Ronnie Forbes

Artist Biography

Ronald Forbes is an artist who is primarily a painter, but who has also made films throughout his career. He was highly engaged in higher art education, closing that part of his career as Head of Painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, the University of Dundee. He has also undertaken many artist-in-residence posts nationally and internationally. He is an academician of the Royal Scottish Academy, an elected member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists.

There have been solo, group and curated exhibitions of Forbes’s work in Scotland, England, Ireland, USA, Australia, Japan, France and the Netherlands. His paintings are held in a range of public collections in the UK, Ireland, USA, Poland and Australia. He has received many prizes, including the Guthrie Medal from the Royal Scottish Academy, prizes and nominations in various international film festivals and awards from bodies such as the Leverhulme Trust, the Carnegie Trust, the Scottish Arts Council and the Hope-Scott Trust.

Art Critic and historian Anne Ellis published a feature, "Through the windows of the mind" on the work of Ronald Forbes in Uptown magazine. She introduced his work this way: Ronnie Forbes' paintings not only reflect what we see, but how we see it, and what we think about it. Dealing as much with the world of the mind as the world of the eye, their life is much longer and more intriguing than simple visual images, but after a while they tend to pale. Ronnie's paintings on the other hand , continue to reveal more and more about the human condition and the way humanity has response to its own environment. It's not easy, for painting is essentially a two dimensional business, creating a third dimension, depth, is difficult enough: adding several more dimensions of thought and time and meaning requires phenomenal efforts from the artist. In this exhibition of paintings and digital-coillage prints the subject matter includes animals, birds, flowers, butterflies and the human figure. However in Forbes's world, nothing is as it first appears. We are presented with half lions and tigers referring to the Victorian museum tradition of tableau display, where the boring or unnecessary bits were simply cut off. In one, an image of David Attenborough looks on, perhaps as a reference to a more benign view of nature today. Attenborough, whom Forbes greatly admires, is also the subject of Icon, St David, where illusionistic cut out images reveal other creatures and the suggestion of other worlds. The art of Ronnie Forbes forms a narrative around the way we see and understand the world. It is about illusion, belief and reality- and the fuzzy edges between these. The viewer is a necessary and welcome participant in the work

In this exhibition of paintings and digital-coillage prints the subject matter includes animals, birds, flowers, butterflies and the human figure. However in Forbes's world, nothing is as it first appears.  We are presented with half lions and tigers referring to the Victorian museum tradition of tableau display, where the boring or unnecessary bits were simply cut off. In one, an  image of David Attenborough looks on, perhaps as a reference to a more benign view of nature today. Attenborough, whom Forbes greatly admires, is also the subject of Icon, St David, where illusionistic cut out images reveal other creatures and the suggestion of other worlds.

The art of Ronnie Forbes forms a narrative around the way we see and understand the world. It is about illusion, belief and reality- and the fuzzy edges between these. The viewer is a necessary and welcome participant in the work

Higher Education

1964-68  DA (Edin) Drawing and Painting, Edinburgh College of Art

1968-69 SED Postgraduate Scholarship, Edinburgh College of Art

1970-71 Jordanhill College of Education

Professional Experience

2006-2008 Leverhulme Artist in Residence at Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee

2005 Elected  Royal Scottish Academician

2003 Appointed Visiting Professor of Fine Art, University of Abertay Dundee

1996-2001      Head of Drawing and Painting, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

1996 Elected Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy

1995  Artist-in-Residence, Hobart Centre for the Arts, University of Tasmania

1983 -1995  Director of the MA/MFA programme Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

1980  Scottish Arts Council Amsterdam Studio Award.

1979-83  Lecturer  Glasgow School of Art.

1978-80  Artist-in Residence, Livingston New Town

1974-78  Head of Painting  Crawford School of Art, Cork, Ireland.

1973-74  Leverhulme Senior Art Fellow, Department of Architecture and Building Science, University of Strathclyde.

