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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Culture and Leisure

Painting and Sculpture

By Philip Long

GUM cover In Glasgow following World War Two, a number of individuals and initiatives provided impetus for the continuing development of art in the city. The exhibitions of the New Scottish Group, founded by J D Fergusson (1874-1961) and Margaret Morris (1891-1980), provided rare exhibiting opportunities for young artists outside the conventional route of the Royal Glasgow Institute. Under the directorship of Tom Honeyman (1891-1971), Glasgow Art Gallery put on major exhibitions of Matisse and Picasso (1946) and of Van Gogh (1948).

Glasgow School of Art In 1949 a major outdoor sculpture exhibition was held in Kelvingrove Park, which included several Scottish sculptors. In the same year Joan Eardley (1921-1963) returned to Glasgow and began to produce studies of the street life of the Glasgow tenements which have a strong social awareness. Artists such as Jack Knox (b.1936) and William Crozier (b.1930), who in the 1950s also studied at Glasgow School of Art, produced work in an equally expressive but more abstract idiom, while subsequent students such as Colin Cina (b.1943) in the 1960s developed a more purely abstract type of painting. A preference for figurative art, which has dominated Glasgow School of Art for most of the 20th century, flourished in particular during the 1980s under the tutelage of Alexander Moffat (b.1943).

In particular Moffat's students Steven Campbell (b.1953), Adrian Wiszniewski (b.1958), Peter Howson (b.1958), Stephen Conroy (b.1964) and Ken Currie (b.1960), have become widely recognised for their often large-scale, narrative paintings. Independent galleries have played an important role throughout the period, with the establishment of the New Charing Cross Gallery in 1963, succeeded by the Compass Gallery in 1969, while the setting up of the Glasgow Print Studio in 1972 was one of the first of now several important local initiatives providing production facilities for artists.

In recent years Glasgow School of Art has continued to attract and foster an extraordinary breadth of talent, its students making work dealing with a broad range of concerns and utilising media such as film, installation and text. The best-known, such as Douglas Gordon (b.1966) and Christine Borland (b.1965) who early in their careers exhibited at Glasgow's artist-run Transmission Gallery, have achieved an international recognition at a level arguably unprecedented among Scottish artists.

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