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Jimmy Cosgrove

Artist Biography

I usually work in series, often with several pictures on the go at the same time but I seldom set out with a particular painting or drawing in mind, preferring to put something down on the picture plane, however incomplete or incongruous - and usually from one of my many notebooks - to see what will happen through a process of adding, juxtaposing or overlapping disparate 'found' marks often in a random manner until a theme or 'story' emerges and evolves often informed by memory of events. It can be challenging to work this way and I never find it predictable. I guess the pictures I make are like personal maps of half-remembered journeys or diagrams of unlikely circumstances but these can be as meaningful as a dream or metaphorical as a fairy tale.

I use Moleskine notebooks on journeys as a visual diary for gathering information through text, drawing and collage. Living on the west coast of Scotland and looking across to Arran, probably landscape, maritime and weather circumstances occur intuitively as a background or stage-set animated by an evolving narrative. Some figures are central to the story implied or interpreted by the viewer. Some characters in the picture are witnesses, others disengaged - in a private or parallel world of their own making. When I retired from academic life, I visited Arizona, Utah and New Mexico where I was moved by the lives and history of the Zuni, Hopi and Navajo tribes of native Americans. I was fascinated by their traditions and beliefs, often depicted through symbols applied to the human body, Kachina dolls, sand drawings, costume and adobe architecture. This process of drawing as a symbolic or dynamic activity rather than as a means of pure representation underpins most of my practice.

Born 1939 


Stow College of Engineering Glasgow (City and Guilds) Telecommunications)1955-60

Glasgow School of Art 1968-71 Diploma in Art (including 2 year General Course) Newbery Medal, Postgraduate Diploma 1971-72 (Highly Commended) travelling scholarship to Rome


Printed Textiles 1973 (Lecturer then Senior Lecturer/Head of Department), Associate Head of Design, Head of First Year Studies (Fine Art and Design), Deputy Director (Vice Principal) - retired 2000.

Visiting artist and staff exchanges in the USA - various institutions including Cranbrook Academy, Michegan, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, School of the Art Institute, Chicago

Selected Exhibitions 

Exhibitions include; 

'Recent Work' Glasgow Print Studio 1980

'Scottish Art Since 1900' (1989/90 -Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh)

'Land of the Mountain and the Flood' (Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow)

'101 artists - Homecoming Scotland' (MacLauren, Ayr) 

'Flights of Fancy'  (McGill Duncan, Castle Douglas) 

'Ayrshire Artists' (McGill Duncan, Castle Douglas) 

'Four Ayrshire Artists' (Smithy Gallery, Blanefield) 

'Cabinet Pictures' (JD Kelly Glasgow)

'Premier Collection' (Greens and Blues, Berwick)  

'Timorous Beasties' (Smithy Gallery, Blanefield)

'Four Ayrshire Artists (Fidra Fine Art, North Berwick)

'Fully Awake' (BlipBlipBlip Gallery, Leeds)

'Allusion' (JD Kelly Gallery Glasgow)

'Glasgow' (Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow)

'Postcards on the Edge' JD Kelly Gallery, Glasgow.

Solo shows include; 

'Where Tracks Cross' (Open Eye, Edinburgh) 

'Current Work', (Whitehouse Gallery Kirkcudbright) 

'Weather Fronts and Passing Time' (House for an Art Lover, Glasgow) 

'Recent Work', (The Red House, Croftamie) 

Work exhibited annually in the Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour, Royal Glasgow Institute and Paisley Art Institute

Recent Awards;

'Sir William Gillies' Award - RSW 2015

'Maude Gemmell Hutchison Award' RSA Annual Exhibition - 2014

'May Marshall Brown' Award - RSW 2013

'University of West of Scotland Award' - PAI 2012

'Mabel MacKinlay Award' - RGI 2010

'Hargan Award' - PAI 2010

'Adam Award' - PAI 2009

Elected Professional Member; 


Public/Corporate Collections

Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow Print Studio

Scottish Arts Council (collection now dispersed)

Educational Institute of Scotland

Paisley Museum

Kelvingrove Museum

British Rail

Recent exhibitions curated and other publications; 

'Robert Stewart Artist and Designer' RGI McLellan Galleries 2013

'Bodies of Work' - Fraser Taylor Paintings - Studio Pavilion ART PARK Glasgow 2015 

'The Heritage Centre', Bellahouston Park - Early Govan to the Garden Festival'

'Alba - a Painted Tiger' for 'Jungle City', Edinburgh - commissioned by the Elephants Trust.

'Homage to Shipbuilding on the Clyde' iron and steel sculpture Bellahouston Park

Founder member Glasgow Print Studio 

Founder member Third Eye Centre

'Bodies of Work - Paintings by Fraser Taylor (an introduction) 2015'

‘House for an Art Lover’ editor & contributor ISBN 0 9548736 0 2

‘Speculative Architecture’ author with contributions ISBN 10 0954873610

‘ART Works in the Park’ author with contributions ISBN 0-9548736-2-9

'Glasgow's Greatest Exhibition' recreating the 1938 Empire Exhibition - RIAS Edinburgh ISBN978-1-873190-59-3 contributor pp 28-47

'Drawing (on) Riverside' Patricia Cain ISBN 978-0-9568434-0-1 (contributor - 'Forensic Examination; Studies of Evolving Form' - pp c5/6)

'Govan architecture, public monuments and sculpture and the British Empire Exhibition of 1938' Curator, co-author, co-designer of permanent installation/exhibition at  House for an Art Lover Heritage Centre

'COLLISIONS - Rose Wylie and Fraser Taylor' curated by Alison Harley (contributor - 'Jimmy Cosgrove on Fraser Taylor')