ART TODAY - Return to Scotland - October 2019

scotlandOn Tuesday 8th October members of the Art Today Group travelled to Scotland for the second time. Based at the Premier Inn on Princes’ Street we made an early start on Wednesday morning, to visit the City Arts Centre in Market Street. We discovered a hidden gem of a gallery with a superb exhibition, showing the work of Victoria Crowe, who moved from London to the Borders in 1968. Her paintings of the Pentland Hills and her shepherd neighbour, Jenny, were stunning. We could have spent more time with Victoria Crowe’s work, but lunch and the Dovecot Studios beckoned.

The main exhibition in the Studios was ‘The Life Of Julie’ by Grayson Perry. The huge tapestries presented a compelling narrative, with additional audio -visual information about ‘Julie’s House’, Grayson Perry’s art work in Essex, which maybe on our visit list for next year.

The unexpected delight was a visit to the viewing gallery to see weavers at work in the Dovecot Studios. We were delighted by the colourful, wonderfully light space, transformed from its previous use as a swimming pool.

Some energetic members of the group finished the day with a visit to the National Art Gallery, others chose tea and rest!

On Thursday the 9.28 train from Waverley Station took us to Dundee through glorious scenery, including the delight of crossing the Firth of Forth in bright sunshine. We didn’t need directions to find the V&A gallery in Dundee, as we left the station it was between us and the river. We walked around the remarkable building designed by Kengo Kuma in 2010. It does indeed fulfil his brief to reconnect Dundee to the River Tay and to its maritime history.

The gallery was between temporary exhibitions, but we spent time in the Scottish Design Galleries, enjoying particularly the £1.3m restoration of the ‘Ingram Street Tea Rooms’ the original work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Miss Catherine Cranston in 1908.

After lunch in the V&A, we walked to the Dundee Contemporary Art Gallery to see the work of Alberta Whittle. The artist used early 16th century texts to explore the arrival of Columbus in Barbados and the subsequent suppression of indigenous people. Sculptures, paintings and film created a powerful and disconcerting narrative.

On Friday we visited the two Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art. Beginning in Gallery 2, we made our way around a big exhibition, ‘Cut and Paste; 400 years of collage.’ From the delicate, work of many Victorian ladies to some surprising work by John Piper, Duncan Grant, Max Ernst, Man Ray and of course the start of modern collage in 1912, Pablo Picasso.

We walked across the road to Modern Art 1 to see paintings by Gwen Johns, Michael Armitage, Dorothy Tanning, Magritte, Dali, Picasso & many more including a room devoted to Leon Kossof and Francis Bacon. Some of the group had enough energy to visit the Open Eye Studio before our last meal in Edinburgh and preparations for the return journey on Saturday.

Our thanks to Anna Diamond for planning the itinerary and George Davies for researching the travel and hotel bookings.

Pat Davies