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fine art

  • Artist's Profile: Amanda Adam

    Artists Profile with painter Amanda Adam

    Amanda Adam is a Scottish painter, printmaker and draughtswoman. Born in Dunfermline, she now resides in Crossford, Fife and is currently undertaking her Masters in Fine Art and Humanities at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) in Dundee. The artist studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh, before going on to complete her BA Degree at DJCAD. Here, we ask Amanda about her processes as an artist, her inspirations and thoughts on the role of art in society.



    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved in making work?

    I am predominantly a painter. My practice is based on landscape, our responses to place and how we function spatially within it. Recently my work has started to come off the wall, taking a more sculptural form. When I started painting at the Leith School of Art, I felt if I could specialise in painting I could expand into any other medium.  However, I always come back to painting as it is my passion, the area in which I lose myself.

    What was the first work of art you remember seeing?

    I don’t remember the first work of art I ever saw but I cried the first time I saw a small Van Gogh paining, a portrait of Alexander Reid in The Kelvingrove art Gallery and Museum, in Glasgow. The sitter was an art dealer who built up a collection of French 19th Century paintings which now reside in Glasgow Art Gallery. Van Gogh and Reid shared lodgings in Paris at the time when the portrait was painted 1887. I just felt really humbled and in awe.Van Gogh

    What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work with canvas using a traditional oil paint/ linseed oil/ dammar varnish mix. However I have recently started working in gouache as well. Oil paint does what I need it to do, running, spreading, dripping. I can layer, scratch and cut into it easily.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?

    Moving forward I would like to work with stone and ceramics, but in the more immediate future probably photography, film and sound.

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    While humans are absent from my landscape-based work, a presence of the viewer suggests itself, making it understood that the terrain is not ‘empty’, but rather filled with the same elements that sustain all life. The chaotic myriad of colours is derived from intangible feelings to which I subconsciously respond; it is that ‘spirit’ of place contrasted with the punctuated presence of line. Lines provide structure to our lives; within the work it is the contours of the land contrasted with man made objects, which offers stability and dynamism. The paintings become installations and sculptures on the very land that I paint, creating their own sets of lines and movements.



    If from a traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice? 

    There are advantages and disadvantages to higher education within art.  If you are unsure about your work you can very easily be pushed or swayed into making work which you are uncomfortable with or which you don’t feel is your own natural response. You can feel confined and if you spend too many years in ‘the system’ you can also get too comfortable. The advantages are that you have so many opportunities to practice so many areas of material exploration, through workshops, tutorials and artist’s talks all at your finger tips. Plus a formal art education can open other doors for you in the way of scholarships and awards etc. if that’s what interests you. It has definitely helped me to hone my ideas, allowing me to recognise the subject matter which drives my practice.

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    Those who work with sincerity, intensity and passion, no matter what their subject matter or medium; artists whose work comes from the heart.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    I am influenced by everything around me, every journey I make in a car, a bus, a train, as the land races past me - I find that very exciting. Walking in the landscape, just being, sitting, feeling, being at one within it.  I like to go to remote places. Residencies are great as they allow you the time in one place to really ‘feel’ your surroundings. The Bothy Project in Scotland and the Clipperton Project are two residencies which I have taken up recently, but there are so many available.

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

    My MFA studio is a small office space where I make water based works and more experimental pieces. It’s really a place where I do a lot of small work, make applications, etc. My home-based studio is the top floor of a golf Club, based in a small castle-type building. The scenery, the golf course is beautiful and serene. From the windows I look from Fife right over to the Lothians. But actually my studio is really out on the land where I make site-specific work.




    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art? 

    Trust your instinct, collect, experiment, ignore your anxieties and be prepared to feel all emotions at the same time whilst making work.


    What do you think is the importance of art in society?

    Art has been part of man since the dawn of time.  It allows us to dream dreams and our souls to dance. Art is life-enhancing, entertaining and defines our personal and national identities, and is the ultimate freedom in expression.

