Press Release: Surge, Upland Exhibition Opening in Edinburgh on Friday 1 September


Upland presents new work by a dozen established and emerging Dumfries and Galloway artists and makers at Patriothall Gallery

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Maggie Ayres in her studio
Maggie Ayres in her studio

Surge, an exhibition of contemporary and experimental art from one of Scotland’s most rural regions, is soon to open in Edinburgh.

It is intended to underline the diversity and freshness of art and craft from Dumfries and Galloway.

Contributors include established national and international painters like Amy Winstanley, Bea Last and Aspect and Threadneedle prizewinner Patricia Cain.

There will also be work by ceramicist Andrew Adair, photographer Colin Tennant and mixed media artists Denise Zygadlo, Maggie Ayres, Silvana McLean, Sarah Stewart and Katie Anderson.

Morag Paterson, known internationally for her stills photography will be breaking new ground with a video installation. A second video installation is being contributed by emerging artist Rory Laycock.

Surge is the first exhibition to be organised by Upland, a young arts development agency from Dumfries and Galloway, and will take place at Patriothall Gallery from 2 to 10 September, with a special preview at 6-8pm on Friday, 1 September.

Joyce Woodcock, Upland Interim Director, said: “The emphasis is on new works by all the artists involved and shows how they are pushing forward with new ideas and new mediums.

“It emphasises that rural does not necessarily mean traditional.

“The hallmark of the creative community in Dumfries and Galloway is its diversity. It’s a real pleasure to be able to present an exhibition full of fresh and experimental work by an exciting mix of established and emerging artists and makers.”

Upland CIC was established two years ago as an advocate for artists and makers in Dumfries and Galloway. It evolved out of Spring Fling, Scotland’s premier visual art and craft open studios event, which is now run by Upland.

The exhibition catalogue foreword has been written by Dr Tina Fiske who has been based in Penpont, Dumfries and Galloway, for more than 10 years. Until April 2016 she was a Lecturer in Contemporary Art and Curating in the History of Art department at the University of Glasgow. Since then she has created CAMPLE LINE, an independent arts organisation dedicated to presenting thought-provoking international contemporary art and film.

Dr Fiske said: “Some of the works included in Surge feel like arrivals, others departures. Collectively, they speak of Dumfries and Galloway as an increasingly dynamic context for practice.

“Upland’s developmental insight into that context has lent itself well to curatorial instinct – it understands that it is the works themselves that make the argument for this exhibition.”

Helena Ward, Creative Industries Manager at Creative Scotland said: “Developed by emerging Dumfries and Galloway arts agency, Upland, this, their first exhibition, offers a strong opportunity for rurally-based artists to show new experimental work to a national audience.”

 Some of those taking part will be moving beyond their usual areas of practice to – including Bea Last whose contributions follow her 2016 Cove Park residency.

Last said: “My practice is process-led and this new work is a result of time spent at Cove Park on a visual arts residency. I am exploring what I refer to as ‘sculptural paintings and drawings’, to challenge our perceptions of painting and through them to question our relationship and placement in society locally, nationally and globally.”

All those taking part have strong links to Dumfries and Galloway. Most are based there while others have studios elsewhere.

The exhibition is possible thanks to support from a variety of organisations including Creative Scotland the Rural Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Programme, Dumfries and Galloway Council and The Holywood Trust.

  • Patriothall is an artist-run space at 1 Patriothall, Edinburgh EH3 5AY which specialises in exhibiting the work of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists. See