1972-73  Lecturer Bell College, Hamilton

 

Selected Exhibitions 

Solo Exhibitions

2011 Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth

2010 Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

2010 John Hope Gateway Centre, Botanics, Edinburgh

2009 Hannah Maclure Centre, University of Abertay, Dundee

2009 Edinburgh International Science Festival, CAC, Edinburgh

2008 Scottish Art Club, Edinburgh

2007 Hamnavoe Gallery, Aberdeen

2005 Hannah Maclure Centre, University of Abertay, Dundee

2005 Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling

2003  Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews

2001 Vardy Gallery, Sunderland

2001 Royal Over-Seas League Gallery, Edinburgh

2001  Fine Art Gallery, University of Tasmania, Australia

2000  Royal Over-Seas League Gallery, London

1999 Southern Illinois University Museum, Carbondale, USA

1999 Sonia Zaks Gallery, Chicago, USA

1997  De Keerder Kunstkamer, Cadier en Keer, Netherlands

1996  NS Gallery, Glasgow

1995  Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

1995  Seagate Gallery, Dundee

1995  An Lanntair Gallery, Stornoway

1991  Maclaurin Art Ga1lery, Ayr

1991  Perth Museum and Art Gallery

1990  Seagate Gallery, Dundee

1986  Babbity Bowster, Glasgow

1984  Drian Galleries, London

1983  Compass Gallery, Glasgow

1980  Third Eye Centre, Glasgow

1980  Forebank Gallery, Dundee

1980  The Lanthorn, Livingston

1978  Cork Art Society Gallery

1976  Project Arts Centre, Dublin

1976  Cork Art Society Gallery

1975  Drian Galleries, London

1974  Collins Gallery, Glasgow

1974  Goethe Institute, Glasgow

1973  CompassGallery, Glasgow

Curated Exhibitions

Scottish Arts Council Touring Exhibition

Forbes/Robb

1979  Aberdeen Art Gallery

1978  Fruit Market Gallery, Edinburgh

1978  Collins Gallery, Glasgow

1978  Arts Council Gallery, Belfast

Netherlands Touring Exhibition

Forbes/Nelson/Shaw

1983  Netherlands and Belgium

Hoensbruck, Roermond, Maastricht and Liege

“Nature: Only and Idea”

with Nicole Hardy and Jannel

2002 Galerie Trace, Maastricht, Netherlands

“Parallel Paths” Doug Cocker and Ronald Forbes

2006 Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

Selected Group Exhibitions

2010 Invited artist Art and Social Engagement, RSA Annual, Edinburgh

2001 ”4th Australian Artist Book Fair, Brisbane

2001 “Four by Four” Artists’ Books at Fine Art Gallery, University of Tasmania

2000 “Spool: An Exhibition of Prints by Scottish Artists” Manhattan Graphics Center, New York, USA

2000  “Scottish Painters at the Fosse Gallery”, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham

2000  “Expressions: Scottish Art Since 1945, McManus Galleries, Dundee

2000  “Connections 2000”  Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

1999 “Connections” Royal Scottish Academy Festival Exhibition, Edinburgh

1999  “Small Paintings” Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow

1999  “RSA Painter Members”, Albemarle Gallery, London

1999  “Recent Acquisitions”, Perth Art Galleries and Museum, Perth

1999  “France and Six Nations. L’Art Actuel”,. Tokyo, Japan and touring

1999  “Artists 95”,  website exhibition organised by Axis

1999   Morrison Portrait Competition   Royal Scottish Academy,  Edinburgh

1998,1999,2000  Glasgow Group Exhibition (invited artist) Kelly Gallery, Glasgow

1998  Royal Scottish Academy, Annual Exhibition, Edinburgh

1998  Recent acquisitions from the Scottish Arts Council Collection, Smith Stirling Art Gallery, Stirling

1998  Noble-Grossart Painting Competition, Edinburgh and Glasgow

1998  Holland Art Fair, The Hague, Netherlands

1998  “New Works by Members” Festival Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