  • DJCAD Master’s Show

    Masters Degree Show

    The DJCAD (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee) Masters show is a necessarily more sedate affair than the undergraduate show which precedes it by a few months.  The emptying of the city during the summer months means that the numbers of visitors to the show both on the opening night and during its week long run is significantly less than its sister event.  However, this should in no way be interpreted as attendant on the quality of the work on display which this year particularly was of exceptional quality.

    The master’s programmes offered by DJCAD ensure that the Master’s show provides a wide variety of art and its applications that goes way beyond traditional fine art.  With Medical and Forensic Art, Art, Society and Publics, Fine Art and Humanities and Animation and Visualisation programmes there was something for everyone to engage with.

    Forensic and Medical Art

    IMG_1379In the Forensic Art programme, visitors could look at the application of medical art to develop learning tools, to show the difficulty in creating police composite sketches and to create facial reconstructions from human remains.  The work by Amy Thornton on the facial reconstruction of the nineteenth century poisoner and pirate Alexander Tardy from a cast of his skull in the University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum and Hannah Isaacs reconstruction of a male skull from the Edinburgh Trams project illustrate perfectly the points at which art, history and science intersect.  Anatomy was an important part of the training of Renaissance artists, with Leonardo Da Vinci in particular conducting his own dissections in order to achieve greater understanding of the human form which he reproduced.  The Forensic Art programme combines this great tradition with the latest in digital and manual reconstruction techniques.  Leading on from this is also the Msc in Medical Art, The highlight of this programme was Claire Taylor’s book project “Understanding Terminal Cancer”, aiming to provide a resource for people with a terminal cancer diagnosis with the scientific aspect of their diagnosis and prognosis.  This laudable ambition, to increase patients’ agency by increasing their access to information which helps them to fully understand their predicament shows that art can be used not just for scientific and educational purposes but also to benefit people in a very difficult life situation.PROMO IMAGE

    Art, Society and Publics

    P1020917 (1)In the Art, Society and Publics show the highlight for me was undoubtedly Penelope Matheson’s project “Nest of Gentlefolk” a series of surreal arrangements of animal ceramics, reminiscent of the creations of Hieronymus Bosch and early Dali sculptures.  These intricate and interesting pieces which also showed a high level of technical skill seemed to transform as one changed ones view points, and for me were one of the highlights not just of that particular course, but of the entire show.

    Fine Art and Humanities

    MashaviThe Fine Art and Humanities programme was the biggest section of the show and displayed a variety of work with disparate concepts, techniques and impacts.

    Sekai Machache’s show “Mashavi” explored the issues of African women’s identity in relation to the manipulation of hair, specifically around the tradition of braiding.  Her work combined painting, photography, sculpture and sound work to create a space which explores the braid as a cultural artefact as well as a hairstyle.

    Jae Ferguson’s delicate and intricate drawings of organic structures provided a great satisfaction to visitors who wanted to see more technique than just good conceptual work.  The perfection and simplicity of these pieces were refreshing and different in a world which is so often more concerned with the idea behind the work than the technical quality or what is produced.


    Animation and Visualisation

    10997499_934548359891211_139226110559213042_nThe animation course produced a series of entertaining and beautiful shorts, supported by extremely advanced supporting artist work.  Particularly outstanding in this respect Bimpe Alliu and Christina Maul with the animated music video “Hell Well” being the most coherent and entertaining stand alone piece on the show reel.


    The opening night of the show was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with far more space to move around and look at the work than at the over attended undergraduate degree show earlier this summer.  The artists showing were friendly and on hand to speak about their work during the rest of the week as well as at the opening.

    Currently you can still access the web page of the show at:


    At this link you can find full listings of all of the artists exhibiting as well as information on how to contact them and follow their progress.  iartsupplies would like to wish all this years graduates the best of luck in what promise to be bright artistic futures.


    Fiona MacHugh

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