Ca' The YowesA new exhibition for Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
18 January – 5 May 2013
The next exhibition to be held at the National Trust for Scotland's Robert Burns Birthplace Museum brings together 15 artists displaying work under the inspiration of Ca' The Yowes. Opening a week before Burns Night the exhibition will run from 18 January - 5 May 2013. Encompassing sculpture, drawings, tapestry, film, painting, printing, calligraphy and crochet, yet again curator Sheilagh Tennant brings together an eclectic group of contemporary artists to the only National Trust for Scotland property with a rolling contemporary art programme.
These are all selling exhibitions, with a proportion of sales going towards caring for the nation's premier Burns collection.
The artists involved are Helen Denerley, Amanda Gizzi, Alasdair Gray, Patrick Hughes, Angela Hunter, Fiona Hutchison, Chad McCail, Moy Mackay, Robert Powell, David Shrigley, Joana Vasconcelos, Jill Watson, Silvy Weatherall and Adrian Wiszniewski.
Many of the artists, most of whom are based in Scotland, are already well known internationally. However this is the first time that work of Portuguese Vasconcelos has been shown in Scotland. In 2014 she will be representing Portugal at the Venice Biennial, arguably the most important event in the contemporary art calendar.
Curator Sheilagh Tennant says: "The melody of Ca' the Yowes remains one of the most haunting of all of Burns's songs. Taking this work as a theme, it can be no surprise that sheep figure largely in this exhibition - although not necessarily sheep as you will have seen them before!"
- Venue: Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway, Ayr, KA7 4PQ (Map)
- Dates: 18 January – 5 May 2012
- Times: Every Day 10am – 5pm (Admission free)
- Website: www.burnsmuseum.org.uk
Helen Denerley studied at Aberdeen Art School and lives on a remote farm in Aberdeenshire, surrounded by wildlife. Her imaginative animals are beautifully crafted from discarded scrap metal using pre-existing shapes and forms. She draws prolifically then creates her animals from her enormous scrap heap of redundant agricultural machinery, tools and old motor bikes. Her work ranges from delicately observed birds and insects to the monumental 24ft giant giraffes outside the Omni Centre in Edinburgh. Helen's work is now widely recognized, resulting in world-wide commissions from Japan to Canada.
Gizzi is presently an artist teacher balancing work as an artist with her position as an Art & Design Lecturer for the University of Edinburgh.
She was born in Glasgow in 1960 and educated in Scotland and New York.
In the 1980s she attended the Edinburgh College of Art and trained as a teacher of Art and Design.
She has exhibited every year since completing her degree which keeps her work vibrant and up to date. Recently Gizzi was asked to show as part of 'Made in Scotland' at the Fleming Gallery in London and she also exhibits as part of the Scottish Tapestry Artist Regrouped - STAR . Future exhibitions include 'In Perspex' a group show in 2013 at the RSA and The RedBarn Gallery Cumbria - for August 2013.
Gizzi also works closely with Visual Arts Scotland and the Scottish Gallery and has won several awards including the Sally Scofield Visual Arts award.
"I feel I am first and foremost an artist, with tapestry as my medium. I work with very personal images hopefully showing a passion for composition in colour and line.
My work is mostly figurative and narrative.
I hope to express tales that come to me. For inspiration I am always looking and listening. I find lots of people tell 'wee stories' which can create wonderful images. Also I am inspired by literature: unusual titles for characters or books and I often see images around me which catch my eye and stay with me.
Tapestry weaving for me is a wonderful art and the way I work through the process of making is a bit messy, not square, and not neat but I am happy to break the rules as long as I get the kind of image I enjoy. Oddly the medium is so strong it can really take any kind of messing about!" Amanda Gizzi
Gray was born in Glasgow in 1934 and studied Design and Mural Painting at Glasgow School of Art from 1952-57. Since then he has exhibited widely across Scotland, particularly in his home city of Glasgow, where he has also undertaken several mural commissions for many of the city's churches. He is also a prolific writer, with 18 published books to his name, and a winner of the Whitbread and Guardian book prizes. Most recently, he completed his biography 'A Life in Pictures' which was published in 2010 by Canongate to coincide with solo shows at The Talbot Rice Gallery and The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Forthcoming projects include 'Alasdair Gray: Life and Lanark' at The Mitchell Library, Glasgow and a new commission to create a mural for Hillhead subway station in Glasgow (commissioned by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport).
