25 July – 6 September 2020
Launch Event SAT 25 July 4pm on www.paisleyartinstitute.org (All welcome)
This year, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the much-anticipated Paisley Art Institute Open Annual Exhibition, the 132nd edition no less, will take the form of an online presentation for the first time in our history. The 132nd PAI Annual Online goes live on www.paisleyartinstitute.org on Saturday 25 July and continues online until Saturday 6 September 2020.
These unparalleled circumstances offer Paisley Art Institute a pivotal opportunity to embrace something of the scale and excitement of presenting one of Scotland’s longest running annual exhibitions in a gallery setting whilst reimagining what artists and visitors might experience of the PAI Annual in an online environment.
We had an overwhelming response to our open call for submissions. From an open call, we received 628 entries. Just over 60% of artworks submitted were from Open Entrants. Undeterred by showing work in a virtual rather than physical setting, exhibiting artists invite us to consider themes that have been felt universally in 2020: human connection, a love of nature, the turbulent times we live in to name but a few. Artists showing work come from across Scotland and further afield. The Annual Online will display work by artists at all stages of their careers including submissions from highly regarded artists who are Paisley Art Institute Diplomates including, Charles Jamieson, James Cosgrove, Robert Murray and Gail Murray, who have embraced the opportunity to show work on this virtual platform.
With its rich tradition and history as one of Scotland’s longest running exhibitions, ‘porting’ the PAI Annual online has been a fascinating challenge which presented us too with a unique opportunity to reflect on the cultural heritage of Paisley. In the 1820s the Jacquard loom was being used to propel Paisley as a leading light in Scotland’s textiles industry. The intricate punch card input method used laid the foundations of computer technology and ‘coding’ in particular – the building blocks of creating our online presentation.
We are delighted to have worked with Berlin-based Paisley Buddie Andrew Hopkins as our Digital Collaborator who has designed a bespoke series of virtual viewing rooms. It has been important for Andrew to amplify the creative energy of his hometown, especially during lockdown when he is physically cut off from Scotland.
A specially convened Selection Committee of PAI Artists Members chose work specifically with the online context in their sights. Eòghann MacColla, Convenor of the Paisley Art Institute Exhibitions Hanging Committee said “It was a real pleasure for the selection team to review the works we received via the artists call out. The quality of submissions has been so impressive and encompasses a wide range of techniques. The process of selecting works for an online exhibition has been a fascinating challenge and a unique one. We are sure the range of work on display will bring some much-needed vibrancy, colour, and joy in 2020. We hope the 132nd Paisley Art Institute Annual Online will also offer an opportunity to reflect on our collective experience of this pandemic through several pieces which deal very directly with the lockdown theme. It has been humbling to see how a number of artists exhibiting in the 132nd PAI Annual Online have directly taken their experience of lockdown and used this time to make a personal creative response, exploring themes of personal wellbeing and our universal need for connection.
As you would expect a range of Paisley based artists are included in the 132nd PAI Annual Online, including:
- Alexander Ramsay with his piece ‘Lockdown Fever’ – Alex was recognised with an award for his work during the 2019 PAI Open Annual exhibition
- Caroline Gormley, PAI Vice President is exhibiting this year as is artist Sandy Guy who, with Caroline, is co-founder of the ‘Made in Paisley’ Studio and Gallery.
- We are delighted to include examples of work by an up and coming generation of Paisley based artists such as Angela Pieraccini, who has lovely circular geometric works included.
- Paisley based painter and PAI Artist Committee Member, Moe Rocksmoore, presents her signature atmospheric skyscapes in this year’s Annual Online.
Our universal experience of living through the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has unsurprisingly generated some highly creative responses. Themes of self-care, wellbeing, isolation and connection and the familiar symbols of face coverings and rainbows all appear in the exhibition. Participating artist, Wendy Greig, is a fulltime anaesthetic nurse in the NHS who paints and draws in her evenings and weekends. Describing her art practice as ‘a lifeline during the current crisis’. Her works are in soft pastel, portraits.
Other examples of ‘crisis responsive’ artworks in the Annual Online include:
- Ilona Dynowski Red run an almost apocalyptic street scene.
- Lynn Howarth’s portrait of a frontline worker wearing a mask
- Boo Paterson ‘COVID Old Glory’ our poster image for the PAI exhibition in 2020.
- Former PAI Vice President Al Strachan and his colourful collages relating to being housebound and Zoom
- John Andrew’s Lockdown work, ‘Joan in a mask’. John discovered his passion for visual art ‘later in life’. He has natural talent and flair for painting and drawing and is returning to exhibit with PAI after first doing so in 2019.
This year for the first time ever, the Paisley Art Institute website will host an online shop, where much of the artwork on display will be available to purchase during the duration of the exhibition.