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Alison Watt

Alison Watt was born in Greenock in 1965 and studied at Glasgow School of Art. Her work first came to public attention in 1987 when she won the National Portrait Gallery’s coveted annual award and in the late 1980s and early 90s she became well known for her paintings of figures, often female nudes. Watt’s exhibition Fold in 1997 at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery marked a turning point by introducing fabric alongside these figures, which was followed by Shift in 2000, her exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, in which 12 large works depicted swathes of fabric alone. Her exquisitely painted canvases edge further towards the abstract yet still suggest a human presence with a concern with the allure of negative space.

Watt’s residency as Associate  Artist at The National Gallery, London culminated in the landmark solo exhibition Phantom in 2008, and she was awarded an OBE in the same year. Watt’s work has been widely exhibited and is held in many prestigious public and private collections. Recent exhibitions include Dark Light, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh and Pier Art Gallery, Orkney (2007); Autoriatratto, Uffizi Gallery (2010), Italy and Reflecting Glenfiddich, The Fleming Collection, London (2011).

In 2014 as part of the Nationwide programme of exhibitions, GENERATION: 25 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, a retrospective exhibition of Watt’s paintings was presented by Perth Museum and Art Gallery and a solo display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will run until January 2015. Watt’s work is also currently exhibited as part of the major group exhibition Reality: Modern & Contemporary British Painting at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich until March 2015.


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