The Skinny's 2018 Scottish Art Events Diary

The new year brings a new Glasgow International with a cyborg theme, as well as Collective's much-anticipated new Observatory gallery, plus new exhibitions, projects and curatorial enterprises across Scotland

Article by Adam Benmakhlouf | 05 Jan 2018

2018's visual art schedule for Scotland is already looking jam-packed – and these are just the events that have already been announced. We've not even got to Edinburgh Art Festival, or long term programming for most of the artist-run galleries. Here are a few of our highlights for the year ahead; as usual check back in the monthly print edition for our updated exhibition guides, and head to for the revamped Art News, now featuring funding and learning opportunities galore. 

Glasgow exhibition highlights 2018

Beginning the new year in the Centre for Contemporary Art, there is the remaining run of a three-person show (Sarah Rose, Susannah Stark, Hanna TuulikkiLilt, Twang, Tremor until 14 Jan) examining the politics and production of voice. As the CCA's first new show of the year, Rehana Zaman presents Speaking Nearby (10 Feb-25 Mar), which will bring together the TV soap, a cooking demo, humour, Prevent legislation and general state surveillance. Following Zaman, from 19 April-3 June Ross Birrell will exhibit a film work combining the cityscape of New York with myth and certain notable breeds of horse, that are now in decline. Then from 16 June-29 July, there’s experimental architecture from Jonas Staal, who creates new parliaments in alternative spaces for stateless and blacklisted political organisations around the world. Later, from 11 August-16 September, there’s an exhibition on the enigmatic Czech new wave filmmaker Ester Krumbachová, who was blacklisted following Soviet ‘normalisation’.

For their first event of the year, on 13 January Tramway will host a performance of renowned choreographer Pina Bausch's work The NELKEN-Line. They then show Glasgow painting legend Steven Campbell’s experimental collage works (20 Jan-25 Mar). Then from 16 February-18 March, Tramway present a survey of the acclaimed Glasgow-based artist and filmmaker Margaret Salmon.

In Platform, until 11 February they begin the year with the continuing exhibition of Helen De Main’s huge locally-based project and large-scale prints of the participants in her consciousness-raising group which ran from the venue during 2016-17. As part of Glasgow International (GI), artist Jessica Ramm turns her attention to work and domestic spaces as part of an installation, while the curatorial project Love Unlimited arrange artists around and inside Platform’s public pool. They also host the project of artists Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford, who are currently conducting research into the unpaid labour that sustains Glasgow International itself (27 Apr-2 May). On a different note, there will be a screening in Platform of a film by Henry Coombes titled Love and Lithium. In this, he follows the life of a 68-year-old larger than life Glaswegian (28-29 Apr).

GSA Exhibitions begin the year with a collaboration between their students and the National Institute of Fashion and Textiles in Gandhinagar, then events and talks on the topic of art professionalism and an attendant exhaustion. There is then a major Glasgow International exhibition in April featuring the work of innovative DIY/digital artist Torsten Lauschmann. They also feature works and projects from artists and researchers working within the School, including critic Bruce Peter’s collection of materials and information on the last great Clyde-built passenger liner, the QE2 (10 Feb-4 Mar), and artist Susanne Nørregård Nielsen’s playful interdisciplinary work that responds to ideas of design from a 1920s text on decorative design by a Zurich-based teacher of Design and Embroidery in late spring.

Later in the year from June to August, there are also projects on the ‘bestial, existential and instinctual side of our political and civic life,’ as well as showing a collection of posters from the GSA Film Club that ran during the 70s-90s in September. In December they close the year with a study on the medical ultrasound from a Product Design standpoint, followed by the recipient of the Steven Campbell New York Scholarship, painter Claire Paterson.

For Glasgow’s Mary Mary, which has recently moved to a new space on 51 Oswald Street, painter Jonathan Gardner is their first programmed artist of the year. Gardner works with reference to several points of 20th century art history, namely Pablo Picasso, Surrealist René Magritte and a casual everyday tone that’s often in the work of prolific and experimental American portraitist Alex Katz. For Glasgow International, Mary Mary then present the New York-based artist Rose Marcus, whose large form photographic works – usually based on the spaces of NYC – often have the unconventional composition and sometimes blurred look of accidentally taken photographs.

