A one-man mission to chart Glenrothes’ burgeoning collection of public sculptures has culminated in a new photographic exhibition celebrating the Fife town’s rich art heritage.
Mike Wragg, a retired Fife Council project manager has used his love of photography to capture the former new town’s entire collection of 172 public art works, sculptures and murals that decorate the town and its suburbs.
Now, 70 of Mike’s favourite images have gone on display in the town’s Rothes Hall’s Photospace Gallery in a month-long exhibition which aims to bring Glenrothes’ unique art history to a wider audience.
Despite having lived in the town for more than 40 years, Mike admits even he was left surprised by the sheer number of artworks when he set out to photograph them all.
In 1968, Glenrothes Development Corporation’s forward thinking approach to public art saw it employ its first town artist David Harding, specifically to work alongside town planners and builders to create urban site specific artworks in new housing estates.
That progressive approach gave birth to an enduring art history within the town, continued by Harding’s successor Malcolm Robertson from 1978 to 1992 and continuing with a news generation of artist such as Kerry Wilson.
Mike said: “As a keen photographer for the past 20 years I wanted I came up with the idea of capturing them all but when I started to research what was actually out there I couldn’t quite believe there were so many.
“There were so many I never knew existed so it quickly became a labour of love tracking them down, especially as many of them are in quite obscure and tucked away places.
“But that’s exactly what the first employed town artist David Harding intended when he started in 1968.
“They were created for the very people who lived around them and interacted with them on a daily basis.
“I like the fact that the art is constructed using the very materials – concrete, steel and wood – being used at the time at build the town.”
Mike’s aim was to capture the artworks along with their surroundings to give the viewer a perspective of how they work in situ.
Asked what his own personal favourite artwork is, Mike points to Heritage, a collection of totems that originally sat in an open space at the now demolished Glenrothes House office block.
“I have two photos of that in the exhibition, one of it in its original setting and one in its new position at the edge of Riverside Park where I think it works great looking out over the park to Lomond Hills beyond.”
The Town Art Of Glenrothes exhibition is open now at Photospace Gallery, Rothes Halls Glenrothes until April 9.
An interactive map detailing the location of all of Glenrothes’ artworks is available at https://fifecouncil.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Shortlist/index.html?appid=71911576628743f69cbdb652c491dcb2