New Exhibitions at Gracefield

Gracefield Arts Centre presents exhibitions by two well-know local artist this month. The first show opening in Gallery 2 on Friday 4 August is Immerse, a new body of landscape work by Lochmaben-based Minette Bell Macdonald.

Minette is inspired by the local area and the new work draws on her fascination with landscape and equine subjects, with eight of the horse studies to be auctioned to raise funds for Ukraine in a silent auction. A wide selection of the stunning landscapes are also available to buy. Minette say of her work: “Landscape feeding Abstract, Abstract feeding Landscape. I feel my way through life with paint.”

Minette graduated from Carlisle College of Art with a First-Class Honours Degree in Fine Art and has since exhibited in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bath, and Boston USA – but this is her first solo show at Gracefield. Her father, Alan Bell Macdonald, was on the committee that helped establish Gracefield as an arts centre back in the 1950s, and one of Minettes’ 1990 graduation pieces was purchased for the permanent collection. This new exhibition offers an opportunity to see where her practice is now and reflect on a long and successful career so far. All are welcome to attend the private view on Thursday 3 August at 6.30pm, but please book/rsvp in advance. The exhibition runs until 30 September.

Opening on the 12 August in Gallery 1, Alexander Robb brings his 50 Years of Painting to Gracefield. Born in Kirkwall, Orkney in 1950, Alexander studied Glasgow School of Art from 1968 to 1972. He taught art in Stirling from 1974 to 1978 and moved to Dumfriesshire in 1978. Working full-time as a primary school art specialist he then changed to part-time teaching in 1989. Many of his past pupils will remember him and his wife Margaret Robb, also and artist and teacher from their school days, often cover more than one generation in local families. He finally gave up teaching completely in 2007 to concentrate more fully on painting and has continued to create new works in oil, pastel – and more recently, printmaking.

His work has been shown in many group shows at Gracefield, at the Royal Glasgow Institute (RGI) the Society Scottish Artists (SSA) and private galleries. For this retrospective, Alexander has borrowed many works from private collections together with some new work (available to buy) and works from the Gracefield permanent collection, to showcase over 80 artworks. The exhibition opening event is Saturday 12 August between 2-4pm. Please rsvp to [email protected], or call 01387 262084. The exhibition continues to 7 October.

Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, who will be attending the launch events said: “This is a fabulous opportunity to see two of the region’s best professional artists – a significant body of work from both, and they should be rightly proud of their achievement.”
Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon added: “As usual, there is lots to do and see at Gracefield – exhibitions are always free and a new season of kids and adults’ workshop will be getting underway in September, so there’s a chance to explore some hands-on creativity for all ages.”

To hear from the artist first hand, there is a Conversation Café gallery event on Saturday 2 September at 11am. The artists will lead a free guided tour of the exhibitions, followed by tea/coffee and an informal chat. Please pre-book on 01387 262084 or email [email protected]

The exhibitions are open at Gracefield Arts Centre, 28 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries. Admission is free and open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.

For more information on what’s on at Gracefield and all Dumfries and Galloway Council’s other arts and museums visit www.DGCulture.co.uk


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