During September (dates TBA), the gallery then shows sculptor Ektor Garcia, who combines traditional Mexican craft elements and techniques with found objects into altar-like arrangements or talismans, 'referencing eroticism, power, borderlines, survival, resistance and desire.' Finally, in November, artist Amanda Ross-Ho returns to Glasgow following this year's successful show in Tramway, using elements of scale and garment-making to consider economic production, overlooked labour and industrial time.

For Transmission in Glasgow, February to March brings artist Delaine Le Bas, whose work begins from the Traveller experience, and works with the culture and often disturbing effaced histories of regulation and control of Romany populations. For Glasgow International, Transmission present iQhiya, a South African-based collective of young black women artists, a group that arose from 'conversations… around colonial institutional spaces, art, history and politics, resulting ultimately in a shared project of communal creative support.' There will also be an open call to the gallery's members to show work in the space during the summer, followed by a Scottish solo show by Edinburgh-based painter, Rabiya Choudhry, whose bright and graphic paintings combine references to pop culture, nostalgia, personal histories, surreal narrative snapshots and imaginary characters.

Queens Park Railway Club have one exhibition in place so far for 2018, by the Glasgow-based painter Michael Fullerton, who combines critical historical portraiture with material experimentation.

For David Dale’s 2018 schedule, they’ve already plotted in two solo shows. One is by Lithuania-based sculptor Augustas Serapinas for Glasgow International from 20 April-19 May, whose works often intermingle with the social and work relations of the spaces in which he exhibits. Later, from 16 June-14 July, there is an exhibition from painter Stephanie Hier, who combines sublime landscapes and cartoon representations of animals and food.

Continuing its programme of contemporary art exhibitions, House for an Art Lover opens 2018 with a continuing exhibition (until 4 Mar) of drawings and sculpture of Objects of Celebration by Claire Heminsley. Then from 10 March-9 April they present the works of Ross Hamilton Frew, who works across collage, drawing and pulped paper works to 'blur the line between the handmade and machine made.' For Glasgow International, they have programmed a two-person project between photographer Tine Bek and sculptor Paul Deslandes, with the working title of Ility (20 Apr-8 May). Later in House for an Art Lover, they present Lesley Punton from 26 May-16 July. In her practice, Punton combines drawing, printmaking and text in an enquiry into Scottish landscape. After Punton’s exhibition, House for an Art Lover will then have a group show, followed by a showcase of the artist Ronnie Forbes’ idiosyncratic and imaginative paintings and films.

In Telfer Gallery, Leontios Toumpouris presents the outcome of his research which has looked in part into alchemy, and its relations to bodily chemistry and film stock. Then for Glasgow International, the performance-based artist Carrie Skinner will present a new exhibition of work.

Still in Glasgow, 16 Nicholson Street begin the year with the second edition of their mentorship programme, Atelier Monday. They are then the site for the project Girlz Club, a performance-based group show. Further into the year, they will present an exhibition themed around the history and myth of the Titanic.

For the Modern Institute, 2018 brings five new exhibitions that have been planned so far. Walter Price begins their year with his gestural, semi-abstract and evocative small painted works. There is then a project with Glasgow-based artist-curatorial team Thank You Very Much. For Glasgow International, The Modern Institute will present the work of Duggie Fields, whose career spans the 60s until the present and several art historical movements. Running at the same time, there is an exhibition by New York-based artist Urs Fischer who creates large-scale installation and sculptures referencing genres traditionally evoked in painting – portraits, landscapes, nudes and still lifes. Also during GI, the gallery will present the uncanny and surreal works of the painter Nicolas Party.

Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow have many gallery and off-site projects planned for the year ahead that look variously to Argentine human rights protests (Marcelo Brodsky, The Fire of Ideas, 10 Feb-7 Apr), intimate personal relationships (James Pfaff, Alex and Me, 19 Apr-1 Jul) and site specific historical enquiry (Britannia Panopticon, La Nuit de l’Instant, from 26 Apr, and Steven Berkoff, The Gorbals and London’s East End, 23 Jun-26 Aug). There are also more internationally oriented exhibitions, including Lightwaves from 1 September-5 November, whose themes revolve around heritage and migration, and several more local-specific Street Level off-site projects around Scotland.

