An extra visual treat for book festival-goers

Pic Greg Macvean, 07/06/2011, Dame Elizabeth Blackadder who has a retrospective exhibition of her paintings opening soon at the National Gallery
Pic Greg Macvean, 07/06/2011, Dame Elizabeth Blackadder who has a retrospective exhibition of her paintings opening soon at the National Gallery
0
Have your say

A COLLECTION of paintings which includes works by John Byrne and Elizabeth Blackadder, as well as three members of the same family, is set to arrive in Melrose next month.

And its organiser Robin McClure hopes the decision to run the Ormiston Institute event – simply entitled Scottish Art – at the same time as the Borders Book Festival will attract a large audience.

John Byrne - PICTURED TODAY FOR SOS REVIEW , AIDEN SMITH IONTERVIEW. PHIL WILKINSON / TSPL'John Byrne

John Byrne - PICTURED TODAY FOR SOS REVIEW , AIDEN SMITH IONTERVIEW. PHIL WILKINSON / TSPL'John Byrne

Robin said: “It just seemed an opportune moment to host an exhibition when there are people attending a literary festival who are likely to be also interested in art.

“I believe the book festival has been looking to include other arts apart from literature in their programme so it would be nice if there could be a connection in the future. The audience is already there.”

The McClure family story is one surrounded by art, from Robin’s well-known father David, to Robin’s Jolomo Award-winning son Calum and sister Paola. Works by all three generations are also included in the exhibition.

A former director of painting at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, Robin added: “My father’s father was involved in furniture design and making. My dad then went to art college and became a successful artist in his own right, becoming a tutor at Dundee College of Art.

“I suppose that background influenced my life, as well as my sister’s.

“My son has similarly been influenced by the Scottish artistic scene.

“All of their work is very different. It can be quite difficult for someone whose parents or relatives are artists and initially they can be influenced by their family member’s work.

“All artists want to find is their own voice and in my son’s case he has done that.”

Alongside John Byrne, also a playwright best known for his 1980s TV series Tutti Frutti starring Robbie Coltrane, and arguably Scotland’s greatest living female artist Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, is Borders talent such as David Michie – son of Galashiels-born artist Anne Redpath – David Cass of Stow and West Linton-based Victoria Crowe.

Asked how he gathered the collection together, Dunfermline-based Robin explained: “I have come into contact with a number of the artists during my years at The Scottish Gallery, while the younger contemporaries, such as Liam Allan and David Cass, I have met through my son.

“But they all share my admiration for their work and I am delighted they have agreed to show some of their paintings.

“John Byrne is a fantastic chap who is so talented, whether it is writing or visual art. I have always got along with him very well and two or three of his pieces will be included in the exhibition.”

Others in the showcase include George Devlin, Barbara Rae, Gordon Bryce, Alexandra Gardner, Henry Kondracki, Lynn McGregor and Ann Oram.

Robin added: “I hope people will enjoy coming along and they are welcome to discuss the art with myself. I think art galleries should be approachable, rather than the stern image that can sometimes make them off-putting for people.”

Scottish Art runs from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 17, from 10am to 5pm each day, apart from Sunday, when the exhibition closes at 4pm.

For further details contact Robin McClure at robin@mcclureart.co.uk