New Exhibitions and Easter Activities at Gracefield

Wednesday, 20 March 2024 16:12

Gracefield Gallery 2, hosts a new exhibition – Eduardo Paolozzi: General Dynamic F.U.N.– from 23 March to 11 May.

This touring exhibition from the Hayward, with added Gracefield Art Collection pieces, showcases the talents of the Edinburgh-born artist in the centenary year of his birth. Galleries across the country will be celebrating his life and work as one of the UK’s leading pop artists, and Gracefield is delighted to show his work here in Dumfries, opening on Saturday 23 March.

Created between 1965 and 1970, Paolozzi’s canny alchemy is vividly apparent in General Dynamic F.U.N. The series illustrates how the self-styled ‘wizard in Toytown’ employed the technologies of mass-reproduction to gorge on its idols – the household names and familiar faces of consumer advertising, high fashion and Hollywood in the 1960s.

A compulsive collector and jumbler of icons, Paolozzi (b.1924-d.2001) is equally revered for his mechanistic sculptures and his kaleidoscopic print projects. He transformed the mundane, the derelict and the mass-produced into images that zap with electric eclecticism and impress with their graphic complexity. The artist's friend and sometime collaborator, J.G. Ballard, described General Dynamic F.U.N. as a "unique guidebook to the electric garden of our minds."

For Paolozzi, the modern age, exposed as ephemera, is a necessarily fragmented collision of visual stimulus and influence, and his work is a 'health warning for an uncreative and thriftless society.'

Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of the council's Communities Committee comments: “It’s great to be part of the celebrations of this remarkable artist – don’t miss the chance to see his work in our local gallery.”

Continuing until 6 April over in Gracefield Gallery 1 ConvergeDiverge: a joint retrospective by Gordon Cockburn and Ronald Rae, follows the path of two Ayrshire artists who met in the 1970’s and became lifelong friends. Exhibition curator Dr Robert De Mey describes “The artists’ transcendent achievement is an ability to use gesture, line and form to shortcut emotional expression. They worked closely together in the 1970’s (‘converge’), and the exhibition then follows the subsequent development of each artist (‘diverge’).”

Ronnie Rae, b.1946, continues his working practice, sadly Gordon Cockburn (b.1944) died in July 2022 and did not see the exhibition completed, but his family and friends have helped to coordinate the loans of works for the show which launched at Rozelle House in Ayr in November last year, shows at Gracefield until 6 April and then travels to the Baird Institute in New Cumnock for May.

You can join us for a free gallery talk on Saturday 6 April at 2pm. Exhibition curator Dr Robert De Mey and artist Ronnie Rae will give a short talk on the inspiration behind the exhibition and the work. Please pre-book by calling 01387 262084or email

Easter School Holidays

For all budding artists, Gracefield’s kids club runs every Saturday for ages 5 to 12 years, and a once-a-month session for the teenagers and baby and toddlers (cost from £3.50 to 5.50 per session). Give Gracefield a ring or visit to be added to the arts and museums mailing list to be kept up to date with what’s going on pinged direct to you phone or email.

This Easter school holiday we’ll have some fun Wednesday and Saturday workshop and art days, plus the usual free Easter egg hunt in the grounds on Good Friday and Easter Saturday – find the letters and you could win a creme egg, enter the prize draw for a cholate bunny.

This year’s drop-in workshop has a nature focus. With nestbuildingand making clay birds eggs to fill them up, you can come for an hour or so for a pre-book a slot, or just drop in between 10.30 and 2.30pm on 29 and 30 March. Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, said: “The Easter egg hunt is always fun and a great free activity to keep kids busy this school holiday”.

Admission to Gracefield exhibitions is always free, open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm.