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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Scottish National Portrait Gallery exposure for Jack Vettriano

February 12 2011

A self-portrait by Jack Vettriano will go on show in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery when it reopens this autumn. The Fife artist's painting, The Weight, has been offered on long-term loan to the national collection from a UK private collector and will be included within the opening displays. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery will open its doors to the public in November after a £17.6 million refurbishment. SNPG director James Holloway said, "Jack Vettriano is one of the world's best known Scottish artists. I am delighted that his self-portrait will hang in the new portrait gallery alongside the faces of the many other famous Scots in our collection." Mr Vettriano said it was both "a great honour and another benchmark" in his career. "For it to happen in my father's lifetime makes it all the more special," he said.


Half of Turner Prize-winning artist’s new exhibition opens at DCA

March 4 2017

A new exhibition of work by Turner Prize-winning Mark Wallinger has opened simultaneously at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. MARK WALLINGER MARK is split into two parts and will be shown in both venues until Sunday 4 June. It is the first exhibition in Scotland by the artist and features Wallinger’s most recent body of work: the id Paintings (2015-16). These are presented alongside a series of sculptures, films and wall-based works which further explore the themes of identity, reflection and perception addressed in his new work. In the Dundee half of the exhibition, 12 of Wallinger’s id Paintings surround a new work, Self (Symbol) (2017), a capitalized ‘I’ aggrandized as a three dimensional statue the height of the artist. The id Paintings have grown out of Wallinger’s extensive series of self-portraits, and they reference the artist’s own body. His height – and therefore his arm span – is the basis of the canvas size. They are exactly this measurement in width and double in height. Wallinger described the paintings as the basis of both the Dundee and Edinburgh exhibitions. "There are different works in the two spaces, but these are the starting point, or spine if you like," he said. "There is quite a lot of work around the idea of identity and my presence." Video pieces are also included in the DCA gallery, including Shadow Walker in which the artist filmed his shadow walking ahead of him. In MARK, a 2010 creation, Wallinger chalked the title all over the city of London within the parameters of single standard-sized brick. This deadpan tagging is rendered as a photographic slideshow, made up of 2,265 images. A mirrored TARDIS is also on display in the exhibition. Wallinger said the development of Dundee had been notable in the time since he first visited the city to prepare for the gallery. "I came up here about a year ago to look around and think about how this show might be hung. "There has been so much work, lots of work, on the V&A since then. It looks amazing already - I quite like it as it is." Beth Bate, director of DCA, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming Mark Wallinger to our galleries and to be working alongside The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in this compelling exhibition of two parts. "Mark's first show in Scotland features his new body of work, the enigmatic id Paintings. "We can’t wait to welcome audiences to this exciting exhibition." MARK WALLINGER MARK is a collaboration between Serlachius Museums, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the DCA.

Angus & The Mearns

18th century art masterpiece discovered in Montrose after being neglected in store room

October 7 2016

A torn and unloved 18th century painting, long-relegated to the store room of Montrose Museum has now been heralded as a true art treasure. The painting of Dr Richard Mead, who is believed to have been King George II’s physician and a patron of acclaimed 18th century artist Allan Ramsay, had been hidden from the public eye for years. It was believed that the painting was a copy of a Ramsay portrait which is in the custody of the National Portrait Gallery in London. With its canvas horribly ripped, it was put away out of sight. However, a listing on the Art UK website, which catalogues public art, attracted the attention of art historian and writer Dr Bendor Grosvenor, who is a presenter on BBC4 programme Britain’s Lost Masterpieces. Suspecting the painting had greater significance, he was keen to take a closer look and contacted ANGUSalive, who operate the museum and care for the Angus Council collections, to arrange an viewing. The programme makers Tern TV took care of the much-needed restoration of the Dr Mead, which was carried out by Simon Gillespie at his studios in New Bond Street at the heart of the London’s art district. Dr Grosvenor observed the painting style, tell-tale clues offered by long-since brushed strokes of paint so typical of the great old master Ramsay and concluded the Montrose piece, and not its elevated counterpart in London, was the genuine article. His suspicions were confirmed by art historian Dr Duncan Thomson. He said: “It wasn’t known where the original was. It was thought that the original was probably the one in the National Portrait Gallery. “However, I’m very pleased to say that this (the Montrose painting) is in fact that lost original portrait and the restoration and the cleaning of the picture has revealed actually a work of extreme brilliance. “It’s very nice to have it back and be able to put it on public display again. “I feel fantastically privileged to be able to rescue works like this picture and see the pleasure it brings to a small institution like Montrose Museum.” Quite how the original and its copy came to be confused is a mystery that remains to be solved. John Johnston, ANGUSalive’s collections officer, said: “We were amazed by the news and fascinated to learn about the detective work that went into establishing the truth about the painting’s origin. "The results of the restoration work are superb. It is wonderful that a painting by the esteemed Allan Ramsay, perhaps the greatest portrait painter in Britain in the 18th century has been so expertly restored.” Edinburgh-born Ramsay’s painting of Dr Mead languishes in the shade no more. It takes pride of place in Montrose Museum’s public display.

Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama unveiled

February 12 2018

The US National Portrait Gallery has unveiled portraits of former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.Both images were painted by African-American artists who were personally chosen by the Obamas.The portraits were unveiled to the public at the gallery in Washington, which is part of the Smithsonian group of museums. The gallery has a complete collection of presidential portraits. A second and different set of portraits of the former first couple will eventually hang in the White House.Barack Obama’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley — an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans. For Michelle Obama’s portrait, the gallery commissioned Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, first-prize winner of the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.The portraits will be officially installed and available for public viewing starting on February 13.


More than 14,000 Scottish photos ‘brought home’ in £1m acquisition

May 14 2018

A collection of more than 14,000 photos spanning a century of Scottish life has been saved for the nation through a £1 million acquisition.The MacKinnon collection includes photos dating from the 1840s through to the 1940s and covers subjects ranging from family portraits and working life to street scenes and landscapes.It was acquired from a private collector following a special collaboration between the National Library of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland with support from the Scottish Government, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund.The collection was built up by photography enthusiast Murray MacKinnon, who established a chain of film-processing stores in the 1980s, starting from his pharmacy in Dyce, near Aberdeen.Mr MacKinnon, who sold the collection to the private collector, said: “The collection covers the day-to-day lives of Scottish people both rich and poor, the work they carried out including fishing and farming, in order to survive, and their social life including sport and leisure.“These were turbulent times what with industrialisation, shipbuilding, new forms of transport, the social upheaval caused by the First World War in Europe and the Boer War in South Africa. The discovery of penicillin and radiography heralded the development of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry in Scotland.“I would like to thank all the people involved in acquiring this collection for the Scottish nation, and for their great efforts in making this acquisition possible.”Highlights of the collection include portraits of Scottish regiments from the Crimean War by Roger Fenton and more than 600 original photographs from the pioneering days of photography.There are also albums and prints depicting life in the main towns and cities from the late 1800s and early 1900s and scenes of shipbuilding, railways, herring fishing, weaving, whisky distilling, dockyards, slate quarries and other working environments.Dr John Scally, National Librarian, said: “This acquisition is akin to buying Scotland’s photographic album of 14,000 pictures and bringing it home, and together with the National Galleries of Scotland, we were determined to make that happen.“I am confident that every Scot will feel a connection with these wonderful photographs and we look forward to sharing them with the public over the coming months.”A major exhibition of the MacKinnon collection will be held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery next year, with touring exhibitions around the country to follow.The entire collection will also be digitised over the next three years and made available online.Sir John Leighton, National Galleries of Scotland Director General, said: “This collection superbly demonstrates the important role Scotland had in shaping the history of photography.“Our ability to tell this story is greatly enriched by this acquisition, and we look forward to the exciting partnership with the National Library of Scotland in making these artworks accessible to all.”The National Library of Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland each contributed £125,000  to the acquisition while £350,000 came from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The Scottish Government provided £300,000 while £100,000 came from the Art Fund.Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The MacKinnon collection is one of the most remarkable collections of Scottish photography and an invaluable resource for researchers, students and the wider public.”

Barack Obama’s portrait was revealed at the Smithsonian and instantly sparked memes

February 13 2018

The Obamas took part in an important rite of passage for former presidential couples, unveiling their official portraits to hang in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.Barack Obama’s portrait was painted by artist Kehinde Wiley, making him the first African-American artist to create a presidential portrait for the National Portrait Gallery. Michelle Obama’s was created by Amy Sherald.The picture was a departure from the dark and demure paintings of past presidents, featuring bright foliage in the background. This, apparently, made it perfect for meme fans, who created their own takes on the 44th president’s portrait.Most of the hastily constructed memes revolved around the abundance of greenery in the picture, placing in characters such as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer or governor Chris Christie.Many thought the portrait reminded them of another meme, featuring none other than Homer Simpson backing into some hedges.It seems this portrait will live on in the annals of meme culture, as well as the Washington museum.


Frank McDiarmid’s paintings on show at Whitehills Health and Community Centre

February 12 2011

Colourful watercolour scenes from around the world are brightening up the Forfar centre's walls. Frank McDiarmid, who opened his own gallery in his home town of Arbroath in 1993, has been chosen by the Whitehills Health and Community Centre to showcase 22 of his watercolours until March 31. As well as portraits of Angus scenes, visitors will also have the chance to sample scenes from as far away as New Zealand and Cyprus. Mr McDiarmid, who began his career as a cartoonist with D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd, will donate 20% of all commissions he receives from the exhibition to the Whitehills Art and Environment Fund.

UK & World

Kate to visit Victorian Giants portrait exhibition

February 28 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge is to visit an exhibition showcasing pioneering Victorian-era photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.Kate, patron of the gallery since 2012, has written a foreword to the event as well as captions for several selected images at the exhibition Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography.The display will show together for the first time portraits by influential artists Oscar Rejlander, Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron and Lady Clementina Hawarden.The duchess will visit the gallery on Wednesday after a daytime event which will see her discuss current charitable and philanthropic pursuits with other royals as part of The Royal Foundation Forum.

Perth & Kinross

Eco award places the Big Shed in lofty company

March 5 2013

A community project in Highland Perthshire has won a top eco award. The significance of the success of the Big Shed at Tombreck, Lawers, in capturing the award is underlined by the other major winner, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. The Perthshire entry won the new-build category in the Low Carbon Buildings Awards 2013, while the Edinburgh gallery triumphed in the refurbished section of the awards. “A low-key community hall in Perthshire and a nationally-significant institution in the heart of the capital couldn’t be further apart in terms of budget, function and setting, but what they share is a unifying embrace of low carbon principles as the foundation of successful design,” said John Glenday, editor of architecture magazine Urban Realm, which runs the awards with Carbon Trust Scotland. “Sustainability as a word trips off the tongue with ready ease, but in practice it can be a far more nebulous term to quantify. “The Low Carbon Building Awards are the perfect prism though which to view these concepts by drawing together the best exemplars the country has to offer. “In life, as in architecture, true beauty isn’t faade deep, it reaches down into the guts of schemes such as the Big Shed and Scottish Natural Portrait Gallery, both of which have embraced sustainable principles early on in the design process to enormous effect.” The Big Shed was submitted by ea ecological architecture, who said: “The choice of local materials and others with a very low energy content in their manufacture and processing (low embodied energy), resulted in a building with a low carbon impact. “We are very pleased that this, together with high levels of insulation, the use of renewable energy technologies, and the way in which the community was involved in its construction, has merited the Carbon Trust award.” Paul Wedgwood, manager of Carbon Trust Scotland, said: “Once again, the judging panel was greatly impressed across all the 2013 entries with the effort and energy-efficient processes that had been put in place.”