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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, 18 March 2013

Anna King & Rebecca Sharp + Sam Cartman

This appeared in The Herald Arts supplement on Saturday 16 March.
Anna King & Rebecca Sharp – Unmapped
Kelly Gallery
118 Douglas Street, Glasgow
Until April 6
Hide by Anna King
It was the cliff top village of Catterline in the north east of Scotland which first drew writer Rebecca Sharp to the paintings of Anna King.
King, who is still a year shy of her 30th birthday, won the first ever Jolomo Award in 2007 for her bleakly beautiful landscapes, many of which were painted during a residency at The Watchie in Catterline, the former customs look-out point where the great Joan Eardley painted some of her finest works.
In the summer of 2011, Sharp, who hails from Glasgow but has been living in Liverpool for the best part of a decade, was browsing online to see if there was any chance of securing a writer’s residency at The Watchie.
“I was drawn to Catterline,” she explains, “and I was keen to see if I could spend some time there. That didn’t work out, but I discovered Anna’s work, which she had made in Catterline and after looking at it online and feeling a real connection with it, I made contact with her.”
Sharp, who has forged a reputation as a playwright and as a musician (she plays the Clarsach) since graduating in theatre from Glasgow University in 2000, got in touch with King and the two women sparked up a friendship based on a mutual connection they both felt through their art.
Initially, they started passing ideas back and forward by email – each curious about the other’s approach to making art.
These ‘ether ideas’ were soon replaced by a good old-fashioned hard backed sketchbook, which they began to post back and forth between Scotland and England.
Both would add and respond to sketches by King and texts by Sharp, with ideas bouncing back and forth of how they felt about the neglected spaces which are all around us in society and which retain a trace of human presence.
Disused factories with no glass in the windows and a single traffic cone outside or a back court stretching out onto a cleared area where houses once stood. These are the type of subjects which the two artists sought to map out.
The resulting Unmapped project, now on show at the Kelly Gallery in Glasgow after a successful short run at the StAnza poetry festival in St Andrews last weekend, happened almost organically when the two women started to pass ideas back and forth.
Consisting of a series of paintings by King with an accompanying set of poems by Sharp, the exhibition is beautifully self-contained and thoughtful. All the work is for sale and with each sale, comes a small book of the same name.
King, who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee in 2005, has become one of Scotland’s most sought-after artists with her distinctive paintings of peripheral places.
Almost always painting in oils and pencil on paper which is mounted on board, there is no mistaking an ‘Anna King’, which are abject lessons in ‘less is more’.
For this exhibition, Sharp’s poems are presented side-by-side with King’s paintings. The text of the poems – which are mounted on ragged-paper on board – is kept deliberately small so that the viewer has to step inside the ‘space’ of both painting and poem.
The poems’ titles, such as, Day one, Scavengers, Vespertine and White, are simple and resonant. Like King’s work.
According to Sharp, sending her fragments of text back and forth to King in the sketch book gave the project a pace which might not have happened otherwise.
“I didn't want to complete a poem before I got the book. They were all about hidden places and the  sketchbook was quite secretive, so it gave the work real resonance. It was as though you were entering something; going on journey and leaving again.
“On first seeing Anna’s work, I was immediately drawn to her understated, non-judgmental treatment of locations – places that have always fascinated me. Cool, quiet spaces often accented, with great emotional effect, by a clean line of contrasting colour.”
Sharp found she instinctively started to translate what she saw in King’s sketches of these places into word choice, line breaks and spacing.
“It was magical to be shown each new painting,” she adds. “And to see the poem reflected in it.”
For King, working with Sharp and forging a friendship based around their art, has been a liberating experience.
She explains: “When Rebecca first got in touch, I was at that stage – which all artists come up against – wondering where I was going in my work.
“With this project, there was no pressure. We just had the time to let it grow. It was good to have the luxury of spending time on one painting. Normally, I’d be working towards a show and making a lot of work.
“It was great that the Royal Glasgow Institute and the Kelly Gallery got on board saying they would hold an exhibition. We also got Creative Scotland funding so the whole thing came together quite naturally!” What more could any artist ask?
This is a body of work which brings blips of simple brightness to neglected spaces that surround us all. In words and in pictures. With no added froth.
Hide by Rebecca Sharp

Sam Cartman: At the End of the Road
Kilmorack Gallery
By Beauly, Inverness-shire
01463 783 230
Until April 28

Roccasecca by Sam Cartman

Sam Cartman has been slowly making a name for himself as a landscape artist, since moving to Glasgow following on from his graduation from Cumbria College of Arts and Design in 2001.
Like Anna King, Cartman is drawn to paint places which might speed past the mind’s eye as you journey from one place to another. His landscapes, which are drawn from big, wide open places, ranging from Roccasecca in central Italy to Tayvalloch in Argyll, exude a painterly sense of place and space.
In his first solo show at Kilmorack Gallery in Beauly, a venue with a reputation as an ‘artists’ gallery’, over 40 new works will be on show and for sale.
Gallery director Tony Davidson says: “I first saw Sam Cartman’s work at the Nairn Art Competition in 2009. The quality was obvious. There’s a gutsy use of paint and magnificent feeling of space. Sam’s total dedication to his art also struck me.
“The feeling of space, created by large blocks of paint and careful compositions, is a remarkable achievement. Only the best artists fully understand how to make ‘negative space’ work. These large areas of colour constantly remind me of the ‘bigness’ of nature.
“There is another more human side to Cartman’s paintings. Within his painterly natural zones are the more geometric, harder edges of human involvement: roads and buildings. As well as providing an additional focus to the work, it places us within the painting. It takes us to the ‘End of the Road’ and we see and feel with Cartman.”
The setting for this exhibition – Kilmorack is a reused eighteenth century church – provides height and drama, giving Cartman license to show some of his most powerful works to date.

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