City Art Centre Reveals Exhibitions Programme for 2023

Portrait of Peter Howson at Flowers Gallery, Cork Street, London in 2021 in front of his painting Phlegethon (The Fiery Third River of Hell), 2021.

The City Art Centre, Edinburgh, dedicated to championing historic and contemporary Scottish visual arts and crafts, announces an exciting range of exhibitions for 2023.

All shows, except the Peter Howson retrospective in the summer, will be free to attend. Further information on the individual exhibitions, including a varied public events programme, will be announced later in the year.

When the Apple Ripens: Peter Howson at 65
A Retrospective
27 May - 1 October 2023, £8.50/ £6.50

A major retrospective of works by Peter Howson, one of the UK’s leading figurative painters. The exhibition will bring together around 100 works spanning the artist’s career, many never seen before in Scotland.

Howson has established a formidable reputation in the art world. His heroic portrayals of the mighty and the lowly confront subjects of human conflict and destruction that offer a penetrating insight into the human condition. His experiences of abuse - whether self-inflicted and substance-related, or the traumatic events of his childhood - have moulded his world view and afforded him an affinity with individuals on the margins of society.

The City Art Centre has been planning the exhibition since 2019, working closely with Howson and his London representatives Flowers Gallery. Howson has previously shown at the City Art Centre, when his critically acclaimed solo exhibition devoted to Scotland’s patron saint Andrew was displayed in 2007.

Emerging from Glasgow School of Art in the 1980s, Howson quickly proved his skill of capturing the maverick, the excessive, the non-conformist and his own personal understanding of the struggles of everyday life. In 1992 he was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to record the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. He was appointed official British war artist for Bosnia in 1993 and in 1996 was awarded Doctor of Letters at The University of Strathclyde. His work is included in numerous national and international museum collections.

Shifting Vistas: 250 Years of Scottish Landscape
24 June 2023 - 2 June 2024, Free Entry

For centuries, the Scottish landscape has provided artists with a potent source of inspiration. From scenes of mountains and forests to images of lochs and coastlines, the natural world attracts a range of creative responses. Urban views of towns and cities prompt equally varied interpretations, as artists explore how people have shaped their surroundings. Today our relationship with the landscape has taken on further significance, with environmental concerns over climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Shifting Vistas: 250 Years of Scottish Landscape addresses this ever-evolving subject, with a selection of historic and contemporary artworks drawn from the City Art Centre’s permanent collection of fine art. Spanning artistic production from the 18th century to present day, it includes paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures by artists such as Alexander Nasmyth, John Lavery, SJ Peploe, William Gillies, Joan Eardley and Victoria Crowe. The exhibition also features several recent additions to the collection, on display for the first time.

The Scottish Landscape Awards 
4 November 2023 - 3 March 2024, Free Entry

The City Art Centre is thrilled to host the inaugural exhibition of Scotland’s newest open call in contemporary art - The Scottish Landscape Awards.

Presented by the Scottish Arts Trust, the awards are open to artists born, living or studying in Scotland, and for works in any media including but not limited to painting, drawing, sculpture, animation, photography, installation, film and video, multi-media, and virtual reality landscapes. With a first prize of £10,000, the exhibition will be curated by and the prize-winners chosen by a distinguished panel of judges including Barbara Rae (chair), David Mach, Jane and Louise Wilson, Ade Adesina and Marian Leven.

Reflecting all dimensions of natural and/or man-made environments whether imaginary, surreal, abstract, documentary, ecological or realistic, selected works will push the boundaries of what contemporary landscape art is. The resulting exhibition will showcase the breadth and diversity of innovative contemporary creativity in Scotland today.

Deep Rooted 
18 November 2023 - 25 February 2024, Free Entry

Our relationship with the natural world hangs in a balance, with climate change and large-scale deforestation threatening the existence of our biodiversity. For many of us, the pandemic changed our relationship with nature. It led to a growing appreciation of our gardens, allotments, woods, and public parks and the temporary reduction of traffic brought about the fleeting return of audible birdsong. Lockdowns particularly, reminded us just how important access to nature is for our physical and mental wellbeing and therefore something worth protecting.

Deep Rooted features work by six leading contemporary artists. Together, they explore the relationship between people and the natural environment using a variety of media and approaches. Some of the works reflect on current ecological issues and urge for action, others explore our fragile relationship with the natural world or simply capture its beauty. All the works on display act as a reminder of the importance of valuing nature and in particular trees, which sustain our and other species’ existence. In order to help fight this urgent climate crisis, we need to change some of our deep-rooted behaviours.

Councillor Val Walker, Edinburgh’s Convener of Culture and Communities said:

2023 looks set to be another fantastic year at the City Art Centre. There are many highlights throughout the year beginning in Spring with Peter Howson at 65. One of the most respected artists of his generation, we are very proud and excited that the City Art Centre will host this major study of his work.

Later in the year we’ll explore the wonderful landscapes of Scotland through two unique exhibitions. The first of which will showcase how they have evolved over the last 250 years. We're also delighted to host the inaugural exhibition of Scotland’s newest open call in contemporary art - The Scottish Landscape Awards.

I’m very much looking forward to Deep Rooted in the winter, where the works of six contemporary artists will be brought together to explore our relationship as humans with the natural world. With climate change the most pressing cause of our time, this display is sure to question how we can change our deep-rooted behaviours for the good of the future.

The City Art Centre is one of the most accessible places in Edinburgh for art lovers, with five packed floors of exhibitions and a popular events programme and I would encourage everyone to pay us a visit.


Published: January 23rd 2023