Top Scottish portrait and photography exhibitions to see this week

Alison Watt beside her self-portrait. Picture: Jayne Wright
Alison Watt beside her self-portrait. Picture: Jayne Wright
Share this article
Have your say

A SELF-PORTRAIT by one of Scotland’s most acclaimedrenowned artists yesterday became the first piece acquired by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery since its much-heralded re-opening in December 2011.

Alison Watt’s self-portrait - a rare example of a figurative painting from an artist whose work is now predominantly comprised of paintings of fabrics and materials - is dated circa 1986-87 and shows the Glasgow School of Art graduate covering her forehead with her right hand; Watt was apparently unwell at the time of the painting.

Watt’s early foray into portrait painting is yet another example of the depth and variety of Scottish portraiture; The Scotsman picks some highlights of other portrait painting and photography exhibits by Scottish artists worth a look over the next few weeks.

George Jamesone: Scotland’s First Portrait Painter

1st December 2011 − 31st December 2013, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

George Jamesone was Scotland’s first portrait painter of renown; emerging in the early 17th century and rising to prominence by its third decade, Jameson’s paintings typically portrayed people of relative wealth: aristocrats, academics, lawyers and monarchs.

Alan Dimmick: Photographs from the last 15 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland

17th February - 13th May 2012, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

Alan Dimmick’s rarely-seen collection of over 300 photographs quietly catalogues Glasgow’s creative culture from the mid 1990s onwards, featuring an array of art school graduates and musicians commingling at art exhibitions and gigs. Turner prize winner Simon Starling and Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos feature among the stream of fresh-faced artists.

The Glasgow Boys

Ongoing, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

This exhibit from the Glasgow Boys, a sprawling and widely-celebrated collective of turn-of-the-20th century artists with strong ties to Glasgow and an affinity for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist styles, was acclaimed as one of the Kelvingrove’s most popular exhibits in memory. Though portraiture forms only a fraction of the overall collection, the exhibit is nevertheless an essential document of Scottish art at one of its creative peaks.

Hot Scots

1st December 2011 − 3rd June 2012, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

An altogether more contemporary collection, Hot Scots is a vibrant exhibit of high-profile Scots in the fields of television, cinema, art and music that includes some quirky shots of The Thick Of It’s Armando Iannuci and Tom Kitchin.