1998  “Metamorphosis” Seagate Gallery, Dundee

1998  “Absolute Secret” Postcard Exhibition, Royal College of Art, London

1998  “Small Paintings” Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow

1997-1998  “Rastava Sodobne Skotskf Grafike” Exhibition of Scottish Prints, touring museums and galleries in Slovenia

1997  “Reunion” de Keerder Kunstkamer, Cadier en Keer, Netherlands

1997  “Figure This”, McManus Art Galleries, Dundee

1997  “An Alphabet of Artists”, Perth Museum and Art Gallery

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999/2000 Nobel Grossart Painting Competition,  RSA, Edinburgh and Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow

1996  Exhibition of Small Works, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh Festival

1996  Dave Thomas project, Expanded Field – 500 Sites, Melbourne, Australia

1996  “Small Works”, Roger Bilcliffe Fine Art, Glasgow

1996  “Postcards”, Roger Bilcliffe Fine Art, Glasgow

1995  Inaugural Exhibition, New Foyer Gallery, University of Abertay, Dundee

1995  “Uprising”, The Meffan Gallery, Forfar

1995  “Contemporary Scottish Art: 15 Years of Collecting”, The McManus Galleries, Dundee

1994 and 1995  “Celtic Connections Exhibition” The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,

1994  “World SHO and European Artists Exhibition”, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Centre, and Kyobun Civic Gallery, Kawasaki, Japan

1994  “Outpost”, Edinburgh Festival

1994  “Groot in ’T Kleine”, De Keerder Kunstkamer, Limburg, the Netherlands

1994  “Beuys in Scotland”, Demarco European Art Foundation, Edinburgh Festival,

1993-94  “Witnesses of Existence”, Kingston University, England; Demarco Foundation, Edinburgh; Obala Gallery, Sarajevo, Bosnia

1993  “Alive and Printing”, 21 years of Glasgow Print Studio, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow

1991  “Man in the Universe”, Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh

1991  “International Exhibition”, Central Museum, Ginza, Tokyo

1990  “The Compass Contribution” 21 years of Contemporary Art, Tramway, Glasgow

1990  “RSA Guthrie Award Winners 1920-1990”, The Fine Art Society, Glasgow/Edinburgh

1988  “Works on Paper”, Contemporary Scottish Art Touring Netherlands and Belgium

1988  “The Garden”, Fine Art Society, Glasgow

1987  “Scotch in the Apple” Contemporary Scottish Art, Lincoln Centre, New York

1985  “Unique and Original” Glasgow Print Studio, Glasgow

1985  “Exposition International de Peinture”, Paris

1975  “Living Art Exhibition”, Dublin

1975  “Fact and Fantasy”, Scottish Arts Council Tour

1975  “Different Realists”, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh

1974  STV Gateway Exhibition, Edinburgh Festival

1973 and 1984  Glasgow Group Exhibition, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow

1973 and 1974  ‘Original Print’, Edinburgh

1971  ’20 x 57′ Edinburgh Festival Exhibition

1967-71  ‘Scottish Young Contemporaries

Exibited in many Glasgow League of Artists exhibitions 1971– 80

Exhibited in Royal Scottish Academy, Society of Scottish Artists, Royal Glasgow Insititute and Aberdeen Artists  annual exhibtions frequently from 1970 – present

Films

(All works on film currently being digitally remastered to HDV).

‘Between Dreams’ 1974, 16mm

‘She’ 1974, 16mm

‘TV 74’, 1974, S8

‘Portfolio’, 1975, 16mm

‘Behaviour Patterns’, 1976, 16mm

‘Signs’, 1976-77, 16mm

‘Incident’, 1978, 16mm

‘Two Painters’, 1978, 16mm

‘Happy Day’, 1979, 16mm

‘Incident’, 1981, 16mm

‘Three Artists’, 1982, 16mm

“The Illusionist” 2005, DV

“(mind)games” 2009, DV

“ By Any Other Name” 2009, HDV

“Joking Apart” 2011, HDV

Selected Curation and Writing

1999   Wrote catalogue note for the CD which formed part of the exhibition “NO NOISE: SAMPLES” a collaborative work by sculptor Chris Biddlecombe and musician David Troughton. The other writers involved were playwright John Harvey and musicologist, writer and broadcaster Dr. John Purser.

