The Royal Scottish Academy opens a major retrospective exhibition of work by Bill Scott
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The Royal Scottish Academy opens a major retrospective exhibition of work by Bill Scott
Bill Scott, Subjects for Renewal, 1999. Wood, paint and mixed media, 42.5 x 53.5 x 30 cm

EDINBURGH.- The Royal Scottish Academy is presenting the first significant posthumous exhibition of works by sculptor Bill Scott PPRSA this summer. A prominent and respected member of the artistic community in Scotland, Scott was the first sculptor to be elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy and is best known for his constructed sculptures in mixed materials. The exhibition includes exceptional examples of these assemblage works, as well as cast bronzes, drawings and prints, revealing the themes and motifs that underwrote Scott’s rich visual language.

The series of box assemblages Measuring Personal Space (2000-10) is exemplary of Scott’s interest in physical space, specifically the overlaps and distinctions between personal and shared spaces. Scott wanted his work to address ‘the puzzles of our present time,’ namely the ways in which we interact within share environments. The series is an example of Scott’s interest in the concept of haecceity, or ‘thisness,’ the mode of being which makes a thing specific only to itself.

The exhibition includes bronzes from key moments throughout Scott’s career. Early figure studies will be on view alongside works inspired by notions of craft and design like The Dressmaker Imagines (1972), whilst later pieces, such as Exploration / Mapping (2010), emphasise an engagement with travel, the landscape and archaeology. Other exhibition highlights, including Scott’s only artist’s book, The Carpenter (1994), offer new insight into the artist’s practice.

The publication Bill Scott, an illustrated monograph edited by the artist’s daughter Jeanie Scott, will be available to purchase during the exhibition. Many of the works on view will be available for sale.

Bill Scott (born George William Scott) was born in 1935 in Moniaive, Dumfriesshire. He was educated at Dumfries Academy before studying at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) (1953-59). After art college, Scott spent a year at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, before returning to Scotland to take up a position as a secondary school teacher in Fife. In 1961 he joined the staff at ECA where he remained until 1997. He was Head of Sculpture from 1989, and in 1994 was appointed a Professor in the Faculty of Art and Design, Heriot-Watt University. In 1994 he had a major show in the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, and following his retirement in 1999, he became chairman of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop where he led fundraising efforts to secure £3.5 million towards a new building for the organisation. Scott was a regular exhibitor and active member of the Royal Scottish Academy, first showing in 1961. He was first elected in 1973, becoming a full Academician in 1984. In 1997 he was elected Secretary, and in 2007 he became the first sculptor in its history to be elected President.

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