The current exhibition at The Suttie Art Space showcases the breadth of creative practices held by Grampian Hospitals Art Trust staff. Walking into Introducing the Artists II, you are immediately taken out of the hospital environment with the jazz berry walls providing a welcome break from clinical white. Something special about this gallery is how it celebrates art as a tool to bring positivity to people’s lives, even (and especially) in challenging circumstances. No one visiting the Suttie is here because they want to be, and often they are wandering in around some kind of treatment, either for themselves or someone else. Looking at the art on offer provides a moment’s distraction from medical matters.  

Most enjoyable about this exhibition is the wide variety of work on show. Ranging from paper cutouts to ceramics to video works to text pieces, the mix of different styles are linked together by the artists’ connection to GHAT. Whilst thematically unrelated the works seem well balanced, with no single work overshadowing another. Wandering around the space, you get a taster of different creative mediums and an insight into the artists’ ideas.  

Something I appreciate about Introducing the Artists II is how it highlights the multifaceted role of an artist today. Rarely will you find a creative practitioner whose entire job is making their work, whether to display or sell, with most spinning a few different plates at a time. The overlapping nature of creative jobs means artists are required to be versatile and have a range of skills beyond their specific creative outlet. Whether their role is administrative/organisational or therapeutic/collaborative, the artists in this exhibition have maintained a creative practice in tandem with their job at GHAT. No art in made in a vacuum, and it is interesting to consider how each of these artists different roles have influenced each other.

Phoebe Banks is currently working with GHAT as a Gallery Assistant and is a practicing artist in her own right. Her practice  intersects writing, sculpture and video.  Phoebe is also part of artists’ collective Tactics for Togetherness and creative duo CUSP, a collaboration with artist and friend Jess Wilson-Leigh