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Kelvingrove Museum – the Pittenweem Connection

Publication: Pittenweem Post

Find out more about the exhibition called Extraordinary Art, showcasing a selection of long-time resident, Joyce Laing's collected art works from her time spent delivering art therapy in Barlinnie Prison.

Photo of KG Art Gallery, Extraordinary Art exhibition by the Pittenweem Post.

On a recent visit to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, the word ‘Pittenweem’ on an exhibit label caught my eye. What was the connection, I wondered. I soon realised that the art work came from the collection of long-time Pittenweem resident, Joyce Laing.

Joyce, who died in 2022, was a pioneering art therapist who was internationally known for her work in Barlinnie Prison. She was also a collector of what she termed Extraordinary Art. It is also known as Outsider Art or Art Brute, which she described as art created by individuals – most often without any art training. They paint, sculpt, weave, sketch or draw due to a compulsion to express an intense personal vision.

Much of this art is very fragile and in 2012 Joyce donated her collection of over 1000 works of art to Glasgow Museums where it could be properly preserved and cared for. The exhibition in Kelvingrove shows a selection of pieces from the collection, alongside art work made by eight Glasgow based artists who took part in the New Dialogues project run by the charity, Outside In.

Titled Unlocking the Extraordinary, the exhibition is permanently on show in the Expression Gallery at Kelvingrove and is well worth a visit. As a bonus, you can see the painting Two Children by Joan Eardley, also on display on the ground floor of the gallery. Those who heard Kate Downie’s recent talk in support of Pittenweem Library will know that this was the subject of an inspired project by Kate to ‘complete’ Eardley’s painting, left unfinished on her easel when she died in 1963 at the early age pf 42.

Kate Downie’s project Siblings will be on display, with completed painting Four Children1962-2022, in Glasgow’s Women’s Library from September this year.