The exhibition opened at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, and toured extensively throughout the UK.

1994 and1995  Curated and organised the “Celtic Connections Visual Art Exhibition” at the Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.  Eight artists were involved in 1994, and fourteen in 1995.  An illustrated catalogue was produced for each exhibition.

Prizes and Awards

2009 Publication award, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

2009 Dundee Visual Artists Award Scheme award 2006 Leverhulme Artist in Residence Award at SCRI

2002 Publication award, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

2001 Shortlisted for Rootstein-Hopkins Major Sabbatical Award

1999 Sir William Gillies Bequest Award, Royal Scottish Academy

1996 Highland Society of London Award, Royal Scottish Academy

1994 Commendation, Aberdeen Artists Exhibition

1990  Hope Scott Trust Award

1980 S.A.C. Amsterdam Studio Award

1979 Scottish Arts Council Award for Film-making

1979 R.S.A. Guthrie Award, Royal Scottish Academy

1975 Prize for film, “Between Dreams” in BBC “Scope” Film Competition

1968 Prize in Scottish Young Contemporaries Exhibition

1967 1st prize in first Scottish Young Contemporaries Exhibition

1964-69 Numerous awards and prizes at Edinburgh College of Art

Work in Public Collections

Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Cork Municipal Art Gallery, Ireland

Demarco European Art Foundation, Edinburgh

Dundee Museums and Art Galleries

Edinburgh College of Art

Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow

John David Mooney Foundation, Chicago

Museum Narodowego, Gdansk, Poland

Perth Museum and Art Galleries

Ross Harper and Murphy Collection, Glasgow

Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh ( Scottish Arts Council Bequest)

Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling,(Scottish Arts Council Bequest)

State Library of Queensland, Australia, Rare Books Collection

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

University of Dundee

University of Abertay Dundee

Residencies

2006-2008 Leverhulme Artist in Residence at Scottish Crop Research Institute, (now the James Hutton Institute), Invergowrie Dundee, Scotland.

1995  Artist-in-Residence, Hobart Centre for the Arts, University of Tasmania, Australia.

1980  Scottish Arts Council Amsterdam Studio Award, Netherlands.

1978-80  Artist-in Residence, Livingston New Town, Scotland.

1973-74  Leverhulme Senior Art Fellow, Department of Architecture and Building Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

Public and Voluntary Commitments

2009- 2012 Trustee of he Patrick Allan Fraser Trust, Hospitalfield House, Arbroth

2005-2007, 2011-2014 Member of Council, The Royal Scottish Academy

2000 Member of the Awards and Purchases Committee, RSA Annual Exhibition

2000-04 Member of the John Kinross Scholarship Committee of the Royal Scottish Academy

2000 Elected to the Council of the Society of Scottish Artists

1998-continuing  Member of Arts Advisory Committee now the Cultural Engagement Sub-committee, Abertay Dundee University

1998, 2000, 2003 and 2010 Member of Hanging Committee for the Royal Scottish Academy Student Exhibition

1998 and 2009 Member of the selection committee of the J.D.Ferguson Trust Award

1997 Member of the selecting and judging committee of the Royal Over-Seas League Exhibition, London 

1996 Member of the judging committee of the Dundee Biennial Open Exhibition

1994-2000  Founding Trustee of the Perthshire Public Arts trust

1983-1995  Member of the board of the Dundee Public Art Programme

1979- 1986 Member of the board of Workshop and Studio Provision Scotland

1971  Founder chairman of the Glasgow League of Artists.