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In both 1992 and 2002, the Fleming Collection lent works to the University of Dundee to celebrate the city’s creativity as well as our roots (international financier Robert Fleming was born in Dundee in 1845). These exhibitions focused, respectively, on paintings of the city and surrounding region, followed by a celebration of Dundonian artists.


Two decades later, we are celebrating contemporary artists who are connected in some way to Dundee, whether thanks to their familial, personal, or professional ties. In collaboration with Matthew Jarron, Curator at University of Dundee, we have thought anew about those artists who have in part made Dundee the culturally vibrant place it is, drawing on both of our collections and others.

20 artworks

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Toolbox Fisher Shaman
© the artist. Photo credit: The Fleming Collection

Inverness-born Will Maclean is recognised as one of Scotland's most outstanding artists. Having studied at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, he took up a post at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), Dundee, in 1981 and is now Emeritus Professor of Fine Art, a testament to his influential teaching. Maclean's work is grounded in the history of the Scottish Highlands, especially of the Clearances and of the west coast fishing communities of his forbears. He often records these histories using found objects, carved items and driftwood. These are brought together in rich constructions that act in similar ways to poetry, drawing out loose associations.

Toolbox Fisher Shaman 2003
Will Maclean (b.1941)
Mixed media
H 32.5 x W 35.5 x D 7.5 cm
The Fleming Collection

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Portrait of a Polymath – D'Arcy Thompson's Daybook
© the artist. Photo credit: University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

Like many artists, Maclean has also been drawn to the work of Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, the first Professor of Biology at University College Dundee (now the University of Dundee). Thompson’s book On Growth and Form (1917) explores mathematical patterns in nature and combines science, art and the classics. Here Maclean has created a symbolic portrait of Thompson, reflecting his many areas of interest.

Portrait of a Polymath – D'Arcy Thompson's Daybook 2008
Will Maclean (b.1941)
Acrylic & mixed media on board
H 60 x W 124 cm
University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

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Venus Mourning Adonis
© the artist. Photo credit: University of Dundee, Duncan of Jordanstone College Collection

Ronnie Forbes first came to DJCAD in 1983 to set up the pioneering Master’s course in Public Art & Design, the first of its kind in the UK. He later became Head of Painting before retiring in 2002 to devote himself full-time to painting and film-making. Many of his works draw on classical sources, presented collage-like in enigmatic, layered images.

Venus Mourning Adonis 1999/2002
Ronald Forbes (b.1947)
Acrylic on linen
H 178 x W 213 cm
University of Dundee, Duncan of Jordanstone College Collection

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Memoria: Two Realities
© the artist. Photo credit: Art & Heritage Collections, Robert Gordon University

Arthur Watson studied printmaking at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, and subsequently founded Peacock Printmakers in 1974, an influential artists' print workshop and gallery. In 1995 Watson was appointed Course Director of the Master of Fine Arts programme at DJCAD, and has continued at the art school in various teaching posts until today as well as serving as President of the Royal Scottish Academy from 2012 - 2018. Watson's work engages with ephemeral elements within Scottish culture, including language and song, changing landscapes and weather processes. Here, two woodcuts depict the mountain Lochnagar covered in snow, the words surrounding the image describing the conditions of snow in Scots.

Memoria: Two Realities 2013
Arthur Watson (b.1951)
Plywood, calico & perspex
Art & Heritage Collections, Robert Gordon University

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Scales of Life
© Elaine Shemilt (Artist) & Jo White (Architect). Photo credit: David Oudney / Art UK

Elaine Shemilt established the School of Fine Art’s Printmaking department at DJCAD in 1988 and later became Professor of Fine Art Printmaking, retiring in 2021. This large-scale commission for an extension to the University’s School of Life Sciences involved collaborating with research scientists and the building’s architect to create a series of perforated aluminium panels representing the different scales of life being studied – molecules, organelles, cells and tissues.

Scales of Life 2014
Elaine Shemilt (b.1954) and Jo White

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Waldella, Dundee
© David Batchelor. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: Ross Fraser McLean

Dundee-born David Batchelor is concerned with all things colour, explored through a use of everyday materials combined with the industrial to create installations and sculpture. Despite the banality of their materials they are often mesmerising in their use of colour and light. Waldella, a site-specific work, is formed from a cluster of brightly coloured plastic bottles lit internally with lightbulbs and hung from the ceiling of the McManus, Dundee. At over ten metres high it spans all three storeys of the museum to be encountered at different levels by visitors to the space.

