Duncan Shanks Sketchbook, Hunterian Art Gallery, March – August, 2015

duncan shanksDuncan Shanks Sketchbooks: The Poetry of Place

14 March – 16 August 2015

Hunterian Art Gallery

Admission free

A new exhibition at The Hunterian will offer rare insight into the creative process of Scottish artist Duncan Shanks, highlighting his rich body of work.
Duncan Shanks Sketchbooks: The Poetry of Place opens at the Hunterian Art Gallery in March 2015 and follows Shanks major gift to The Hunterian of his entire output of sketchbooks from the past 55 years. The resulting research project, led by The Hunterian, is the first major assessment of Shanks’ career exploring the artist’s use of sketchbooks over five decades.

A true landscape artist, Shanks presents us not with the familiar and predictable face of Nature but enables us to crouch low or soar high, to see it as we have never seen it before. His 106 sketchbooks, covering over five decades and gifted to The Hunterian in 2013, have been the anchors of his life as an artist. An important addition to The Hunterian collections, this generous gift is celebrated in a distinctive focus exhibition that reveals the artist’s creative working process and provides insights into his changing interpretations of the landscape he has known and loved all his life.

hunterian 1.jpgThe research project began in 2008 and was carried out over several visits to the artist between 2008 and 2014. It was followed by an intensive six month period of cataloguing assisted by University of Glasgow postgraduate students.
Duncan Shanks Sketchbooks presents over 30 sketchbooks from The Hunterian collection, never exhibited before, alongside works that illustrate how the artist used sketchbooks for different purposes. In addition three paintings, Fragments of Memory, early 1990s, Shower from Tinto, c.1980-2010 and Night Garden, 1995- 2007, generously gifted by the artist to complement the sketchbook collection, will demonstrate the central role sketchbooks started to play in his work from the 1980s.

Based on the work of the research project, the exhibition will open up this unique body of work to display the artist’s ability to astonish with colour and form. An invitation to share his feeling of being part of Nature, it will offer a glimpse into the complex nature of his sketchbooks and the wide variety of drawings they contain, from simple recordings of his surroundings to exploratory studies investigating complex subjects or more finished drawings.

A comprehensive online catalogue of Shanks 106 sketchbooks will be available from March 2015. The richly illustrated site will include over 6500 sketchbook pages, the artist’s own photographs capturing some of his favourite locations, and two hand-drawn maps helping to place these locations.

An additional painting, The Dance of Time, 2010-2013, will also be on display for the first time from March. Located in the Art Gallery’s Scottish art displays, this recent gift from Duncan Shanks highlights a previously unrepresented aspect of his work in the form of a table top still life.

Duncan Shanks Sketchbooks will be accompanied by a special events programme including talks, tours, poetry readings and music. Visit our website for further information.


Duncan Shanks, Corra Linn main fall in summer (detail), mid-1980s. © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2015. Duncan Shanks, The Megget burn and Talla reservoir (detail), late 1980s © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2015.
Hunterian Art Gallery
University of Glasgow
The Hunterian,
University of Glasgow
Gilbert Scott Building
Glasgow G12 8QQ


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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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