The City Art Centre is proud to present ‘Jock McFadyen Goes to the Pictures’ a two-floor exhibition of works by contemporary artist Jock McFadyen RA, whose impressive career has spanned over four decades. Timed to mark his 70th birthday (today, 18th Sept), this major exhibition showcases new and existing paintings by McFadyen paired alongside artworks specifically selected by the artist from the City Art Centre’s rich and varied collection.

McFadyen was born in Paisley in 1950 and as a teenager went to Saturday morning classes at Glasgow School of Art. Aged 15, he moved to England and attended Chelsea School of Art in London from 1973 to 1977. His work from the 1980s is mostly associated with figurative painting, often featuring marginalised members of society in Chicago, New York, Berlin, Belfast, London and Edinburgh. However, since the 1990s his paintings have largely focused on man-made landscapes such as dilapidated industrial sites, abandoned buildings and deserted streets.

Opening on 14 November, this exhibition by McFadyen displays his urban and rural landscapes, as well as some of his figurative paintings, next to works from the City Art Centre’s collection of historic and contemporary Scottish art. Over the last year McFadyen has regularly visited the picture stores to carefully select works for the show. His choices range from ‘old favourites’ by renowned Scottish artists such as F. C. B. Cadell and Alan Davie, to ones that have rarely been seen by the public.

Quarry 4, 2013. © the artist/ Carol Rhodes, Town, 2005. © The Estate of Carol Rhodes

Through a series of fascinating pairings, the exhibition encourages viewers to take a closer look. Works that might initially seem unrelated reveal unexpected connections and relationships. Some of these juxtapositions are witty; some are striking or surprising. By showcasing these artworks side by side, the exhibition aims to highlight common visual threads that connect all pictures, confounding the traditional boundaries of period, style and artistic posture.

Jock McFadyen Goes to the Pictures (14 November 2020 – 7 March 2021) is the first in a series of four shows celebrating McFadyen’s work, followed by Jock McFadyen: Tourist without a Guidebook at The Royal Academy of Arts, London (tbc February – 11 April 2021), Jock McFadyen: Lost Boat Party (11 June – 25 September 2021) a collaboration between Dovecot Studios and the Scottish Gallery at the Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh and ending with Jock McFadyen Goes to The Lowry at The Lowry, Salford (dates to be confirmed). The dates for some of these exhibitions overlap and the combination of them provides a compelling survey of one of Britain’s most distinctive artistic voices.

City Art Centre Curator Maeve Toal said: “It has been a real pleasure to collaborate with Jock on the selection of works for the exhibition. It was a difficult task as there were so many great combinations of artworks to choose from. However, by displaying them side-by-side it has provided us with an opportunity to showcase Jock’s paintings and the City Art Centre’s collection in a fresh and exciting context.”

Jock McFadyen commented: “The City Art Centre has always been one of my favourite places, not just for the breadth of its collection, invaluable though it is for an English artist who happens to be Scottish, but also the place is relaxed, intimate and old school.

For this exhibition I am presenting a selection of my own work from the last 42 years in all its randomness and my aim was to seek out visual connections between my own pictures and those we have selected from the City’s collection. Most of my work included in this show was made with scant awareness of Scottish art and I hope a virtue might be stolen from this shortcoming.

“Many of the artists are familiar names but I have also learned much about the other artists whose work we have included.”

At the Fireplace, 1978. © the artist/ Robert MacBryde, Woman at Fireplace, No.1, c. 1948. © The Estate of Robert MacBryde. All rights reserved. DACS 2020

Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh’s Convener of Culture and Communities said: “Jock McFadyen Goes to the Pictures looks set to be another fantastic exhibition at our recently reopened City Art Centre.

“The exhibition brings together works from the city’s collection and showcases new and existing paintings by Jock McFadyen as we mark his 70th birthday and look back at his impressive career so far.

“The City Art Centre is one of the most accessible places in Edinburgh for art lovers and home to Edinburgh’s art collection, one of the finest in Scotland and we are delighted to be welcoming visitors back. I’d like to reassure people that we continue to take measures to ensure the safety of visitors and our staff.”

Jock McFadyen Goes to the Pictures opens on Saturday 14 November 2020, and runs until 7 March 2021. Admission is free, pre-booking online essential via edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Top Image – Uist, 2011. © the artist/ F. C. B. Cadell, Iona, unknown date. City Art Centre, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh