For this exhibition, we have brought together artwork by Grampian Hospitals Art Trust (GHAT) staff, who are also creative practitioners in their own right. This is a celebration of the artists who organise and deliver various projects across NHS Grampian (NHSG) sites, including Artroom, Art Collection and Projects.
This is an opportunity to promote the artists who are the driving force behind Grampian Hospitals Art Trust and highlights the range of practices within the GHAT team. Due to the nature of some of the team’s jobs, it is not always obvious to people who work with them daily that they have their own distinct practices. The work here on display includes performance, music, writing, sculpture, painting, ceramics and textiles and made by;
Anna’s work also looks at the idea of the passing of time. The documentation and the memory of the work becomes the work itself, as opposed to a physical piece of work that can be held and displayed on a wall. The work is created to explore and document time. Each piece takes hundreds of hours, and it is a bit of a labour of love.
As well as documenting the lifetime of the work, Anna has recently started to document the process that goes into creating it as this can be as significant as the final installed pieces.
Alexandra McGregor is a Performance and Visual Artist based in Aberdeen. Performance and drawing are primary processes used to investigate the feminine. Her work interweaves elements of folkloric and historic material to explore the post, present and future place and role of women.
The narratives in her practice take inspiration from past residue, re-examining and reforming feminine rites and traditions that seek to uncover the contemporary female. Womanly elements are excavated through different processes both active and reflective, using body, garment and props to reveal the different spaces and positions women inhabit. Her work seeks to constantly reconstruct and deconstruct the nature of the feminine, blending the preserved and factual with the alternated and fictional. Her practice creates sites of forensic and allegoric investigations that question where women sit within different systems both material and immaterial
Her work recently looks to unearth ideas relating to Scottish female deities and the Scottish landscape, considering climate change and ideas surrounding feminine ecology and our natural landscape.
Donna Briggs is a multidisciplinary artist based in Aberdeen. She studied printmaking at Gray’s School of Art from Robert Gordon University with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art- Printmaking. Since then, she has exhibited artworks in open exhibitions and solo shows and has completed commissioned work for businesses in Aberdeen City. Donna won a Purchase Prize in 2008 and was later commissioned by Grampian Hospitals Art Trust to make site-specific work for a reminiscence room in Aberdeen’s Royal Cornhill Hospital. Since 2008, Donna has been working as an Artist for the Artroom project at Roxburghe House.
Donna’s practise focuses mainly on the embedded emotions and memories in found and rediscovered objects and photographs. Her work explores themes of myth and ritual through both analogue and digital works of collage. Donna has always been interested in the importance we place on the objects we surround ourselves with. These objects are precious, not because of their monetary value, but because of their sentimental value, the feelings of nostalgia they invoke, and the ways they connect us to the past.
Notions of myth, ritual, ceremony and tradition are embedded in these objects- the memories we keep- and inform, by way of storytelling, the histories we record, pass down and inherit.
Jean’s work is mostly painting and sewing which is influenced by her family and early life experiences.
Through the process of painting, Jean turns photos and memories of growing up into myths. They begin to drift away from reality, into surreal forms of remembering and making.
Jo often writes in their native tongue of Doric, work rooted in the language of the North East and reflecting where Jo is from. The work often evokes feeling and emotion and can be both humorous and moving.
Neal MacDonald takes inspiration from elements of chance, found objects, Google algorithms and aims to elevate the everyday.
Neal MacDonald has recently won the Aberdeen Artists Society Second Prize with his oil painting ‘An Artists Impression of a Flemish Aristocrat’s Skull found in a Supermarket Carpark’.
Fraser MacDonald is a visual artist based in South Ayrshire. His work is a distillation of thoughts and feelings that reoccur and often relate to an individual or a place of importance to himself.
‘My Interest in everything leads me to create work concerned with anything’
The artworks he makes are composites of real and imagined conversations or experiences and are embedded with enough omitted phrases and conversations to fill a novel (with pictures), which is why he considers words and images of equal consequence. Fraser makes work about things that he likes or that interest him, usually from the point of view of a disorientated spectator rather than a zealous participant. He has never had the interest to become prolific at a particular method of working, preferring to approach making work in much the same way as eating, which Fraser sees as having some consistencies whether they are staples, occasions or rarities, for example drawing slash porridge, printmaking slash scallops, bronze casting slash Asiago cheese trugole. Fraser wrote a book called Plastic Chairs in 2016 and an artist friend who proof-read it said it contained a reference to food on every page.
Amy Benzie is a ceramic maker and creative facilitator based in Aberdeen City. She holds a BA in Ceramics and Glass from Gray’s School of Art and is Co-Director of Aberdeen Ceramics Studio.
Amy’s curiosity lies in the alchemy of glaze recipes and firing. The element of unpredictability that comes from working with her materials, and the exchanges between art and science, greatly inspire the otherworldly forms and textures of her work. This has led to innovative and unorthodox methods of pattern application, for which she was awarded the Potclays Graduate Award.
Amy’s work includes a collection of otherworldly vessels – ‘The FrankenBodies’ – which were exhibited as part of the Haddo Arts Festival. These pieces are a development of the ‘Fertility Vessels’ produced as part of a residency at The Pheasantry in 2018.
Rachel Jack is a singer-songwriter from Fraserburgh. Rachel made the decision to leave her previous corporate career and apply herself to her singing and songwriting when she received the Paulo Nutini scholarship and studied music at the University West of Scotland.
Rachel has generated success through EPs such as Magazine Girls. Her music takes inspiration from everyday people and their stories and many of her songs are conversations she has had with others. Rachel is passionate about music and for her, it is a liberating process.
Yvette regularly collaborates or works collectively with other creative practitioners. She works in a variety of forms, mainly sculptural, as well as text-based works, photography, sound and video. Yvette’s practise looks at the lifecycles and networks of objects and materials, and their traces within environments.
Yvette is a co-founder and member of Tendency Towards, an artist and curatorial collective that create and organise events and exhibitions.
In addition to her role as Writer in Residence at Roxburghe House, Emily teaches creative writing at North East Scotland College and regularly facilitates workshops in the city. She is the lead practitioner on Creative Scotland funded ‘Creative Comforts’ project, which aims to inspire comfort and improve wellbeing for NHS Grampian staff through art and writing. She is an Honorary Fellow of the WORD Centre for Creative Writing and a founding member of the Aberdeen Writers Studio.
Sally Thomson studied Fine Art at Humberside University, while studying she decided to specialise in feltmaking. The artwork seen here, ‘Nepalese Window’, was created as part of Konya to Carlisle: Corridors of Felt staged in the main gallery of Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle. The exhibition was the culmination of a yearlong post as ‘Cumbrian Crafts Resident’.
Sally spent time learning traditional felting methods from Turkish master felters in Konya, home of the whirling dervishes, that taught Sally the skills needed to make felts on a large scale. The imagery for the works was harvested from travels over the five years prior to the residency.
‘Nepalese Window’ has patterns from across the world framed in a decorative Nepalese style window frame. Sally walked the foothills of Nepal and was intrigued by the incredible window decoration in the vernacular housing, which informed the imagery of her felt works.
The felting methods learnt in Turkey enabled her to work with community groups to make large community felts in a single day which led to her roles in the third sector, working closely with the public and the benefits of art and creativity.
Alexandra McGregor’s 3 Knots performance and cloak were part of ‘Forecast’ exhibition commissioned by Look Again for the Seed Fund Programme 2021 and Supported by RGU Art and Heritage Collections. 3 Knots was filmed by Look Again and edited by Callum Kellie.
Yvette Bathgate’s film Nymphaea Alba was made in collaboration with Abby Beatrice Quick, Elisabeth Schilling, Aymee Charleton and David Henderson.
Artroom is a patient-centred project facilitated by professional artists and writers. The ethos of Artroom is that every patient has the potential to be an artist and/or writer in their own right. The project practitioners draw on many years’ worth of developed skill and experience to ensure the art and writing sessions are accessible to all participants, contributing to the improvement of quality of life for patients in the day unit and in-patient ward care.
The Art Collection artworks have been commissioned or purchased over the past 37 years. The artwork is on rotational display across all 34 NHSG sites. This service is intrinsic to our original focus and fundamental to our relationship with people and places. NHSG Staff are invited to select the artwork for their area, which creates a dialogue around its use and display. This has allowed us to involve NHSG staff in the curatorial process of selecting work for their area, which has had an extremely positive effect in communicating the Art Collection as a valuable cultural asset and offers a behind-the-scenes insight into the work we do.
GHAT works closely with NHSG on new capital build projects and the refurbishment of existing NHSG buildings across the North East of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland. We commission local and national artists to work with staff and project teams to design environments that are both relevant and sympathetic to the context of each area, its users and day to day function. This can range from a very practical form of advising on colour selection or rethinking of wayfinding as a means of identifying a ward or clinic, to developing an arts strategy for an entire hospital. The commissions can include site-specific sculptures, bespoke furniture, or working directly with project architects on screening or cladding solutions required by NHSG safety and privacy policies.
Exhibition photos by Mike Davidson.
This exhibition has been funded by Creative Scotland.
In light of the current situation The Suttie Arts Space is only open to users of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. This includes all staff, patients and their visitors. For more information on The Suttie Arts Space please go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.