Waldella, Dundee 2009
David Batchelor (b.1955)
Mixed media
H 10 x W 80 x D 40 cm
Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

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Catalyst
© the copyright holders. Photo credit: David Oudney / Art UK

The artistic partnership of Dalziel + Scullion joined the teaching staff of DJCAD in 1995, Matthew Dalziel having previously studied at the College while Louise Scullion was at Glasgow School of Art. Their work often explores environmental themes including this work made for a multi-storey carpark. It was cast in a special catalytic cement that reacts with light to trigger the molecules of airborne pollutants to break apart. Converted into harmless nitrates, they drain off into the soil and can be absorbed by plants. This was the first time the material had been used in the UK.

Catalyst 2008
Matthew Dalziel (b.1957) and Louise Scullion (b.1966)
Concrete

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The Forest Edge, Augustowska, Poland
© the artist. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

A graduate of DJCAD, Philip Braham first came to prominence in the 1980s with the rise of figurative painting in Scotland. He works with paint and photography, mostly engaging with the landscape as a symbol of the human condition. In his landscapes, he infuses the realism of oil painting and silver photography with poetic and philosophical undercurrents. He is now Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art Practice at DJCAD and runs the Art & Philosophy degree programme.

The Forest Edge, Augustowska, Poland 2001
Philip Braham (b.1959)
Oil on canvas
H 66 x W 86 cm
Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

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Resigned
© the artist. Photo credit: Jerwood Collection

Anita Taylor is Dean of DJCAD and founding Director of the foremost annual drawing exhibition in the UK, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize. Drawing is essential to her creative practice. Her charcoal portraits explore the relationship between the female subject (as artist and model) and the act of looking, interrogating gesture and expression. Her drawings not only deal with appearance, but also the emotional or haptic sensation of being inside a skin.

Resigned 2004
Anita Taylor (b.1961)
Charcoal on paper
H 160 x W 113.7 cm
Jerwood Collection

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Venus Anadyomene
© Calum Colvin. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture / Antonia Reeve

Professor of Fine Art Photography at DJCAD and Associate Dean, Calum Colvin is known for creating scenes of household objects which are overpainted with subjects that relate to art history, popular culture, literature and mythology. These stage sets are a tableaux of everyday objects, furniture and bric-a-brac carefully and theatrically arranged. The visual illusions created in the photographed scene are intended to draw the viewer into a dialogue between the act of creation and social matters.

Venus Anadyomene 1998
Calum Colvin (b.1961)
C-type colour print on paper
H 150 x W 120 cm
Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture

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The D'Arcy Thompson Print Folio – Growths and Deforms
© the artist. Photo credit: University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

Edward Summerton studied Fine Art at DJCAD from 1980-1985 then returned to teach at the College, recently serving as Head of Contemporary Art Practice. Much of his work explores the (mis)representation of nature and natural history, often manipulating images from children’s books and other sources. This work is one of a set of prints created by teaching staff at the College commissioned for the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum.

The D'Arcy Thompson Print Folio – Growths and Deforms 2013
Edward Summerton (b.1962)
Digital print on paper
H 31 x W 31 cm
University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

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Roselle
© Graham Fagen. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: The Fleming Collection

Graham Fagen is a professor at DJCAD, with a practice that encompasses video, sculpture, drawing and text. His work often shows an interest in contextual influences between individuals and communities. The artist created this silkscreen print in response to an unwelcome discovery about Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. In his early life, Burns had booked passages to Jamaica on three ships, which he never boarded, including the Roselle, contemplating becoming an overseer of slaves on a sugar plantation. Angered by such a significant omission of Scotland’s involvement with slavery, Fagen made the history known through a series of prints (created in the Visual Research Centre at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design).

Roselle 2006
Graham Fagen (b.1966)
Silk screenprint
H 70 x W 50.6 cm
The Fleming Collection

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Rivers
© the artist. Photo credit: Allan Pollok-Morris. Courtesy of Jupiter Artland

Tania Kovats is currently Professor of Drawing and Making at DJCAD. Her work includes sculptures that often sit in the public realm, as well as drawing and writing, exploring in particular different formations of water. This currently considers environmental concerns for our seas and oceans. Rivers, commissioned by Jupiter Artland, consists of one hundred specimens of water from different rivers around the British Isles. The collected specimens are stored in one hundred sealed museum-quality storage jars and placed inside a constructed boathouse. Each sample of water act as physical ‘memories’ of specific times, places and events, preserved in this way forever.

Rivers 2010
Tania Kovats (b.1966)
Wood, glass & distilled river water
H 530 x W 330 x D 345 cm
Jupiter Artland

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And She Gently Whispered in My Ear: I Like Jean-Michel Jarre Too
© courtesy the artist and Alison Jacques Gallery, London. Photo credit: British Council Collection

DJCAD-trained Graham Little is known for his delicate drawings and gouaches that bring solitary figures into interior spaces, showing an appreciation for colour, texture and pattern, inspired by fashion advertising. His sculptures do a similar thing, their surfaces traceable back to patterns and forms from the world of fashion, whilst also being inspired by historical building facades. In this way he celebrates the things that already exist in the world.

