Vigorous Imagination: Then and Now
2017 marked the 30th anniversary of the ground-breaking exhibition ‘The Vigorous Imagination: New Scottish Art’ presented at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 1987 as the lead Edinburgh International Festival art exhibition.
In 1987, The Vigorous Imagination showcased the works of 17 young artists who were making waves on the international art scene, featuring the powerful new wave of figurative art then prevalent. These included the ‘New Glasgow Boys’: Steven Campbell, Peter Howson, Ken Currie, Adrian Wiszniewski; renowned sculptor David Mach; photographer-installations artists Calum Colvin and Ron O'Donnell, and painters Sam Ainsley, Philip Braham, Gwen Hardie, Ian Hughes, Keith McIntyre, June Redfern, Mario Rossi, Joseph Urie & Kate Whiteford. It was a proud pronouncement that visual art in Scotland was vibrant, intelligent and in touch with the zeitgeist which swept across Europe during the 1980’s. Since then, many of the artists have become household names.
The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh also exhibited, side by side, work from 1987 offering a rare chance to see a ground breaking group of work over a 30 year span. This group came to influence the wider artistic landscape in Scotland and beyond and The Vigorous Imagination paved the way for the current crop of international artists whose fame attests to the vibrancy of Glasgow as a pivotal centre for contemporary art.
Steven Campbell & Ian Hughes, both deceased, were represented by historical works at The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh.