Mixing up ‘A Scottish Palette’!

It was all hands on deck at the Collections Unit last week as we prepared for our new temporary exhibition at the Gateway Galleries, A Scottish Palette.

What’s it all about?

This exhibition highlights the work of eight of Scotland’s most prominent contemporary artists, including the likes of Elizabeth Blackadder, John Byrne and Alexander Moffat. Uniting for the first time work from the collections of the University and the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA), A Scottish Palette celebrates the richness and diversity of contemporary Scottish art, as well as the life and work of each artist. Putting this exhibition together has been a brilliant opportunity to explore the wonderful art collections of both of these historic institutions and we are very excited about having the chance to share these with you.

Alexander Moffat is just one of the artist's featured in the exhibition.
Alexander Moffat is just one of the artist’s featured in the exhibition.

Creating the exhibition

A Scottish Palette is the result of four months of planning by myself and Rebecca, this year’s Curatorial Trainees, and it’s been a great opportunity for us to gain more experience in creating exhibitions. Our starting point for the exhibition was the idea of uniting the collections of the University with those of the RSA. From here we began to research artists who might be included, and then visited the RSA to view possible works to display. Narrowing down which artists to have in the exhibition was a difficult process but eventually we selected eight individuals through considering which works were available for each one, and their importance to the contemporary Scottish art scene. With the artists and artworks chosen we went on to plan the layout of the gallery, write labels and much, much more!

Installation Week

After all the preparation, we were very excited when we finally began to install the exhibition last week. One of the main tasks was to hang the works on loan from the RSA, so it was when they arrived on Tuesday that things really got started. Despite all the months of planning the layout of the gallery, we were still on tenterhooks as the works were going up on the wall – seeing them in situ in the gallery is very different from looking at them on a computer screen!

Installing John Byrne's 'Smoking Beach Boy' from the RSA
Installing John Byrne’s RSA Diploma work, ‘Smoking Beach Boy’, was a particular highlight of installation week.

Thankfully all the planning paid off and everything went smoothly! With just a bit more case-cleaning and last-minute label adjusting, A Scottish Palette was ready for our preview event on Friday. We were especially delighted to have Alexander Moffat, one of the artists who features in the exhibition, to open it.

A glimpse of the new exhibition
A glimpse of the new exhibition.

A Scottish Palette is now open until 1st March, so make sure you pop down to the Gateway Galleries to see it. We also have lots of great events planned, from whisky tasting to artist talks and you can find more details of these on our website or in one of our What’s On booklets.

Deirdre Mitchell, Curatorial Trainee (Collections)

  • A Scottish Palette is open until 1st March 2014 at the Gateway Galleries, St Andrews, KY16 9RJ
  • Opening Times: Monday –  Friday 9am – 3:45pm. Saturday 12noon – 4pm

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