While details for Glasgow International have been included throughout this round-up, at the centre of the festival is a large group show in the Gallery of Modern Art, curated by the Director Richard Parry. This exhibition themes itself around the cyborg, artificial intelligence and avatars, and combines local and international artists with practices that correspond to these ideas.

In the Civic Room on Glasgow’s High Street, several projects are planned for the next few months. From 2-18 March, artist Kate McMillan imagines women’s histories in response to the general historical effacement of the feminine. Then for Glasgow International (20 Apr-7 May) there is a group show of Glasgow-based practitioners that bring to the foreground multi-layered connections between the Civic Room’s architectural, historical, economic and political landscape. Continuing to work site-specifically, the next exhibition (by Lauren Printy Currie) also takes as its inspiration the architectural and historical context of the gallery as the basis of new sculpture, sound and installation works.

In the WASPS Briggait exhibition space, several projects featuring recent residents are planned for the year to come. These include textile artist Louise Barrington’s abstract responses to memories of landscape, set into a dramatically lit installation (5-23 Feb). Then there is printmaker Jo Ganter, who works experimentally with photographic etchings and digital prints, questioning presumptions and conventions of human presence. For the Glasgow International Festival, WASPS Briggait will show the work of Nadia Myre, who employs collaborative processes as a strategy for engaging in conversations about identity, resilience and politics of belonging (20 Apr-7 May). At the same time, there is a parallel presentation by interdisciplinary artist Deniz Uster, whose social practice is rooted in anthropological and ethnographic research, interwoven with science fiction – also during GI, 20 April-7 May.

For Many Studios, there are three important upcoming projects planned. The first is a visual response to a new album (entitled Gold) by local Glasgow-based Ghanaian musician Kobi Onyame (2 Mar-1 Apr). Then from 19 April-27 May, they will host sorryifyoufeeluncomfortable, a London-based group of thinkers, makers and activists using art practice to interrogate dominant social discourses and structures, as well considering identity, race and legacy. Into the summer, an exhibition is being planned with Glasgow-based artist, programmer and writer Alberta Whittle, whose work is informed by diasporic conversation and working collectively towards radical love.

Edinburgh exhibition highlights 2018

In the Fruitmarket's first new exhibition of 2018, and for the second time in just over a year in Scotland, the radical and long-underappreciated work of Lee Lozano receives attention from Scottish galleries (3 Mar-3 Jun). The rest of Fruitmarket’s year as planned will be given to two further major solo exhibitions, the first by well-respected experimental film and performance artist Tacita Dean (30 Jun-30 Sep), followed by emergent clay and ceramic artist Emma Hart (26 Oct-27 Jan 2019).

The spring exhibition in Collective Gallery acts as an important moment for the organisation as they move back into the Observatory after a long period of refurbishment. Collective will unveil a new kind of city observatory, restored from the original design from 1818. 

2018 will also bring the first Scottish outing of now internationally-renowned artist Rachel Maclean’s Venice Biennale presentation, Spite Your Face from 24 February-5 May in Talbot Rice Gallery. Maclean’s film installation acerbically and darkly addresses the underlying fears and desires that characterise the contemporary zeitgeist.

In Edinburgh’s Dovecot, from 2 February-7 March, they will showcase a new tapestry by Garry Fabian Miller, who fuses the craft ethos of weaving with the possibilities of digital printing. There are then two projects that turn attention to their own site, a precious bath house, Baths to Bobbins (from 29 Mar) and an exhibition by fine art photographer David Penny (25 May-11 Jul).

2018 in the National Galleries ranges from the art historically iconic painter Rembrandt, to 19th and 20th century greats, including the colourful and soulful paintings of Emil Nolde, along with Toulouse-Lautrec, the artist that documented across his prints, drawings and paintings, the Parisian milieu that surrounded the Moulin Rouge. Also on the roster is an exhibition of artists that is themed around the monumental and bodily paintings of renowned contemporary painter, Jenny Saville.

