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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, 12 June 2012

Grays – Portal painting – Making Tracks


(An unedited version of the gallery round-up which I wrote for The Herald Arts section on 9/5/12 - ie with added long-windedness)
Exhibition of Scottish Painters
The Coningsby Gallery
30 Tottenham Street, London
07801 668237
June 11-23

Keeping Up by Whyn Lewis
Three Sisters by Louise Higgins

The Return of the Fauves by Peter Thomson 

Paris Sur La Mer by James McNaught

The Hide by Heather Nevay
Londoners’ appetite for the work of Scottish painters has been a constant theme in the gallery scene in the UK capital through one recession after another. 

One of the champions of Scottish artists, going way back to the 1960s, when they ‘discovered’ an unknown Glaswegian artist called ‘Patrick’ (aka John Byrne) has been the Portal Gallery, which traded for over 50 years from a base in Mayfair.

Today, the Portal Gallery is run on a peripatetic basis by long-term gallery director, Jess Wilder, as Portal Painters. Wilder is a regular at art fairs, and also mounts several exhibitions at various venues throughout London during the course of the year.

Wilder has an unpretentious and no-nonsense approach to rooting out skilled painters, to whom unbridled imagination is an integral part of their artistic practice.

In this exhibition of work by five Scottish artists, she is showing Portal favourites; Whyn Lewis, James McNaught, Heather Nevay and Peter Thomson. To this list of Glasgow School of Art (GSA) alumni, is added a new Scottish favourite, Lanarkshire-based artist, Louise Higgins.

Higgins, who studied at GSA in the late 1980s, recently joined the Portal ‘stable’ and her highly distinctive work, which takes the recurring patterns she finds in the natural world around her home and weaves a very individual story around them, has been attracting attention from collectors at art fairs. Her work received attention last summer, when it was shown at The Fleming Collection, known as ‘an embassy for Scottish art’ in London.

Heather Nevay’s unsettling yet stunningly executed and intricate paintings have a worldwide fan base. A recent exhibition in Miami attracted yet more attention for this Glasgow girl, who originally trained in textiles at Glasgow School of Art.

All five artists plough their own individual furrow and their work is marked by skill, a love of their craft and an inbuilt feeling for the narrative of paint.

Philip Hughes: Tracks 
The Watermill Gallery, Aberfeldy
01887 822896
June 16 – July 15
Suilven by Philip Hughes

This exhibition of work by renowned landscape artist Philip Hughes, which opens a week today in Aberfeldy, promises to be that rarest of artistic experiences; an insider’s view of how it feels to be caught inside a landscape.

The exhibition coincides with the launch in Scotland of Hughes’ second book, tracks – walking the ancient landscapes of Britain, just been published by Thames and Hudson.

Hughes, who has shown before at the Pier, Stromness and Tate St Ives, walks the walk as he creates his drawings and paintings. His work is influenced by the land art movement, which reveals art as being part and parcel of the land itself.

To understand the art that exists in the lay of the land, Hughes walked the length of it, from Zennor in Cornwall, to the Scottish Islands. The Watermill Gallery’s exhibition will include works from 11 of the walks Hughes has undertaken in iconic landscapes, including Orkney, Assynt, Rannoch and Islay.
Watermill Gallery owner, Kevin Ramage, has direct experience of how Hughes connects with the elemental forces of the land. “I walked with Philip when he was preparing for his first Watermill Gallery exhibition, in February 2005,” he explains. “On Meall nan Tarmachan, with crampons on our boots and the temperature at minus six, Philip stopped and opened his pack. 

“The biting wind snatched away his small foam ‘seat’ but undeterred, he settled down to draw.  It is out of this connection with the elements and landscape, alongside a love of maps and an appreciation of the forces of geology, that the works in tracks were born.”

Philip Hughes will be at The Watermill from 3pm on the opening day, Saturday June 16, to introduce the exhibition and sign copies of tracks.
Gray’s School of Art Degree Show 2012
Gray’s School of Art
Garthdee Road, Aberdeen
June 16-24

Lisa Galloway with her ingenious idea...

Aberdeen’s Gray’s School of Art is the final degree show in the Scottish art college calendar to open and his year's talent showcase will be launched this Friday (June 15) night.
Gray's Degree Show, which is sponsored by BP, has become a firm favourite with the public in the north east, with a range of final year undergraduate projects, spanning fashion and textiles, ceramics and jewellery, product design, graphics, digital media, visual communication, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and electronic media.
One young designer who has already attracted attention ahead of the opening is product design student, Lisa Galloway (21) from the Spital area of the Granite City. 
Lisa has created an alphabet of silicone learning aids aimed at helping primary school children to write in ‘joined-up’ or in cursive script.
The alphabet is comprised of large cursive lower-case letter stencils in the shape of an object or animal beginning with the letter e.g. ‘a’ is an apple, ‘b’ is a bird.
Lisa is currently putting the finishing touches to her project and is looking to take the design to the next stage.
Continuing a theme of social engagement (which seemed to be in the air further down the east coast of Scotland at Duncan of Jordanstone’s degree show last month), 21-year-old Emma Kerr, a fourth-year Textiles and Surface Design student, has created a textiles collection which aims to tackle the social issue of missing and homeless people.

Through her research, Emma discovered that over 10,000 people go missing or run away from home in the UK every year. With this statistic in mind, she has creatively adapted textile garments including dresses, shirts and blouses to help raise awareness.

Professor Paul Harris, Head of Gray's School of Art explains: "The creative energy of Gray's students means they are continually pushing the boundaries. Visitors to the Degree Show will see an exhibition that reflects the very best of contemporary practice involving the integration of digital technologies alongside photography, animation, time-based and interactive media co-existing and complementing high quality work produced through the traditional studio processes that Gray’s is renowned for.”

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