Kate Downie

Photograph by Alicia Bruce


Kate Downie describes her work: “Ever since living in Paris in the late 80’s, I have been exploring the concept of ‘La Place’: a point in the land where many roads meet. One of my creative concerns is to define these spaces between buildings rather than the buildings themselves. The object lesson for me is the witnessing and the drawing of these non-places which are also, by definition, public arenas of cumulative activity. My job as an artist is to accommodate these actions in our contemporary lives, and to find the poetry within.”

Her work is often defined by good draughtsmanship and a sense of movement. Panoramas, unbound by the mere edge of a sheet of paper or canvas, invite the viewer to enter the works, both complex and accessible. Previous exhibition highlights include: The Coast Road Diaries at The Scottish Gallery; The Sea Room at the Watermill in Aberfeldy Perthshire; Titanic Shores at Gracefield Art Gallery in Dumfries; ‘East’ a solo exhibition at the University of Edinburgh Talbot Rice Gallery in 2001; New Paintings, Galleri Grijsdalen, Denmark in1995; Urban Circus, which toured to Dundee McManus Gallery, Cleveland Art Gallery and Art Space Gallery Aberdeen in 1990 - 92.

Kate Downie was born in America of British parentage, but returned to live in the North East of Scotland at the age of 7. She studied Fine Art at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, including post graduate studies. She has held artists’ residencies in the USA, Amsterdam, Paris and more recently Corsica and Norway. During her career Downie has established studios in places as diverse as a brewery, a maternity hospital, an oil rig and an island underneath the Forth Rail Bridge. She has taught both in art colleges and universities and has directed major public and community art projects since 1987.

Like the Scottish Artists Joan Eardley and DY Cameron in the last century, Downie has spent the past 25 years exploring an artistic vision for both the extremes of a Scottish urban/industrial landscape as well as the less pastoral of Scotland’s coastal ‘edge-scapes’ beyond the cities.

As President to the Society of Scottish Artist from 2004 to 2006, Downie co-curated contemporary visual art projects of international standing, including an exchange exhibition with Indian artists and the Bodyparts live art Festival at the RSA in Edinburgh. Downie's work appears in many public and corporate collections including the BBC; Adam & Co; Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art; Gracefield Art Gallery, Dumfries; Aberdeen Art Gallery; Rietveld Kunst Academie, Amsterdam; City of Edinburgh Council; HM The Queen; Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow & New Hall College Art Collection in Cambridge. In 2005 the artist was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, and in 2008 became a member of the Royal Scottish Academy.


Solo Exhibitions

2011 The Concrete Hour, Drawing installation, performance and prints, Where Where Art Space, Beijing, China
New Paintings Scottish Gallery
Bridging the Gap  Invited Guest Artist Pittenweem Arts Festival  
Dialogue with the Land  The Burgh Hall Culture Centre, Linlithgow
‘Printworks - 21 Years of Printmaking by Kate Downie’ The Watermill, Aberfeldy, Scotland
2009–10 The Coast Road Diaries The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh.
Touring to: Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries, and Duff House Museum & Gallery, Banff, Aberdeenshire
2008 The Sea Room The Watermill, Aberfeldy
2007 The Red Coast The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
2006 New Work The Watermill, Aberfeldy, Scotland
2005 New Work Lazaret Ollandini Foundation, Corsica
2003 Routes des Travaux Gallerie La Marge, Ajaccio, Corsica (Festival of Scottish Culture)
Titanic Shores Gracefield Studios, Dumfries
2002 The Vanished Road Rendezvous Gallery, Aberdeen
2001 East Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh
1999 The Bridge The Project Room, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh
Intaglio Paintings and Prints Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh
1997 Dusk Electric Thornton-Bevan Arts, London
New Landscapes Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh
1995 Deviant Taxis Colour Monoprints, Strathfest ’95 Cogarth Castle, Aberdeenshire
WASPS Studio Gallery, Edinburgh Festival
1993–6 The Mother Pool The People’s Palace, Glasgow and a major UK Tour of Museums and Galleries
1990–1 Urban Circus Tour – Collins Gallery, Glasgow; Cleveland Gallery, Middlesbrough; McManus Gallery, Dundee; Artspace Gallery, Aberdeen
1987 New Paintings Galleri Grijsdalen, Denmark & Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh


Selected Group Exhibitions

2011 Intersection Chinese & International Red Gate Residency artists exhibition , Nova Art Coordinates, Beijing
Matchmaker Drawing performance, invited artist Cupar Arts Festival
Monotypes Glasgow Print Studio Gallery , Glasgow
Ripple Effect  New Monoprints from France, Norway and Scotland.
2010 Invited Artist Royal Scottish Academy – Haymarket Junction Drawing Installation
2009 New Publications, Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop
2009-2010 The Wych Elm Project. Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh / Graal press co-published
2009 Drawing& Film Installation Society of Scottish Artists, Dundee
Winter Residency artists exhibition Coast Festival, Banff, Aberdeenshire
2008–9 The North Sea Project, SSA/ Stavanger City of Culture 2008, Attic Salt Gallery, Edinburgh
Sand Kulturhus; Kopervik Kulturhus; Rogaland Kunstsenter Stavanger, Norway; Coast Festival of Visual Arts, Banff,Aberdeenshire; Portsoy Boat Festival
2007 Saturday Night, Sunday Morning. Frances Thirlway Fine Art, Durham
40 Years of Printmaking from Edinburgh Printmakers 1987 to 2007
Modern Print Masters, Watermill Gallery Aberfeldy
2006 The Royal Scottish Academy / The Society of Scottish Artists, Edinburgh
Contemporary Scottish Artists, Chambers Gallery, London
An Object Lesson Red Barn Gallery, Cumbria
2005/6 The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2005. Jerwood Space, London; Pittville Gallery, Cheltenham;
Rennie Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow
2005 WASPS Exchange, ARC Gallery, Chicago
2003 Moving Solutions – SSA Bonhoga Gallery, Shetland
SSA Select The Park Gallery, Falkirk
Sons and Mothers Collins Gallery, Glasgow
Interactions co-publication project & exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers
2000 Living Proof, Joyce Gunn-Cairns & Kate Downie Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh
Printmaking Present Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries
1999–2000 Cleveland Drawing Biennial (European Tour)
1999 A Sense of Identity Department of International Development, East Kilbride
Girl Power Rendezvous Gallery, Aberdeen
The Fine Art of Medicine Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
1998 Twin Images II The Fine Art Society, London
1997 Summer Exibition The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
1996–7 The Motor Show Powered Vehicles in British Painting. Touring to: Herbert Art Gallery &
Museum, Coventry; Plymouth City Museum & Gallery; Stockport Art Gallery; Wrexham Arts Centre; Turnpike Gallery, Leigh
1995 The Discerning Eye Mall Galleries, London
Next? Artists, Residencies and Hospitals Touring to:
City Arts Centre, Edinburgh; Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling; Lillie Art Gallery, Milngavie
1993 Scottish Painting Flowers East Gallery, London
Through Women’s Eyes Contemporary Scottish Women Artists City Arts Centre, Edinburgh
1992–3 Figure in the City Urban Themes in New Scottish
Painting Touring to: Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; Mia Joosten Gallery, Amsterdam;
Musiekatelier Kunstactivieten, Maastricht; Y’art & P Gallery, Utrecht; BP Gallery, Brussels; Artspace, Aberdeen, Oriel Gallery, Cardiff
Regular exhibitor at the Annual Exhibitions of the Royal Scottish Academy and the Society of Scottish Artists



Scottish Arts Council
British Broadcasting Corporation
Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art
East and Midlothian NHS Trust
Cleveland Art Gallery, Middlesbrough
Edinburgh City Arts Centre
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Gracefield Museums and Galleries, Dumfries
Kirkaldy Art Gallery and Museum
New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge
The Museum of London
Scottish Provident
Aberdeen University
Grampian Regional Council
Allied Breweries
Edinburgh University
Royal Bank of Scotland
Creswell Maternity Hospital, Dumfries
City of Edinburgh Council
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Moray House College of Education
Gray’s School of Art
Adam & Company
Art in Healthcare, Scotland
Royal Scottish Academy
Scottish Trades Union Congress
Rietveld Kunst Academie, Amsterdam
H M The Queen
Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow



2009 Reviews from Scotsman Newspaper (Duncan Macmillan) and The Times Newspaper (Giles Sutherland, ‘First Night’ column )
2008 Panel member & contributor to the current affairs review programme Shereen BBC Radio Scotland
2007–8 Radio Haugesund – featured artist coverage of the North Sea Project
2006–8 The Art Café BBC radio Scotland – reviewer
2005 Channel 3, coverage of residency with the Foundation Lazaret Ollandini, Ajaccio, Corsica
2001 BBC1 News live coverage of Leith Gable End mural painting
BBC Newsnight Scotland coverage of RSA/SSA debate
1993 STV News coverage of From Here to Maternity
1987 Grampian Television featured artist, offshore residency
1985 BBC Scotland Reporting Scotland Coastlines exhibition
1983–4 Central Television Venture Documentary
Three Artists in Industry – National Broadcast


