks to social media, some of the artists in that position have been able to air their sense of rejection publicly and the RGI’s official Facebook page has even mooted the idea of a Salon des Refusees-style exhibition in its Kelly Gallery in the city at a later date.
Grievances aside, the exhibition always offers a glimpse of a fascinating cross-section of work by painters and sculptors at various stages of their careers. Most of the works here are for sale with price tags between £200 and £2950 and the show is a relaxed and informal way of buying art for the first time.
The prizewinners this year represent a healthy mix of established names, such as Philip Reeves, Helen Wilson, Christine Woodside, James McNaught and Simon Laurie, and up-and-coming artists to watch, like Claire Forsyth, Kevin Low, Ian Moir and Fran Hanley.
For young artists like Claire Forsyth, who work away at a day job trying to fit in their own practice, RGI is like a lifeline.
After hearing she’d won The David Cargill Award and £1,000 for her work The Road Home III, she says she almost fainted.
“I don’t have much time to make my own work ,” she explains. “but was determined to submit something this year for the first time. This prize will buy me some time to concentrate on my own work. Winning a prize is a boost to any working artist as it recognises and validates your work, and is such an encouragement to keep going.”
Helen Flockhart: Fire & Fauna
Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery
2a Conway Street, London
0207 436 4899
November 3-24 

The Garden by Helen Flockhart
As the art historian Bill Hare puts it succinctly, ‘nobody paints like Helen Flockhart’. This much is true. Flockhart creates a whole universe through her finely tuned, beautifully detailed and utterly beguiling paintings. 
You find yourself swimming into a Helen Flockhart painting, pushing your nose up close to the canvas to see exactly what has been created in this strange, yet beautiful place. For the duration of your stay, it is yours to explore; a world of highly textured wonder.
Since graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1984, Flockhart has refined and honed her technique, which involves the careful application of numerous layers of richly coloured oil paint to the point at which she can have no imitators.
Her more recent work is more defined, more vivid and somehow less unsettling than earlier work though the sheer virtuoso skill with which she executes her paintings has not diminished one iota.
In Fire & Fauna, the Glasgow-based artist’s seventh solo exhibition with London gallery Rebecca Hossack, she depicts both humans and animals set against strange landscapes or enclosed interiors. 
The scenes often refer to myth and legend and literature. In this series of new work, there is The Nemean Lion, a vicious creature from Greek mythology, Jenny’s Seldom Dry, the drookit heroine from Burns’ poem Comin Thro The Rye and The Garden, inspired by the book of Genesis.
The exhibition starts on Thursday and is online now to view if you can’t make it to London. 
TALES OF THE DISRUPTIVE GENE: A Talk and Reading-Performance from Steven Campbell's New York Years, by His Sometime Literary Collaborator
Main Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh College of Art, Main Building, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh
6pm, Thursday November 3
(Followed by a masterclass from 2-5pm on Friday Nov 4 at ECA)

Steven Campbell's Untitled IV from the 'Fantomas' Series
Helen Flockhart’s near contemporary alongside her husband at Glasgow School of Art in the early 1980s, was the late Steven Campbell.
Like both Flockhart and her husband Peter Thomson, Campbell’s work is predominantly figurative and there is always a surreal undertone to the universe created within the confines of a Campbell canvas.
Campbell, who died in August 2007 at the age of just 54, was always the author within his own unique creations on canvas or in his performance art. He lived and breathed for art, be it in the field of visual art, poetry, performance and writing. He even looked like an artist; a 19th century dandy in the mould of his heroes from that era.
Following his death, the artist’s wife Carol set up the Steven Campbell Trust, which aims to promote education and access in the fields which the artist held dear.
The Trust has held an annual lecture in Campbell’s name since 2009 and this year, his friend and collaborator, Barry Yourgrau, New York-based writer and multimedia performer, takes centre stage.
Yourgrau, a friend from the four years the couple spent in New York in the early 1980s, will speak about their various collaborations and perform some of his own work. In an essay on his friend published in the catalogue of the posthumous 2008 exhibition, “...Wretched Stars, Insatiable Heaven...” at Glasgow School of Art, Yourgrau talked about his friend’s “mad moon-touched imagination and soul,” adding that Campbell was “is the one person I’ve ever met to whom I would apply the word ‘genius’”.
The Trust is also organising a Master Class with Yourgrau from 2-5pm on Friday November 4 at Edinburgh College of Art. Places are limited, but like the lecture, the class is free and open to all. 
Artists who write, students of literature, early career writers are all encouraged to apply. Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. Contact The Trust to apply: stevencampbelltrust@gmail.com or message on Facebook: The Steven Campbell Trust or Twitter: @SCampbellTrust
Participants in both events can look forward to a roller coaster couple of days.
The Scots-born artist and musician, David Byrne, says of Yourgrau, “I can never remember my dreams, so Barry Yourgrau’s stories are a pretty good substitute.’

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