Drawing in the crowds at the City Art Centre

A major new free exhibition showcasing some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary artists is about to open at Edinburgh's City Art Centre, before embarking on an international tour.

A Parliament of Lines (5 May - 8 July 2012) will exhibit the work of fifteen contemporary artists, most working at an international level, all of whom use drawing as an important element in their practice.

The exhibition is built around five broad themes, each used to link the work of a number of the artists involved. The themes are: Figuration, Architecture/Landscape, Minimal Abstraction, Reproduction/Photography, and Sculptural Investigation.

All of the artists have either been born in Scotland or attended Art College here, and can boast a host of accolades and international exhibitions between them.

The artists are: Charles Avery, David Shrigley, Paul Chiappe, Layla Curtis,Callum Innes, Nathalie De Briey, Moyna Flannigan, Luca Frei, Sam Griffin, Marie Harnett, Alan Johnston, Andrew MacKenzie, Graeme Todd, Ainslie Yule and Euan Gray, who also curated the exhibition.

City of Edinburgh Council Museums Collections Manager David Patterson said "A Parliament of Lines promises to be a feast for all those who love drawing. The range of artists involved and the wealth of experience and creativity will certainly make it a must see for all lovers of contemporary art."

Artist and curator Euan Gray said: "Drawing has remained at the heart of Scottish art education since Edinburgh College of Art was formed initially as the first drawing school in Britain, over 250 years ago. In the 21st Century, drawing has a renewed importance in the art world. A Parliament of Lines aims to explore how drawing is being used in current contemporary art practice. The exhibition seeks to question what constitutes a drawing, at times exploring its boundary with painting, animation and photography."

The work on display in A Parliament of Lines, most of which has been created specially for the show, ranges from the exquisite tiny drawings of Paul Chiappe and Marie Harnett to a site specific wall drawing by Alan Johnston and an installation by Nathalie de Briey.

An illustrated book, including essays by Charles Esche, Murdo MacDonald and Gavin Morrison, and a busy events programme accompany the exhibition.

A Parliament of Lines is a partnership project between the City Art Centre and artist / curator Euan Gray. An international tour of the exhibition is being planned - following its debut in Edinburgh, it will travel first of all to The Pier in Orkney, before crossing the globe to Melbourne in Australia. 

A Parliament of Lines will be on show at the City Art Centre, Market Street, Edinburgh from 5 May - 8 July 2012. Admission is free.

Also on display at the City Art Centre from 5 May are Art and the Garden, featuring more than 50 works from the City's own collection of Scottish Art, and Terrain, offering the first opportunity for members of the public to view works of art which were acquired for Edinburgh pupils to view within the school environment.

Art and the Garden demonstrates how gardens can have different meanings to different people. Gardens are commonly regarded as places of sanctuary from the turmoil of everyday life, mirrors of the soul, places of creativity, inspiration and beauty, places for socialising but also somewhere to grow and cultivate produce. Some of the works on show provide intimate glimpses into private worlds while others present close up views of plants and scenes of social activity.

The artists' depictions are rich and varied and visitors to the exhibition will become aware of the fascinating and countless facets of the garden.

On display are works by William Gillies, John Maxwell, Victoria Crowe, Elizabeth Blackadder, E A Hornel, George Henry, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Louise Hopkins, among others. Admission is free.

About Terrain:  In 1963, an art collection was established which aimed to give school pupils in Edinburgh access to original works of art within their school environment.

Funded by a modest annual grant under the direction of artist Jack Firth, a collection of paintings, drawings and prints was built up over the years. It soon included works by some of Scotland's leading artists such as Elizabeth Blackadder, Barbara Rae and William Littlejohn.

Having been in storage for some years, in 2011 the collection was officially transferred into the care of the city's museums, and a programme of cleaning, re-mounting and re-framing was started. This is the first occasion that a selection of works from the collection will be back on public display. Admission is free.

About the artists in A Parliament of Lines:

Charles Avery: He has shown in many high profile exhibitions including, The British Art Show 7 (touring); Altermodern, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London and recent solo shows include Onomatopoeia, Part 1, EX3 - Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea, Florence and The Islanders: An Introduction, National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. www.doggerfisher.com

Paul Chiappe: He has had recent solo shows at the Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Madder 139, London and an upcoming exhibition in 2012 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Centre, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA. Recent group shows include Volta6, Basel, Switzerland. Tate BrItain are showing his work in the forthcoming 'Slow Looking' survey of Contemporary Drawing, opening in May 2012.

