Iain Robertson Scottish, b. 1955
‘What then is the subject content of Robertson’s abstract paintings? Despite appearances, they are not as radically different from realist pictures as many think. At their heart both kinds of paintings are, by their very nature, essentially involved with visual descriptive narrative. The crucial difference however, is that Realism narrates on an external subject – real or imagined – while true Abstraction must, by necessity, chronicle its own internal process of coming into existence. Does that mean then abstract art is autonomous and hermetically cut off from the human subject and experience? Well, no more so than music – and that most abstract medium is close to the art of Iain Robertson, especially Jazz. Thus, as with profoundly moving passages of musical expression, Robertson’s infinitely varied chromatic improvisations can, if we listen attentively with our eyes, release deeply submerged sources of our essential being which are at the very core of our common humanity.’
Originally from Edinburgh, Iain studied at Cumbria and Exeter Colleges of Art (1978–82). He has worked from the prestigious Porthmeor Studios since 2007, shared with artist Clare Wardman.
Robertson works across Painting, Print, Digital and Collaborative Film platforms. Presenting his practice through exhibition, open studio events, projects and teaching, his recent MEGA JAZZY-REMIX installation in Porthmeor Studio 5 brought together his research into chance operation, through multiple panel painting/digital projection works, Robertson explores colour and shape as the subject also asking questions about opening up and democratising the act of making and curating the work inviting audience engagement in the process.
Recent Solo Exhibitions:
Two Trains – Prints from the studio of Kip Gresham, Borlase Smart Room, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, Cornwall, 2016;
Paintings 2005–12, 108 Fine Art, Harrogate, 2012;
Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, Cornwall, 2008;
Truro School, Truro, Cornwall, 2008;
Fifty at Fifty, Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, Cornwall, 2006.
Recent Two-person Exhibitions:
Art- At- Wharepuke, (with Clare Wardman), Bay of Islands, New Zealand, 2010;
Colour and Light, (with Clare Wardman), Hilton-Young Fine Art, Penzance, 2007;
108 Fine Art, Harrogate, Yorkshire, (with Alan Davie), 2007.
Recent Group Exhibitions:
After Illusion, Penwith Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall, 2017;
Contemporary Abstract Printmaking, Artists – Rachel Clark, Ian Davenport, Christopher Le Brun, John McLean, Mali Morris, Iain Robertson, Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf, London, 2017;
On a Small Scale, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, 2015;
British Abstract: Post War Abstraction, 108 Fine Art, Harrogate, 2015;
Porthmeor Past and Present, Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall, 2014;
Perfect Balance, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2014;
Brilliant Colour, Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall; 2014;
St Ives Modern: Abstract Motifs and Symbols, Porthminster Gallery, St Ives, 2014;
Scottish Art in the 20th Century, City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 2012;
Mark of Beauty, Edinburgh Arts Festival, Union Gallery, Edinburgh, 2012;
Abstract Critical Newcomers Awards, Kings Place Gallery, London (Selector), 2012;
Recent Acquisitions, City Art Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2012;
Truro Schools Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, Cornwall, 2012;
Taking Shape, Cornwall County Schools Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, 2012;
Fishwick and Friends, Falmouth Museum and Art Gallery, Cornwall, 2012;
Poussin Review - New to Sight, Poussin Gallery, London, 2010;
Abstract Matters, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2010;
Beyond Appearances: Painting and Picturing in Scottish Modern and Contemporary
Art, City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 2007;
Art Now Cornwall, TATE St Ives, Cornwall, 2007.
The Porthmeor painters’ studios of St Ives, article by Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times
Weekend Magazine, 2010;
Porthmeor artists' studios: crumbling beauty, article by Emma Thomas, The Telegraph, 2008;
Art Now Cornwall catalogue, TATE St Ives, Cornwall, 2007;
Arts Council of England, 2005;British Council, 1995; Hope Scott Trust, 1994;
The Elephant Trust, 1991; Scottish Arts Council, 1990; Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York (First Scottish Recipient), 1988.
Robertson also works in Print with Master Printmaker Kip Gresham, The Print Studio, Cambridge.
Art in Healthcare Scotland; City of Edinburgh; Cornwall County Council; Falmouth Art Gallery; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Grizedale Arts; Standard Life; Truro School; University of Edinburgh; University of Minnesota.
Private Collections worldwide.