Exhibition opens

A new exhibition opens on Saturday, September 8, at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries featuring the work of artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004).

This year marks the centenary of the birth of this remarkable Scottish artist.

The Gracefield exhibition is part of a celebration of her life and career that also sees major exhibitions hosted by the Fleming Collection, London, Edinburgh City Art Centre, the Scottish Gallery and Aberfeldy’s Watermill Gallery.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was one of the foremost painters working in St Ives after moving there in 1940. Her paintings, alongside those of her contemporaries that comprise the St Ives school, contributed greatly to the development of Modernist British painting in the mid to late twentieth century. Since 1960 she divided her time between her homes in St Ives and St Andrews, affirming herself as much a Scottish as Cornish artist.

She was completely dedicated to her art, with a drive and energy that sustained her for over sixty years of her professional life. She was still working daily at the very end.

The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust was established by Wilhelmina in 1987 and came into effect following her death in January 2004. It was created to secure her life’s work and archive for future generations.

Willie, as she was known to her friends, had a clear vision and ambition for her trust. As she directed, the trust is based at her St Andrews home, Balmungo House. The house has been completely refurbished recently to become a resource centre with exhibition spaces for study displays that make use of and complement her art collection; to create a centre of education for art students and art historians; to provide artists and writers the space and resources with which to develop their work through administering a residency programme.

The exhibition at Gracefield features Barns-Graham’s works in screenprint, etching and lithograph prints and is accompanied by a book by St Andrews University academic, Ann Gunn. This publication and other monographs on the artist by leading authors will be available to buy in the Gracefield Craft Shop, together with a range of postcards, mugs and fridge magnets.

To launch the exhibition, Ann and WBG trustee Jenny Wilson will be giving a informal talk on her life and career on the opening Saturday at 2pm. This event is free, but please book in advance on 01387 2626084 to guarantee your seat. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. The exhibition continues until November 17 – see www.dumgal.gov.uk/gracefield for more details.