Photographer Jannica Honey is the main show planned so far for Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh. She has created a new body of images that depict women at twilight in natural landscapes across Scotland and Sweden (2-25 Mar).

The Number Shop will consistently maintain a rhythm of one to two week exhibitions by locally-based emergent artists with one to two weeks in between through the year, with 18 exhibitions in place already.

At Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, two micro residents, Valencia-based Aitor Gonzalez and Manchester-based Noel Clueit will each undertake a period of reflection and production within ESW during January. They will then decide their own public events and outcomes nearer the time. During February, Ed Twaddle, the winner of the ESW award for the Edinburgh College of Art, exhibits the work he has made since September in the gallery. Also during this time, ESW begins its Buenos Aires exchange programme with Scotland-based artists Scott Rogers and Birthe Jorgensen, who will then exhibit as part of Edinburgh Art Festival in the summer. Later, in June, the ESW Schools Programme puts up its annual exhibition of the works created during its unique nine-month long series of experimental workshops for four local primary 5 classes.

Near ESW, staying in Newhaven, there is also the new domestic-cum-gallery space Curfew. After their first successful run of exhibitions in 2017, they promise to continue with a programme of three new shows during 2018 – details TBA.

Staying in Edinburgh, Embassy Gallery is putting together its year ahead, beginning with a group show by artists Jessy Jetpacks, William Darrell and Jake Russell, examining the absurdity of meta structures with automated sculpture and dark humour. From 16 February there is their open call member's performance event. Then between 5-25 March they’re planning a group show again bringing performance to the fore. April brings their Members’ Salon Show. The next month, they’re putting together an offsite project in Pittenweem exploring folk histories, mythologies and body politics. Their Annuale festival returns for its 14th outing – a grassroots festival of contemporary visual art taking place in venues across Edinburgh and online, followed by the annual graduate show in September.

Across town, Stills present a touring show of 200 images from the Archive of Modern Conflict (2 Feb-8 Apr).

In the Open Eye Gallery, they continue their 30-year strong routine of holding 32 exhibitions per year, including Scotland’s beloved John Bellany during Edinburgh Art Festival.

Dundee and Beyond

In DCA, there are two large exhibitions plotted for the rest of their year. One is titled Shonky, the first Scottish outing for the Hayward Curatorial Open, bringing together a host of artists and architects to explore the nature of visual awkwardness. They then host Eve Fowler, who has worked across various media, using the text and life of Modernist author Gertrude Stein as her subject matter (9 Jun-26 Aug).

Generator Projects starts the year with its annual Members Show. In March they welcome Sam Goncalves, a documentary filmmaker who focuses on finding captivating real life stories hidden in mundane and ordinary contexts. Helen Sharp is exhibiting new work in August: a playful exploration of divination and spiritual ritual for modern anxiety expressed through sculpture, installation, collage and occasionally live art. Alongside Helen will be her husband Simon Carmen’s neoteric stone sculptures. In September Generator will host ‘The Public Image’ (Scottish Lady Tiger) to celebrate Scottish writer Muriel Spark's centenary. Artist Michael Curran has been invited to create an environment for further Spark-themed actions and performances.

The Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Aberdeenshire continue to experiment with their public programme this year, alongside their continuing artist residencies. After a successful pilot programme of workshops last year, they build on their programme, from introductory sessions to intensive week-long courses. The guide to the classes they will offer this year is due to be launched in March. Towards the beginning of the year, they will host a series of discussion groups, led by artists Barry Sykes and Mele Broomes, and is the final part by SSW of an EU-wide project on multidisciplinary approaches to art and ecology.

Dundee’s Cooper Gallery has some of the first part of the year scheduled already, with Here Was Elsewhere: >>FFWD taking place between 20 January-17 February. This project will be an exhibition of moving image works by 24 artists, presented in weekly rotations and was previously shown in Shanghai as part of CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland. Next, there’s a solo exhibiton by Swedish artist Ingela Ihrman (preview 8 Mar, further dates TBA), whose work combines performance, playful blow-ups of animals and blooming flowers with hobby-like crafting techniques.

Keep an eye out too for Aberdeen's new artist-run committee enterprise Tendency Towards as their programme develops over the year.

All dates subject to change, please contact galleries for full details.