And She Gently Whispered in My Ear: I Like Jean-Michel Jarre Too 2001
Graham Little (b.1972)
Acrylic paint, glitter & MDF
H 270 x W 180 cm
British Council Collection

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After the Mountains, More Mountains
© the artist. Photo credit: Tate

Dundee-born and a student of DJCAD in the 1990s, Scott Myles went on to take part in the Scottish Arts Council's Amsterdam Studio Residency, as well as numerous others internationally and at Cove Park, Argyll and Bute. His work is not limited to a single medium, although screens feature frequently in his exploration of the interaction between people and their environment through means of display and concealment. After the Mountains, More Mountains was originally exhibited as four separate panels in the windows of the Modern Institute, Glasgow, thus looking out onto, and commenting on, the changing urban landscape. The title alludes to progress and its difficulties.

After the Mountains, More Mountains 2004
Scott Myles (b.1975)
Aluminuim & fabric
H 248 x W 270 x D 254 cm
Tate

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The Glen
© the artist. Photo credit: University of Dundee, Duncan of Jordanstone College Collection

Helen Glassford studied Fine Art at DJCAD from 1995-1998 – this is one of her Degree Show paintings. In 2014 she co-founded the Tatha Gallery in Newport-on-Tay and was Director there until 2020 when she stepped down to focus full-time on her painting. Her work explores the Scottish landscape in an abstract yet highly expressive way. In 2022 she held an acclaimed solo exhibition at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh.

The Glen 1998
Helen Glassford (b.1976)
Oil on canvas
H 213 x W 153 cm
University of Dundee, Duncan of Jordanstone College Collection

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Shell Light
© the artist. Photo credit: Tate

Lucy McKenzie, known for her illusionistic trompe l'oeil painting and multi-media displays, studied at DJCAD from 1995-1999, before honing her technical skill in decorative painting in Germany. Collaboration with other creatives is important to McKenzie's practice, allowing her to challenge the notion of authorship and delve into various aspects of visual culture. Shell Light is part of an installation that explores a semi-autobiographical but fictional character and her domestic interior space, whilst expanding the definition of painting.

Shell Light 2015
Lucy McKenzie (b.1977)
Shell, light bulb & cable
H 13 x W 23 x D 14 cm
Tate

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Bedroom
© the artist. Photo credit: NHS Tayside

Saul Robertson graduated from DJCAD in 2000 and has gone on to win numerous awards for his paintings, including the second prize for the BP Portrait Award with the National Portrait Gallery in 2005 and a number of prizes with the Scottish Portrait Award, in 2019, 2020 and 2021. His work is surrealist and intriguing, striking in its attention to detail. Earlier work, such as Bedroom, often explored his everyday surroundings, in their familiar mundanity.

Bedroom 2000
Saul Robertson (b.1978)
Oil on canvas
H 94 x W 108.5 cm
NHS Tayside

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Mashavi No. 4
© the artist. Photo credit: Sekai Machache / Bryndis Blackadder. Courtesy of University of Dundee

Sekai Machache studied at DJCAD and created this work in 2015 as part of her Master’s in Fine Art course. It is part of a series exploring her dual identity as Scottish and Zimbabwean. Machache belongs to the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe, Shona. In Shona culture, ideas of consciousness are underpinned by the concept of spirit, and the wandering spirits of people who died far from home are called ‘shavi’ (the plural of which is ‘mashavi’). In this series of images, the two figures are both played by Machache. She states: “In this way I utilise myth to interpret my understanding of the very real experience of liminality that I experience in my daily life and artistic practice.”

Mashavi No. 4 2015
Sekai Machache (b.1989) and Bryndís Blackadder (b.1991)
Digital lambda print on vinyl
H 104 x W 139 cm
University of Dundee, Duncan of Jordanstone College Collection

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Deep Divine Sky 1
© the artist. Photo credit: Sekai Machache. Courtesy of The Fleming Collection

Machache now works across photography, performance, painting and film and she has become increasingly visible in recent years. The project Light / Deep Divine Sky is visually stunning, incorporating rich blue hues, stemming from an interest in ancient indigo dyeing processes. A myriad of themes are explored, including metaphysics, ancestrality, Black Scottish identity and the legacies of colonialism. The artist breaks away from traditional Scottish photography through the positioning of a Black subject in the landscape and conjures a long-erased memory that lingers within these liminal spaces.

Deep Divine Sky 1 2021
Sekai Machache (b.1989)
Photographic print on aluminium
H 96 x W 137 x D 4.5 cm
The Fleming Collection