You certainly recognise the scenario when you get a message from an old friend – I’m coming to Scotland and it would be great to see you! Add on that the old friend is an accomplished artist with his first solo exhibition in Edinburgh. Then I’m afraid you just have to find space and make the trip to see the work.
Now, I’m no expert in art. Like you probably, I ‘know what I like’. However, I do like to visit exhibitions particularly of modern, contemporary artists who have a unique take on the world we share. I like to look at their work, their take on the world and reflect on their view of reality and mine.
The origins of friendship
Derek and I worked in the same school and came across each other through my role as Community Tutor and his as Head of Art. This was a large comprehensive school in Merseyside, therefore many people only knew their colleagues in their department and the kids they taught. If you think this is a cynical view of teaching in a modern school, you try juggling a workload of 250 pupils, their (sometimes) demanding parents and being a member of a team of twenty or so other teachers in your department. It was a busy life but there were a load of laughs.
Derek was an unusual art teacher. He ran a series of ‘residences’ where he brought working artists into school to work with his pupils to work collaboratively. This was an innovative and educationally inspirational way to teach art and to encourage young people to see themselves as young artists at the beginning of their careers and not as kids doing Art as another A level.
In 1993 Derek coordinated Field for the British Isles with Anthony Gormley, installing the work in the Tate Gallery Liverpool and in St Helens College. Derek is a member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts (since 2004) and has served on it’s Council for four years.
Derek is exhibiting at the Birch Tree Gallery, Edinburgh. According to their website:
‘’Birch Tree Gallery focuses on art-works that have roots in nature – whether in materials, inspiration or thematic elements. Since its opening in 2017, the gallery had over 60 exhibitions of contemporary paintings, original printings and fine crafts (ceramics, glass, wood, textile and mixed media).’’
Derek says of his first solo exhibition in Scotland:
‘’My work is concerned with the spirit. That of place, human existence and that of the wraith. After visiting many sites of ancient stones and cairns, I have become interested in the layers of history, meaning and traces of human activity present in these places.’’
An artist who is at home in Scotland and who appreciates the landscape and the spirit of the people who have shaped it over the centuries. More of Derek’s work can be found here.
So if you are looking for a new, exciting exhibition next month, in the heart of the Edinburgh art scene, then look no further than the Derek Boak exhibition at the Birch Tree Gallery.
A seriously good day out.