Scotland’s Dovecot Studios, in partnership with The Scottish Gallery, will mark the artist Jock McFadyen’s 70th birthday year with an exhibition of recent paintings which describe the romance and grandeur of the Scottish landscape, alongside the urban dystopia for which the artist is known.
Christina Jansen, director of The Scottish Gallery, comments, McFadyen paints the exterior world with a cool detachment that carries an emotional punch, and Lost Boat Party perfectly describes his approach – floating through the landscape to find and show the strange enigmatic portion only seen when looking for something else. The painting Lost Boat Party is a monumental work, depicting a seaside funfair which appears to have detached itself from the land and is slowly drifting out to sea. The metaphor for the human condition is unavoidable, and many of the paintings in the exhibition describe the sea with all its implications of threat and indifference, as well as painterly possibility.
Over twenty large paintings will feature in Lost Boat Party, highlighting McFadyen’s understanding of the sublime landscape tradition. It is no accident that the artist was taught by a generation of abstract painters whose presence is felt in these paintings describing the contemporary world; paintings such as Mallaig and Estuary Music are almost minimalist, and all the paintings – save for one which has a tiny figure, difficult to find at only half an inch tall – are void of human presence, instead inviting the viewer to inhabit the haunting and occasionally hostile panoramas of land and sea before them.
Over the last seven months, Dovecot has collaborated with McFadyen to make a new artwork inspired by his paintings. The Mallaig Commission will be unveiled at the exhibition, along with documentation of the collaboration. In working with Dovecot, McFadyen joins a roster of Royal Academicians including David Hockney, Graham Sutherland, Barbara Rae and Chris Ofili.