News - Summer Exhibition at The Scottish Gallery

This July, The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh welcomes Summer Exhibition, with a range of works from artists Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, John Brown, Jake Harvey, Kurt Jackson and Alex Knubley...

Press Release

The Scottish Gallery's Summer Exhibition promises a vibrant collection of renowned artists, showcasing
Wilhelmina Barns Graham’s A Life in Colour, John Brown’s My Garden, Jake Harvey’s Honed, Kurt
Jackson’s The Burn A Scottish Millstream and Alex Knubley’s The Growing Season. This grouping
of works culminates in a dynamic showcase of the Scottish Summer which includes sculptural works
in the Gallery’s garden.

Wilhelmina Barns Graham’s collection of works featured in the Summer Exhibition showcases an
artistic journey of over 40 years. The works included in A Life in Colour all share a close observation
of the natural world, making use of summery shades of orange, yellow and brown redolent of
sunshine and sand, and heat Barns Graham took her success as an artist in St Ives to Balmungo
House; a family home near St Andrews which triggered a new phase in her life from where she
engaged with the Scottish art world From this moment she divided her time between the two
coastal communities, simultaneously establishing herself as much as a Scottish artist as a St Ives

In her works, Barns Graham explores the dividing line between what she described as ‘inward
perception’ and ‘outward observation’. Her series, named after the magnificent beach
in St Ives over which Barns Graham’s various studios have looked for 60 years, shows different
times of day, with different weather and atmospheric and tidal conditions reflecting decades of
observation of this specific location. Attuned to both the subtle and dramatic changes and rich
variety of conditions that could exist on the beach, Barns-Graham was selective to moments she, in
different ways, wanted to capture.

John Brown will also be showcasing his rich and vibrant mixed-media paintings reflecting a garden’s
cycle of growth and the promise of regeneration. His works detail the softer elements of nature and
My Garden demonstrates the fragility of living things. As an artist, Brown is inspired by the two dimensional
geometry of a canvas juxtaposed with the organic shape of growth, and is particularly
passionate about sweet peas. John Brown states, "they last only one season from seed to flower,
often grown in a trellis or support on which they climb, forming a screen of pattern and colour. I love
their structure and an endless supply of blooms."

The seven large paintings in My Garden address the challenge of marrying organic shapes with a flat
abstract background, exploring the sculptural through two-dimensional aesthetics. The textural
surfaces of the paintings are built up using layers of washes with the addition of collage in some
cases. Brown’s use of colour is often reduced to a monochromatic palette, emphasizing the gentle
growth of nature and highlighting the more vibrant sections of his works.

To complement Brown’s exploration of flat surfaces and 3D subjects, Jake Harvey will be presenting
a new collection of sculptural works in Honed. Harvey is a sculptor whose elemental works, imbued
with stillness, sense-stimulus and a sophisticated Zen-like simplicity compliment the other
meditative paintings seen throughout the Summer Exhibition. Working predominantly with earthly
materials including cast iron, Harvey’s preferred medium is stone. He carves granite, basalt, marble
and limestone, often placing or attaching the simple abstract forms directly on the wall or floor.

Harvey comments, "I have lived and worked from my studio in the rural landscape of the Scottish
Borders all my life: a landscape, geologically configured in deep time, utilised, worked, and modified
throughout human existence. Our reliance on earth’s stone is deeply embedded in my consciousness.
Increasingly intrigued by the relationship of man to the earth, his sculptures frequently evolve from
lived encounters with the landscape."

From the intimate setting of Brown’s garden and Harvey’s elemental roots, Kurt Jackson introduces
his works inspired by residencies and explorations of plein-air in his collection, The Burn – A Scottish
Millstream. Jackson has been exhibiting worldwide since the 1980s but has often returned to
Scotland for inspiration. Jackson’s artistic practice ranges from his trademark visceral plein-air
sessions to studio work and he embraces an extensive range of materials and techniques. His love
for wide and natural spaces has led to artist-in-residencies on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, at
the Eden Project, and for 20 years he has been artist-in-residence at Glastonbury Festival.

The works featured in The Scottish Gallery’s Summer Exhibition show the complexity, diversity and fragility of the natural world. The Burn – A Scottish Millstream is inspired by Jackson’s journey along the Kintyre peninsula, down to its southern end near Campbeltown, where he stayed in an ancient water mill – still and silent yet in perfect working order. Here Jackson was influenced by the prehistoric rock carvings and roaring windfarm, documenting the dark coast with pencil and paintbrush, tracing every curve and meander, overhanging tree and washed rock.

The Summer Exhibition also marks Alex Knubley’s return to The Scottish Gallery with The Growing Season in the Garden Gallery. Knubley works using a distinctive painting technique whereby she uses oil and beeswax, building up multiple layers of colour to create a rich, sculptural surface. Her paintings evoke the open landscapes familiar from holidays in the Outer and Inner Hebrides, architectural subjects, and the deep woodlands of the Scottish Borders and West Lothian.
Knubley’s process is a meditative one with the length of time spent working on a painting sometimes extended for months, allowing for complete drying time and a significant and enforced period of reflection. This intense relationship with her paintings makes for an immensely satisfying finish and, as a trained horticulturalist, Knubley grounds herself in the tending and shaping of The Scottish Gallery garden - an endeavor she has worked on since 2015.

Summer Exhibition runs from Thursday 30th June – Saturday 23rd July 2022 at The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ

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