Consider the Lilies

James McIntosh Patrick arguably steals the show

Article by Jay Shukla | 11 Jan 2007
While Dundee's McManus Gallery is closed for refurbishment, the Dean has become the temporary home for this collection of modern Scottish art, giving us the chance to enjoy a wealth of stellar pieces which are rarely shown outside their home city. James McIntosh Patrick arguably steals the show with three large landscape paintings which dominate the room. A City Garden, painted in 1940 whilst the artist was waiting to be called up to the army, is an intense, electric piece – almost overwhelming in the quiet reverence of its observation, yet pervaded by a sense of creeping anxiety, here manifested by the snaking, tendril like branches of the trees in the artist's garden. In contrast, William Johnstone's Ode to the North Wind is an odd, emotive work which heavily recalls Franz Marc in its use of expressive, dancing forms and swathes of primary and secondary colours. James Gunn's My Wife recalls Sargent's Madame X with its confident, sensual beauty whilst James Cowie's Portrait of a Child is all subtle, cool tones and minimal gestures. The more modern work stands up well too, the magic realism of Peter Collins' Consider the Lilies a particular highlight. Not everything hits the mark of course, but nevertheless this is an exhibition of unusually high quality. [Jay Shukla]
Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 14 Jan. Free.