Hand painted multiple with lithography (Proof 5/7)
Edition of 35
42.5 x 34.5 x 17 cm
With recent shows in New York, Toronto, Seoul, London, Athens, Geneva, Paris and Amsterdam, Patrick Hughes can rightly claim international status and an admiring public, who remain fascinated by his unique inter-active paintings and constructions. Defined as 'Reverspectives', Hughes conjures up visual illusions on a 3-dimensional surface, where the parts of the picture which seem farthest away are actually physically the nearest.
Described by critics as "the undisputed master of visual paradox and puzzle", Hughes work spans the generations - and feels just as fresh and relevant now as when he first wowed the critics fifty years ago with his first exhibition in London. From his time as a teacher at Leeds College of Art, Hughes has inspired and pioneered and his work fascinates all who see it. He attracts new fans all the time - the young and the young-at-heart, worldwide, as a forthcoming major exhibition touring Japan pays testament to.
Angela Hunter was born in 1951 and started her studies as a mature student, graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1999 with a BS (Hons.) in Sculpture and has worked as a full time sculptor ever since. In in the relatively short time she has been working she has been able to create work for galleries and gain commissions for public and private collections. Her public work can be seen in Dundee, Hawick, Dunbar and Inverclyde; her smaller sculpture is exhibited widely in the UK and her work is sold to collectors in many parts of the world.
She has gained many prizes for her work in open exhibitions in Scotland and is an elected professional member of Visual Arts Scotland.
Her love for the animal and human form is a constant inspiration in her work; observations of mass movement provide a rich source of material. She also takes inspiration from the precariousness of the human condition, creating work with spatial tension depicting movement captured in a moment of time.
Resting Lamb 1 & 2
Edition of 10
1. Head Up: 42x54cm
2. Head Down: 35x68cm
Graduating from the Tapestry Dept of Edinburgh College of Art in 1985, Fiona Hutchison has been designing and weaving tapestry for over 27 years. She divides her time between teaching, working to commission and developing her own work for exhibition. Passionate about tapestry weaving and the promotion of Contemporary Scottish Art, she is a council member of The Society of Scottish Artists, founder member of the European Tapestry Forum and STAR* (Scottish Tapestry Artist regrouped).
As a recipient of many grants and awards from, Creative Scotland, Theo Moorman Charitable Trust, The Hope Scott Trust, Sasakawa and Diawa Foundations, Hutchison has travelled widely to research and exhibit her work. Residences and exhibitions in Lithuania, Japan, Australia, Korea and Norway have all had a powerful influence on her creative development and allowed her to build a special relationship with textile artists all over the world.
Working to commission is another area of Hutchison's creative output, designing and weaving for private, public and corporate clients. Hutchison tapestries hang in many Scottish hospitals form Perth, to Peterhead.
"My inspiration has comes from the sea and my love of sailing. Water covers seven–tenths of the earth's surface, for some it has great beauty for others it is a destructive and frightening force. It is these two contrary views of the sea and our relationship with it that I find so fascinating.
In my current work I have been looking at the surface of the sea, the flow of water. The moon, the sea and tides are so closely linked and so beautiful described in Burns poem Ca the Yowes "Watters Wimple to the Sea" was inspired by the beautiful description of moonlight on the water's edge." Fiona Hutchison
Chad McCail was born in 1961 in Manchester and grew up in Edinburgh. He lives and works in Thankerton, South Lanarkshire. Having first read English at the University of Kent, he later graduated in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1989. His work explores the links between sexual repression, violence and unquestioning obedience. Idealistic, brightly coloured paintings are accompanied by slogan-like captions and executed in a learn-to-read font. They suggest the self-evidently desirable nature of the proposals and simultaneously question both the authoritarian nature of propaganda and the objectivity of the child's textbook. His digital works are reminiscent of educational graphics but also draw on visual sources as various as Egyptian hieroglyphs and vintage science fiction. Besides creating storyboards, free-standing panels and billboards he has published a graphic novel, Active Genital (2002) and an online sim-society game based on McCail's drawings, spring alpha, has been devised by Simon Yuill. He recently completed a 40m long series of panels on the history of compulsory education for exterior display in Edinburgh. His interest in the way we bring up children has resulted in a large digital work showing a cutaway school, Monoculture (2010) and a puberty fairy tale, Rites of Spring (2011).
