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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, 14 November 2011

Totally Liminal: Cain & Canale Unleashed

This is an unedited version of a feature which appeared in The Herald arts section on Saturday November 12, 2011


Ancient Landscapes by Patricia Cain


Liminal Spaces: New work by Kim Canale and Patricia Cain

The Royal Glasgow Institute Kelly Gallery
118 Douglas Street, Glasgow, G2 4ET
0141 248 6386
November 14-26
I have to confess that I had to look up the word liminal prior to writing about this new exhibition of work by Patricia Cain and Kim Canale, which opens at Glasgow’s Kelly Gallery on Monday.

For those still in the dark, it’s a close cousin of the word, subliminal, and is a psychological term relating to the point – or threshold – beyond which a sensation becomes too faint to be experienced.

The creative mind often doesn’t stop to examine how it arrives at the end-point of an artwork for fear that it might break the spell but for Cain in particular, the process of getting to this end-point is something she has thought about in depth.

For Kim Canale, despite the fact excelled at drawing at art school, her predominantly abstract paintings are constantly chasing the unconscious part of her creative mind. 

Her Glasgow-based friend, Patricia Cain, has examined the business of how art is made by making it the subject matter of her recently completed PhD and subsequent book, titled Drawing: The Enactive Evolution of the Practitioner.

Both studies examine in depth what happens when we draw. In a world in which the act of creating art has become heavily digitised, Cain – a former lawyer – analyses the relationship between putting old-fashioned pen to paper and thinking.

“The end product is the debris of the process, if you like,” says Cain. “As artists, Kim and I have very different processes and that is what we are exploring in this new exhibition in Glasgow.”

Cain is on a major upward trajectory with her work. She won the Aspect Prize and the Threadneedle Prize last year with work inspired by the building of Zaha Hadid’s new Riverside Museum in Glasgow, before going on to produce the epic Drawing on Riverside exhibition at Kelvingrove earlier this year (a show which attracted 45,000 visitors during its run). 

This small exhibition with her good friend Kim Canale, an artist, who also promotes the work of others at her home gallery in Montrose, has offered the opportunity to regroup.

“It’s been a good journey preparing for this show,” adds Cain. “After the intense period of working on and preparing the Riverside exhibition, I needed to take stock.

“Kim and I have talked a lot to each other over the period of time we have been making the work for this show and now it’s a case of putting the two pieces together.”

Canale, who admits to being more comfortable curating and promoting other artists than talking up her own work, adds: 

“We have very different approaches, but we have drawn inspiration from each other. I paint to try and capture a feeling. It is instinctual and more often than not, spontaneous’.

“We have very different processes. I look within and she looks out. Ironically, I’m trying to get away from that inward approach and I think Trish looks at my work to get inside the whole process of creating an artwork.”

The resulting exhibition makes for a remarkably good fit. 

Cain, known for her intense, analytical studies of buildings under construction, has been experimenting with different styles, including creating a series of abstract monoprints at the recently-opened Kinpurnie Print Studio at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath.

In contrast to her familiar dense mark-making style which is peppered with patches of negative space, there is real freedom of colour and composition in these intuitive works.

More evidence of a change in direction comes from the large painting, Ancient Landscapes, which she describes laughingly as ‘scary’. 

“It’s of an old building in France which is literally carved into ancient stones and there is so much going on there it quite literally terrifies me,” she says.

Canale’s work, while still heavily abstract and instinctive, has been increasingly influenced by her love of music and literature. 

One of the strands which bind these two women together and one which has taken them both by surprise is a highly personal connection to Italy.

Both artists have worked in Italy and both have second generation Italian parents although, having been adopted, Cain only recently discovered that her natural father had Italian parentage.

Last year, Canale exhibiting in both Florence and Edinburgh with renowned Florentine painter Mauro Betti, while Cain won a RSA John Kinross scholarship to study in Florence in 2008.

“I think that for us, says Canale, “the link with Italy and the fact that we are both very interested in each other’s work and the way in which we work, has helped us develop as artists. We are both, in our own way, trying to construct a feeling.”

THE SEA THE SEA I by Kim Canale
THE SEA THE SEA II by Kim Canale


THE SEA THE SEA III by Kim Canale

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