On The Edge

The Scottish Gallery’s online February exhibition is about one of Scotland’s most original and challenging painters, Pat Douthwaite.

On The Edge

About On The Edge

One of Scotland’s most original and challenging painters, Pat Douthwaite’s work is not easily defined and she continues to intrigue and divide. Her individualism, evidenced in The Scottish Gallery’s latest exhibition, speaks loudly and boldly.

Douthwaite’s work is naïve yet intellectually loaded, personal while still resonating with cultural references. It was not made for others but came from the deep-seated need of the creative to make, to express. Each work stands alone, beautifully designed, enigmatic to a fault, undatable and present. The extraordinary range of her subject matter, from myth, to real life crime, from fashion to fantasy, animal to erotic is always surprising and is unified by her own highly personal aesthetic which challenges the audience to love or hate. She has always defied any attempt at taxonomy from those who have tried to make sense of her work.

During a fraught and difficult lifetime, Douthwaite’s oeuvre of idiosyncratic paintings and drawings are powerful and witty. She regarded herself as being on the fringes of the art world, and markedly distanced herself from the establishment with her emotional intensity and uncompromising vision. Despite the lack of a permanent base and studio, and a general mistrust of the art institution, she formed a close and trusting relationship with The Scottish Gallery and began exhibiting with them from 1991.

Douthwaite was born in Paisley into a conservative, middle-class family, growing up with the privations of Scotland at the time; from a very young age she was aware of feeling different and found her freedom and vocation in dance and art classes. Throughout her life, she had an insatiable appetite for new visual experiences and immersed herself in esoterica, animals, ancient religions, folklore and intellectual life of a new place. She was a great traveller, absorbing imagery and devouring cultures as far afield as Peru, Mexico, Poland and India. Her wanderlust is a tribute to her intellectual curiosity but was at the same time symptomatic of her restlessness. In the last ten years of her life, she seemed constantly on the move even though, by then, her world was restricted to the Borders, her homes always temporary and her life lived in anxiety.

Her mastery of technique shines in all her works, whether oil paint, watercolour or drawing. She used sketchbooks when travelling, working chiefly in pastel and, while in the studio, she drew constantly on anything to hand, when short of good paper.

Douthwaite’s work at its best emanates the essence of raw femininity with all that implies of vulnerability, unacceptable drives and emotional demands. On Douthwaite’s stage the female appears in many guises, as victim and predator, and she understands better than most that an impressive outsize persona can hide a shrinking core of anxious, insecure humanity.

Her individual work, such as The Fete, remains as cogent and relevant today as when it was made in the mid-sixties. Douthwaite’s recollection of a conversation observed, no doubt, at a Suffolk village fete shows privilege and violence ingrained in country society, unchanged for centuries. Her emotional honesty and unflinching eye often present an uncomfortable experience for the viewer as she exposes her subjects, like specimens in a jar, latterly often eschewing any setting or background.

Douthwaite’s unflinching commitment to her vocation, her unique style and her ability to interpret the visual world through the prism of her imagination make her contribution outstanding. Sometimes life-enhancing, sometimes dark, her work is marked out by its passion and there is no doubt that she is recognised as one of the great individual voices in post-War British art.

The Scottish Gallery hold the Pat Douthwaite archive, having purchased the contents of her studio, and are gifting a large part of her correspondence to the nation to ensure these letters are preserved.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for On The Edge are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment. All information (whether in text or photographs) is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact.

Other Events at Various Venues or The Scottish Gallery

A Sense of Place and Earth Shaker

A Sense of Place and Earth Shaker

4th March 2021 - 27th March 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

A Sense of Place and Earth Shaker is a joint exhibitions at The Scottish Gallery in March by Michael McVeigh and David Cook.
Read more

Similar events you might like...

Edinburgh Valmiki Balagokulam Shaka

Edinburgh Valmiki Balagokulam Shaka

Selected dates between 9th January 2021 - 18th December 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

Namaste All....! Join us online for the Edinburgh Valmiki Balagokulam Shaka each Saturday!
Read more

Digital Champions: Coolest Projects

Digital Champions: Coolest Projects

Selected dates between 29th January 2021 - 25th June 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

Heart of Midlothian FC's Innovation Centre presents Digital Champions: Coolest Projects for girls and boys in S1-S6 every Friday during term time.
Read more

Zoomtunes - Free singing classes for children P3 & P4

Zoomtunes - Free singing classes for children P3 & P4

Selected dates between 12th February 2021 - 2nd April 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

Celebrate the start of the weekend with Zoomtunes, half an hour of fun and frolics led by expert singing teacher Libby Crabtree!
Read more

How to Build an Online Shop

How to Build an Online Shop

Selected dates between 16th February 2021 - 31st March 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

How would you like to learn how to build your very own online shop? This exciting 7-week club run by Heart of Midlothian FC's Innovation Centre will show you exactly how to do that.
Read more

Create an App to Save the World

Create an App to Save the World

Selected dates between 17th February 2021 - 21st April 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

Heart of Midlothian FC's Innovation Centre: Build new skills in app design and development to solve a problem that affects the world’s people and planet. Suitable for S1-S3 girls and boys.
Read more

Soundhouse Spotlight

Soundhouse Spotlight

Selected dates between 22nd February 2021 - 26th April 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

The Soundhouse Organisation is delighted to bring you a new series of ten online gigs, intimate one-of-a-kind concerts presented as-live and beamed directly into the comfort of your home.
Read more

First Women of the Royal Scottish Academy

First Women of the Royal Scottish Academy

4th March 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

In this online talk, Alice Strang, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, will discuss the ‘First Women of the Royal Scottish Academy’.
Read more

A Sense of Place and Earth Shaker

A Sense of Place and Earth Shaker

4th March 2021 - 27th March 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

A Sense of Place and Earth Shaker is a joint exhibitions at The Scottish Gallery in March by Michael McVeigh and David Cook.
Read more

Digital Talk: Introduction to the World of the Japanese Kimono

Digital Talk: Introduction to the World of the Japanese Kimono

6th March 2021
Online Event Edinburgh

Edinburgh based Japanese Tea Master Mio Shudo, an expert on the diverse cultures of Japan, will present an online talk aided by an illustrated powerpoint presentation.
Read more

Find other events in Edinburgh

Sponsored Links

Popular Events

Step Into Spring for Cancer Support Scotland
Are you ready to... STEP INTO SRING? Join us this March and walk 36 miles to help raise vital funds for Cancer Support Scotland!
The Royal Highland Show
One of Scotland's most iconic events, The Royal Highland Show, returns to the Royal Highland Centre between the 17th and 20th June 2021!
Bad Boy Chiller Crew
Bradford's Bad Boy Chiller Crew have announced that they will play The Liquid Room on Wednesday 6th October!
Edinburgh Food Festival
Celebrate all things great in food & drink when the Edinburgh Food Festival returns to George Square Gardens IN 2021!
Up Close and Personal with the Black Death in Edinburgh
Join The Real Mary King’s Close on 13th March as we shine a light on those sinister parts of Scottish history in our virtual broadcast streamed live from the site!

Popular Venues

Edinburgh Playhouse Festival Theatre Edinburgh Kings Theatre Edinburgh National Museum of Scotland Traverse Theatre