Moy Mackay, born in Edinburgh, graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1990 with a BA (Hons). A Scot, born and bred, she continues to work and live in her native land today. Moy's rich vibrant works of art have attracted a steadily increasing fan base over the years, following numerous exhibitions throughout the UK and also in the US. From her home in the Scottish Borders she fuels her passion for colour and texture with an unceasing inspiration drawn from her surroundings in the beautiful Tweed Valley, using merino fleece fibres in the same way that a painter uses brushstrokes. The result is a “felt painting” of extraordinary warmth and texture. It is a fascinating, absorbing process which requires a fine balance between spontaneity and control. The wide spectrum of colours offers endless possibilities to create images of startling vibrancy and depth. It is impossible to look at one of Moy's painting and not see the pure delight that she takes in her unique craft. The exquisite, dreamlike scenes give us a glimpse into her very personal view of the land she loves and have been described as "…art with a complex process, created with integrity and a bone-deep affinity with its subject. The result is sensory bliss."
Moy works from her gallery studio in Peebles and also from Selkirk Wasps Studios.
“For ‘Ca The Yowes' I wanted to create works in honour of a very special man, who in his 88th year, and living with dementia, can still recall Ca The Yowes, each time, with a tear in his eye. These works are created from felted merino (Yowes) and silk stitches.
For as long as I can remember my dear uncle, artist John Prentice, was a constant source of inspiration for me. He would encourage me to draw and paint with him whenever I visited their home near Braco in the Perthshire hills. He converted an old roundhouse into the most amazing studio ever.
John was always “doing Burns. He was so good at it he became quite a celebrity at Burns Suppers around Perthshire and was asked many times to give either the Immortal Memory or, if he had done that, the Toast to the Lassies.
On many occasions at Glenlichorn he would sit in the kitchen and have poetry evenings. John always read Burns. He did like Ca the Yowes and he also liked John Anderson My Jo. I remember him telling us the story of singing it for his father. A thing he was called to do often. I think he felt in tune with Burns. They were both the same kind of men - he valued the man much more than material things." Moy Mackay
The Marvellous and Quite Braw Apotheosis of Robert Burns, The Ploughman Poet, into the Pantheon of Caledonian Lettrists and Makars, Chaperoned by his Ovine Beatrice, Mailie, the Tragically Strangled Yowe.2012
Etching and watercolour
Diptych: 30x30 cm & 30x15cm
£850 or £750 & £200 individually
Edition of 6
Robert Powell is an Edinburgh based artist whose work is in a variety of media. He graduated from an MA in Fine Art in 2008 and an MFA in Art Space and Nature in 2011, both at Edinburgh College of Art.
Robert Fergusson Escorts Robert Burns, The Ploughman Poet, to The Great Below, A Dreadful Auld and Reekie Place2012
Etching and watercolour
Diptych: 30x30 cm & 30x15cm
£850 or £750 & £200 individually
Edition of 6
"Depicting someone like Burns is quite difficult. So any Victorian pictures of Burns show him as a swooning genius, whose languid limbs seem to be melting with the heat of inspiration, his eyes glazed with genius, as he pens something immortal or canoodles with a country lass – a very chaste display of ‘inchastity'! The pictures seem to lack everything that made him a genius. Other people, more recently, stress his bawdiness, which suggests some kind of boorish lager lout, out of the pages of an 18th century Nuts magazine.
His poetry is his best portrait: it shows his genius to be like all genius – he is like the rest of us, but more so – a human being with a great capacity to be human and to tell us what that is. There is love and smut, irony and sensitivity and, always, a sly sort of sincerity.
I couldn't imagine how to come close to doing a portrait of all that so I decided to take the post-modern way out and paint a picture of the image of the man, all these different ways of seeing him, rather that the man himself." Robert Powell
Pringle of Scotland commissioned Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley to produce an animated film. The 3-minute animation depicts the making of jumpers and cardigans over the past 195 year history of the Scottish brand. Shrigley has used his artistic strategy of dead-pan wit and dark humour to narrate how jumpers are made today.
"My film is about the heritage and workings of Pringle of Scotland. I have perhaps used some artistic license in depicting this, but I think it is nonetheless fairly accurate. I have enjoyed making artwork for a fashion label. The characters that I draw are now better dressed as a result. In fact I used to just draw naked characters. Now they have clothes. I think this is a good thing." David Shrigley
Joana Vasconcelos (b 1971 Paris) is considered the pre-eminent Portuguese artist of her generation. Finding inspiration in the popular imagination, and examining various themes of daily life, Vasconcelos focuses on the identity politics of gender, religion, class and nationality. While consistent in occupation, her approach remains exhilaratingly open-ended.
