Claire Paterson graduated from the Glasgow School of Art Painting and Printmaking department in 2008, winning the inaugural Steven Campbell Hunt Medal for Poetic Creativity, the School of Fine Art Dissertation Prize, and the British Airways Travel Bursary. Her first solo show, Unsign, was held at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in 2008. In 2009, she used the British Airways Travel Bursary to fund a trip around California, New Mexico, Mexico, Arizona and Texas, doing research into the symbolism and iconography of various religious groups in these states, with the trip culminating in a stay at the Lama Foundation in New Mexico. In 2013, Paterson spent a month at the Cornaro Institute in Cyprus, where she worked towards a group exhibition with other residents. Other notable exhibitions include the group show Gradients and Thresholds, Contemporary Perspectives on the Figure, which was held at the Royal Institute of the Fine Arts Kelly Gallery, Glasgow.
Paterson’s most recent body of work, The Arbitrary Ritual, was inspired by collaborations she undertook while on the 2016-17 Steven Campbell New York Scholarship, which was funded by Creative Scotland, The Saltire Society and The Steven Campbell Trust. Paterson’s 3 month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Programme (ISCP) in Brooklyn provided her with an exciting opportunity to work with other artists from around the world, exploring ideas related to the theatrical language embedded in totems and gestures. In keeping with the aims of The Steven Campbell Trust, Paterson also used her time in New York to promote the legacy of Steven Campbell’s work and the contribution he made to the development of Scottish Art on the international stage. The work produced as a result of this project was exhibited at the Glasgow School of Art’s Reid Building from 14th November – 20th December 2019.
Paterson has also hosted a series of Master-classes at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Tramway and the Gallery of Modern Art, on behalf of the Steven Campbell Trust, emphasising the importance of figurative painting in contemporary practice, and has given lectures at the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde.
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In my recent practice, I’ve invited models and other artists to participate in a collaborative myth-making process. During experimental photo sessions, models are provided with dozens of print-outs of diagrams and symbols taken from multiple sources, picking out and setting aside the ones that appeal to them most. They are then presented with a collection of masks, costumes, sculptures and installation elements, again making a selection before starting to generate spontaneous poses.
With ideas determined on the spot and symbols chosen spur-of-the-moment, the subject of the work creates their own meaning and mythology as they pose, producing a tableau that has something in common with an obscure ritualistic and arcane rite. Other artists are invited to contribute installations and objects to the modelling sessions, so that their own art becomes incorporated into the process of myth-making. Already imbued with meaning, their work gathers more symbolism and correspondences depending on how the model chooses to interact with it, becoming almost ceremonial or talismanic – part of the model’s self-generated mythology.
I’m also interested in the way in which translating the model’s pose into a painted image has the potential to imbue their spontaneously created narrative with further layers of perceived meaning, signification and mythological resonance. Representational painting is bound up with a tradition of elevating myths and religious stories to epic and monumental scale – and through emulating this I aim to explore the process whereby the act of painting itself can be seen to lend certain narratives transcendence.
Glasgow School of Art
Painting and Printmaking Department
BA(Hons) with Distinction in Historical and Critical Studies
Awards, Prizes and Publications
-Steven Campbell Hunt Medal for Poetic Creativity (awarded at final year degree show)
-The School of Fine Art Dissertation Prize (awarded for final year thesis: Figuring Identity, Being and Representation in the Discourse of Postmodernity)
- British Airways Travel Bursary (used to fund a trip around California, New Mexico, Mexico, Arizona and Texas, doing research into the symbolism and iconography of various religious groups in these states; with the trip culminating in a stay at the Lama Foundation in New Mexico).
-The Steven Campbell New York Scholarship 2016, awarded by The Saltire Society, Creative Scotland, and The Steven Campbell Trust. This £13,000 scholarship was used to fund a 3 month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Programme (ISCP) in New York.
-The Scotsman/ Published Date: 14th June 2008
‘Scotland's got Talent’
Review by Tim Cornwell
-The Herald/ Published Date: 16th June 2008
‘Glasgow School of Art Degree Show 2008’
Review by Jack Mottram
-The Scotsman/ Published Date: 20th June 2008
’Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art Degree Shows’
Review by Duncan Macmillan
-The Daily Record / Published Date: 02nd July 2008
‘Art Award set up in Steven’s Memory’
Review by Douglas Dickie
-Island News and Advertiser/ Published Date: 11th August 2016
‘Art project set in North Uist and Skye recognised in Saltire Society Awards’
Review by IN&A staff
-The National/ Published Date: 12th August 2016
‘Al fresco artwork on islands attracts accolade’
Review by Greg Russell, Journalist / @MediaNetScot
-The National/ Published Date: 30th November 2016
‘Saltire Society’s 80 years of promoting Scottish Cultural Life’
Review by Kirsteen Paterson, Journalist/ @kapaterson
-Clare Henry Art Journal / Published Date: 4th February 2018
‘Glasgow Group at 60, AGES of WONDER from the RSA, The Maclaurin Gallery, AYR’
Review by Clare Henry, art critic for the Financial Times and Herald art critic in Scotland from 1980-2000
-The National/ Published Date: 15th November 2019
‘Painter Claire Paterson has unveiled her new exhibition, The Arbitrary Ritual, at The Glasgow School of Art’
-The Scotsman/ Published Date: 15th November 2019
‘Shift in perspective: Glasgow School of Art show examines the language of gestures’
-The Herald/ Published Date: 15th November 2019
‘Big Apple Influence’
-The Herald/ Published Date: 16th November 2019
‘Artist aims to stretch our understanding of the human body’
Review by Jan Patience. Jan is one of Scotland’s most well-known and respected arts journalists. As well as writing a visual arts column for The Herald, she is a regular arts expert on television and radio programmes.