A celebration of Scottish artists across time

First ever exhibition dedicated to exploring the different ways that drawing in Scotland has shaped the work of some of the country’s most celebrated artists, designers and makers across time.

The art of Scottish drawing is celebrated in Lines from Scotland a new exhibition featuring work by three generations of painters, sculptors, textile designers, musicians and makers including rarely seen works by Elizabeth Blackadder, Andy Goldsworthy, Dorothy Hogg, David Shrigley and Inge Thomson among others.

Running from 9 November to 22 February 2020 at St Andrew’s Museum and and touring to Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries (7 Mar-10 May) and Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries (16 May-25 July) Lines from Scotland curated by Amanda Game in collaboration with Diana Sykes of Fife Contemporary invites us to appreciate the ‘modesty and mastery’ in selected works by 23 artists.

Hand-drawn pencil and ink lines share space with lines from the etching press, and lines incised into ceramic surfaces; some lines are modelled in wire or woven as threads; lines are animated, scored as music and shaped into words and poems.

These lines conjure atmosphere and detail in the Scottish landscape in works such as Wilhelmina Barns Graham’s Vortex, and Frances Walker’s Storm Beach Fank as well as urban responses from Carol Rhodes and Norma Starszakowna. There is human intimacy in the personal portraits by Elizabeth Blackadder and John Houston and we get under the surface of things in Dorothy Hogg’s silver Artery brooches and Lucy Skaer’s layered Chine collé prints.

Exploring new contexts for drawing, David Shrigley’s Life Behind the Scenes animation commissioned by Pringle of Scotland is on show alongside the work of Susie Leiper whose calligraphy of lines by poet Sorley MacLean appear on the Royal Bank of Scotland’s new £5 note.

Andy Goldsworthy’s My Arm. Black Mud Dumfriesshire, Scotland. April 2012, reflects one of the common threads of the exhibition: each exhibitor’s attentive immersion in and close observation of specific human and material environments.

Many observations include studies of plants from images by Rory McEwen and Lizzie Sanders to Frances Priest’s designs for door furniture created during the ‘Patterns of Flora’ project for Raasay House, Michael Lloyds chased beakers or Hanna Tuulikki’s hand drawn musical score transposing the form of Viola Tricolor into music for into music for High Heels & Horsehair’s violin and cello.

Further collaboration with music comes from textile artist Deirdre Nelson working with Inge Thomson and Shetland’s culture. The origin of writing as a form of hand drawn line in everyday practical life is emphasised in works such as Ian Hamilton Finlay’s BCK75 (PROEM) which appears in the form of a drawing, screenprint and tapestry that collectively reflect the inscriptions found on Scottish fishing boats. Hamilton Finlay’s friend and fellow poet Thomas A Clark suggests in a series of simple cards, produced with artist Laurie Clark, ‘In small things delight is intense’. All drawings suggest the joy of looking more closely at the world around us.

Curator Amanda Game said: ‘Acts of looking and the practice of close observation through drawing lies at the heart of the work in Lines from Scotland and has guided the selection of the 23 exhibitors included.

‘In this exhibition I wanted to explore how drawing continues to be central to the communication and development of some very different ideas here in Scotland, and how this overtly very modest act can create a particular intimacy between artist and viewer that encourages all of us to look more closely at the world around us.

‘I am very grateful to all the artists and designers, or their representatives, for taking the time to work with myself and Diana to select and loan works for the exhibition.’

Diana Sykes, director, Fife Contemporary, added: ‘I have been fascinated to discover the many connections across very different artists and practices selected by Amanda and I am excited to see further conversations between the works once they are physically brought together. Lines from Scotland demonstrates that the fundamental human need to make marks to work out and express ideas crosses media and time.’