At the Jerwood Gallery: A Scottish Selection

The Ettrick Shepherd by John Bellany – shown on BBC website

Almost within sight of this exhibition the election posters showing the apparent southern English fear of the Scot are still on display so it’s possibly just as well that this Jerwood show of paintings from the Fleming collection is one of their more low-key offerings.  Whilst an exhibition this small could never claim to be an authoritative survey what we do have here is a good little indicator of some of the key features of recent Scottish painting and we do have some fine works to highlight those features.

The use of colour is the one that most people are aware of.  Dazzling reds and blues. What also features strongly here are images of people, often suffering or struggling but in ways that are often unclear or enigmatic – most notably in the form of Peter Howson’s multiple offerings of the crucifixion.  The Ettrick Shepherd by John Bellany manages the neat trick of having strong-featured man having his views mirrored by three sheep he is herding.

Again, with the caveat that the Jerwood isn’t cheap (but does have a splendid and friendly cafe to soothe you post-show) A Scottish Selection is an engaging collection that pricks your interest and makes you want to learn more.  However fearful we’re meant to be of the folk north of the border these days.



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