Residency and Project Work

2011 Red Gate Gallery International Artists Residency, Beijing
Study visit to China studying examples of contemporary and traditional Ink Painting
Creative Retreat winter residency, Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire
2008 The Asfalt Sea two day performance drawing / film project. Stavanger 2008 Kultur programme, Kopervik, Norway
2007 North Sea Project Stavanger 2008 Artists residency in Karmoy, Norway
2005–7 Co-Curator of Body Parts, Festival of Performance Art, Society of Scottish Artists & the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh
2005–6 The Time-line Mural Project artist in schools residency, Drumbrae Primary School, Edinburgh
2005 Studio residency Foundation Ollandini, Ajaccio, Corsica
2003 Interchange environmental art feasibility study, Aberdeen. Funded by Scottish Enterprise
2001 A Hiding Place Installation for the International Anne Frank touring exhibition, City Arts Centre, Edinburgh
2000 Invited artist in multi-media public arts project/ exhibition Old Town, New Story, City Arts Centre, Edinburgh
1999 Co-publication of limited edition lithograph Span with Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop
1997–8 Invited artist, Scottish Trades Union Congress, Women’s Centenary Banner Project
Touring to: Caird Hall, Dundee; Aberdeen Art Gallery; Stirling Smith Gallery, Stirling
1997 New Beginnings, major painting commission for Paintings in Hospitals, Scotland
1996 From the Hills to the Sea, major painting commission, Gordon Forum for the Arts, Gordon District Council, Aberdeenshire
Lowick House Printmaking Residency, Cumbria
Circle the City public art commission. Artist / community collaboration funded by Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Limited
1995 Dancing through Glass Artist /Schools Project.
Acetate installation, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Funded by The Royal Lyceum and Edinburgh City Council
1993 Invited Artist in Residence, Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital. Funded by Glasgow Museums and Galleries
Invited Artist, Threads of Life International Textile Exhibition, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow
1992–3 Lux Europa – Windows on Europe Edinburgh / Kiev / Munich. Collaborative arts project with slide workshop, Edinburgh as artist/designer; window illuminations in coloured acetate, Edinburgh City Chambers/Lothian Region Headquarters
1988–9 Paris Collaboration with film-maker Jacques Haubois – Child’s Play Traffic Jam, film/painting installation, Collins Gallery, Glasgow & Glasgow Film Theatre
Artist in Residence, Alpha B Oil Platform, North Sea. Gray’s School of Art/Total
Related Printmaking Residency, Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen
Safe Harbour major mural commission, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary



Riverside Gallery Award, RSW 131st Annual Exhibition 2011
William Gilles Bequest, Royal Scottish Academy 2010
RSA Research Award 2007
Short-listed for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2005
The Hope Scott Trust Visual Arts Award 2000
Greenshield Foundation Scholarship Award (twice)
Latimer Award RSA
Major Painting Prize, RSA Student Exhibition
Scottish Arts Council Bursary, Amsterdam
Aberdeen Artists Exhibition, major prize winner 1987
Winner of Artists and Illustrators Magazine Prize, The Discerning Eye Exhibition, Mall Gallery, London 1995
First Prize Spectator/Adams & Co National Art Exhibition 2000 Competition


Publications / bibliography

2009 Stavanger 2008 City of Culture review publication
2009 The Wych Elm Project, published by the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh
2008 Featured artist, Homes & Interiors Scotland, September / October issue
The Sea Room catalogue & partner publication to Exhibition, published by Watermill Publications,
Aberfeldy, Scotland
2001 Exhibition Catalogue, East. Published by University of Edinburgh
2000 Allgemeines Kunstlerlexicon, World Biographical Dictionary of Artists
1996 Artists & Illustrators Magazine. Featured artist June 1996
The Motor Show Urban Themes in British Painting by Oliver Bevan
1995 Next? Artists, Residencies & Hospitals. Exhibition catalogue. City Arts Centre, Edinburgh
1994 Scottish Art in the 20th Century by Duncan MacMillan. Mainstream Publishers
1993 Contemporary Painting in Scotland by Bill Hare. Craftsman House Publishers
1991 The First 100 Years. Society of Scottish Artists publication. Text by Cordelia Oliver
1990 Urban Circus Exhibition Catalogue. Published by Collins Gallery, text by Euan MacArthur, University
of Strathclyde