Following the principles of the 1960s art movement Nouveau Realisme and inspired by the readymades of Marcel Duchamp, Vasconcelos' work frequently incorporates objects and materials from daily life into expansive and intricate assemblages.
Having pushed the boundaries of traditional crafts and techniques and the use of textiles as a medium, Vasconcelos crafts her work from a combination of pre-existing materials and mass-produced objects, along with hand-made crochet and knitted fabrics. Local women are invited to participate in the making process, while visitor interaction also features in other examples of the artist's work, alongside elements of theatre and performance.
Explorations of womanhood are fundamental to Vasconcelos' practice. Her interest in the feminine condition deals with issues associated with womanliness, family and conjugal life. The use of crochet alludes to an activity usually associated with women and traditional crafts, but in this instance such perceptions are rendered obsolete. Portuguese culture and history also feature in the form of traditional materials (ceramics), techniques (embroidery), and subject matter (maritime history).
Jill Watson was born in Edinburgh in 1957 and grew up on a farm in the Carse of Gowrie. She spent five years at Edinburgh College of Art and after graduating went to Italy. Here alongside the artisans of Pietrasanta she learnt to carve marble and worked in one of the many bronze foundries meeting sculptors from all over the world.
Over the last twenty years Jill has carried out many Public commissions including The Merchant Navy Memorial, Leith, The Queen's Gallery, Holyrood, The Sculpture stair, at the Hub, Edinburgh's Festival Centre, The Golden Pear Tree entrance to the Clore Learning centre at Hampton Court Palace, a series of monuments down the East Berwickshire coast commemorating the widows and children left by the Fishing disaster of 1881, bronzes for St Michael's Church, Bath and for Scottish Opera.
Jill is a figurative sculptor working with gesture, scale and space. She uses groups of figures in natural compositions walking and talking. Each figure or group needs to be given a 'presence'. Sometimes the movement of the figure is accentuated by setting it beside architectural columns.
In the Archeological Landscapes, the figure becomes minimal and used only to give scale to the columns orvast spaces.
"The sheep carvings and bronzes come from having grown up working with sheep, observing their natural groupings and interaction. Their characteristic poses convey a sense of calm and contentment. For me the subject has a strong spiritual element. The sheep sculptures symbolise the full circle of Life, from observing the first shaking moments, their strength growing, developing into mature adults, and the stillness of death; questioning the difference between body and soul. Out of the often harsh unglamorous reality of the farm emerges the perfect form of a noble beast." Jill Watson
Lamb lying flat (1) & Lamb lying alert (2)
Edition of 8
(1) 6.2 x 11.2 x 14 cm
(2) 7.7 x 14.5 x 7.7 cm
£750 (or £1375 for both)
Silvy Weatherall studied Fine Art at Camberwell College. She now lives in Dumfries with her husband Ben who is a farmer, game dealer and food producer, and their four children. She has exhibited in a number of group exhibitions and had solo shows in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Scotland. Silvy has recently completed a number of large commissions and is preparing for a solo show in London in 2013. She is also an accomplished singer and in December 2008 released a CD singing jazz favourites with the pianist Derek Paravicini, sales of which are raising funds and awareness for the AMBER Trust.
This is Wiszniewski's second showing in RBMM after launching the programme in early 2012 with a show of paintings and drawings. As well as painting and drawing, he writes both plays and novels.
The romantic and poetic nature of his work has often been remarked upon: Clare Henry (former Glasgow Herald and Financial Times art critic) has described his work as being "poetic, yet idiosyncratic visions - big pictures with big impact, colourful fantasies of sunlit brilliance." His work is indisputably highly distinctive and his use of colour masterful.
Wiszniewski's name first became known in the early 1980s as a prominent member of the New Glasgow Boys who challenged the dominance of abstract, minimal and conceptual art and led the revival of figurative painting in Scottish art.
Since then he has worked in media such as neon, printmaking, ceramics, film, stage design and has branched out into performance pieces as well as, most recently, writing. In October 2011 his first novel Touching Cloth was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize.
"When I was young I felt that Robert Burns was very much a symbol of the establishment which I found off-putting. However when I was invited to work on this exhibition I welcomed the opportunity to revisit Burns. I genuinely enjoyed reading his poetry and now see him quite differently. In many ways he was way ahead of his time and I see his work as being inseparable from the ages of romanticism and enlightenment." Adrian Wiszniewski