Layla Curtis: Since 2006, she has exhibited in many important group exhibitions including State of Flux, Trinity Contemporary, New York, NY, USA; Actions: What You Can Do With the City, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, USA; Living History, Tate Modern, London, British Art 1500-2006, Tate Britain, London; Art Futures, Bloomberg Space, London and Destination, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry.

Nathalie De Briey: Recent projects include a research residency in Hiroshima funded by the Scottish Arts Council, Ground Temperature: 3000°c; Emerged, Berlin; New Scots, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh; The Fleeting, and Taigh Chearsabhagh, North Uist

Moyna Flannigan: Recent shows  include Playboy Redux: Contemporary Artists Interpret the Iconic Playboy Bunny, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA; VANHUIT HIER - OUT OF HERE: The Collectors Show, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; Moyna Flannigan/Julie Roberts Galerie Akinci, Amsterdam, Netherlands and What you see is where you're at: Part 3, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Luca Frei: Important solo exhibitions throughout Europe include, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn; The end of summer, Museo Cantonale d'Arte, Lugano; Statements, Balice Hertling, Paris; Swiss Cultural Institute, Milan; Watch Out, Studio Dabbeni, Lugano and Studies/Play, Lunds Konsthalle, Sweden; They stared back at him with an expression of vicious, acrid boredom that trembled on the edge of violence, Balice Hertling, Paris

Euan Gray: He has won the Alastair Salvesen Scholarship, Edinburgh and been nominated for the Nat West Prize for Art, London twice. In the past two years he has won First Prize, 2010 and Second Prize, 2011 in the Aberdeen Artists Annual Exhibition, won a Creative Scotland Quality Production Award, he has been a finalist in the European Sovereign Art Prize, Istanbul and shortlisted for the Celeste Art Prize, New York. Recent curation projects include the Secret Confession exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art (including Katie Paterson, Janice McNab, Keith Farqhuar and William Daniels). He is an invited artist at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London in 2012.

Sam Griffin: Recent shows include Sam Griffin, Galerie Schirman and De Beauce, Paris and the Jerwood Drawing Prize, London. He is featured in the publication '100 New Artists' collated by Francesca Gavin and published in 2011.

Marie Harnett: The youngest artist on the list. Recent shows include Marie Harnett Drawings, Alan Cristea Gallery, London and the Jerwood Drawing Prize, London

Callum Innes: He has been nominated for the Turner Prize, won the Jerwood Painting Prize and recent solo exhibitions include, From Memory, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; New Paintings and Watercolours, Frith Street, London, UK; New Paintings, Jensen Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Callum Innes | colm tóibín water | colour, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, USA; One Remove, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, USA; Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid, Spain; Callum Innes - I look to you, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh

Alan Johnston: Has exhibited widely in Europe, USA and Japan and undertaken drawing projects including Haus Wittgenstein, Vienna; Colnagi Haus, Riehen, Basel; The Pier Art Centre, Stromness; AIAV,  Akiyoshidai, Shimada, Yamaguchi and Tokyo; The Whitney Museum, NYC; Tate, London; Inverleith House Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh and Safn, Reykjavik.

Andrew MacKenzie: Recent exhibitions include Still Surfacing, Sarah Myerscough, London; Cross Section of a Cascade, Sarah Myerscough, London; Delicate Ground, Amber Room Contemporary Art, Edinburgh and Sunrise on Grey Painted Steel, Watching Water Rise, Talbot Rice Gallery, London.

David Shrigley: Solo exhibtions include, Insects, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark; Animate, Turku Art Museum, Turku, Finland 2010-11; M Museum, Leuven,Belgium 2010; Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Glasgow, Scotland; Anton Kern Gallery, New York 2009; David Shrigley New Works, Gallleri Nicolai Wallner; New Powers, Kunsthalle Mainz; David Shrigley, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen; Fumetto, Kunstmuseum Luzern; David Shrigley, Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich,  Switzerland; David Shrigley, Monotypien, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK

Graeme Todd: Has exhibited extensively throughout the Europe, Japan and the USA including exhibitions at Gallerie Brigitte Weiss, Zurich, Galerie, Galerie S65, Cologne, Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Rome, Osaka Contemporary Art Centre, Osaka and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh.

Ainslie Yule: Included in the British Art Show (Touring) and has exhibited at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh; Ulster Museum Belfast and the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and recently was included in the RSA exhibition 10 Dialogues: Richard Demarco , Scotland & The European Avant Garde Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.

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