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Friday 8th March to Sunday April 28th.
Entry is free.

Dunfermline-born artist Alexander Moffat returns to his hometown with an exhibition at Fire Station Creative. Launching March 8th, this collection titled ‘Alexander Moffat at 80’ will showcase a series of the artist’s most recent “history paintings” that portray influential figures of the literary, artistic and musical world of the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the Scottish Folk Revival in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Born in 1943, Alexander Moffat first studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1960 – 1964. Here, along with his friend and fellow artist, John Bellany, Moffat pursued, and heavily influenced, the style of ‘Scottish Realism’ in his portraiture. His influence continued when he began teaching at Glasgow School to Art in 1979, becoming Head of Painting in 1992 until his retirement in 2005. During his teaching career, he has been credited with repopularising figurative painting with his students, some of whom became luminaries of the national art scene. Steven Campbell, Peter Howson, Adrian Wiszniewski, Jenny Saville, Ken Currie and Alison Watt all studied under Moffat.

With a focus on portraiture, much of Moffat’s subject matter has centred around twentieth century Scottish literary figures; his most recognised works include in Poets Pub (1980); Dame Muriel Spark, (1918-2006) Writer (1984), both of which are currently on display in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Poets Pub features some of the greatest literary minds of the time, one of which was Hugh MacDiarmid, whom Moffat was particularly close to. In recent years, the artist has also exhibited in Milngavie and Montrose Museum and Art Gallery with a collection named Landmarks (2018), and the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh with A View of the Nation (2018).

Following his teaching career, Moffat has continued painting and was awarded an OBE for service to the arts in 2005. He also received an honorary doctorate from Glasgow School of Art in 2018. He has co-written the notable work, Arts of Resistance: Poets, Portraits and Landscapes of Modern Scotland, alongside Alan Riach (Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow), which discusses the influence of the arts upon twentieth-century Scotland.

In ‘Alexander Moffat at 80’, the centerpiece of the exhibition is a large painting titled ‘Scotland’s Voices’, completed in 2017. In this work, Moffat focalises the poet, song collector and political activist Hamish Henderson (1919-2002), who has been hailed as the Father of Scotland’s post-war Folk Revival. Moffat surrounds the poet with other members of the movement, capturing the spirit of the revival with a stunning visual aggregation of the group. Alongside this, an individual portrait of Henderson will be exhibited.

Besides ‘Scotland’s Voices’, Moffat will be revisiting some of his earlier themes and faces in a new take on ‘Milnes’ Bar’, with the poet’s Hugh MacDairmid, Norman MacCaig, George MacKay Brown and Margaret Tait. MacDairmid will also be present in ‘The Border Guards’, which returns to the Scottish Renaissance movement of the 1920’s and its associates.

Lastly, a series of paintings will be included which Moffat completed just last year for the 10th anniversary of the death of Moffat’s great friend and contemporary John Bellany. This remarkable commemoration will present Bellany as a young man at the harbour in Port Seton, which Moffat remarks to have been his “favourite place.”

‘Alexander Moffat at 80’ not only demonstrates the unceasing endeavour of a significant artist, but a Dunfermline born man, with an eye for the city’s influence upon Scottish culture. The Folk Revival, while encouraged by song-collectors such as Hamish Henderson, and radio broadcasts of the time, also flourished in local clubs which supported both players and fans of the tradition alike. Moffat puts forth this exhibition “in homage to Dunfermline’s legendary Folksong Club of the early 1960’s”. On returning to showcase in his hometown, Moffat remarks that, “as I was born in Dunfermline – a long time ago – it’s most certainly a landmark event in my life to return at this stage with a show of my paintings… literally a lifetime later.”

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