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Paterson shows the shape of things to come

While the Commonwealth Games is visiting Glasgow this summer, Scotland's art galleries will be filled with the fruit of the nation's own artistic talent in a country-wide exhibiting programme called Generation, designed to complement the Glasgow Games.

Toby Paterson, the 2002 Becks Futures Prizewinner whose new works include pieces specifically relating to Kirkcaldy, the town in which the exhibition starts out
Toby Paterson, the 2002 Becks Futures Prizewinner whose new works include pieces specifically relating to Kirkcaldy, the town in which the exhibition starts out

The city's art scene is famously vital, and among the many artists exhibiting is Toby Paterson, whose exhibition at Kirkcaldy Galleries kicks off the entire programme.

"We hadn't actually realised it would be the first Generation show to open, but it's done very well for us," admits Susan Davis, programme manager of Fife Contemporary Art and Craft, who are organising a show that will later tour venues from Inverness to Dumfries. "We really wanted an artist who would be able to create something relevant to what we were doing, and having worked with Toby some years ago in St Andrews, we'd been hoping to find another opportunity to work with him again."

Davis suggests it was perhaps their speed in organising themselves that worked in their favour. "I knew he'd be really busy and we were very pleased to get him. We knew we had to work fast as there is a lot of work involved in organising the tour we do through the Scottish Touring Exhibitions Consortium, so we weren't talking about just one venue."

For those unfamiliar with the 2002 Becks Futures Prizewinner, Paterson has been exploring a dialogue with the neglected and often reviled remnants of our Modernist city landscape since graduating from the Glasgow School of Art in 1995. His language has become increasingly abstract, and while this exhibition is no retrospective, its 30-odd works charting mainly the last couple of years in his rigorous output, there are some pieces from the early 2000s.

Paterson works in a number of media, from painting to collage and sculpture. A relatively new departure at Kirkcaldy is an aluminium work called Salt Corrosion, which is "very three dimensional but relates to the abstracted shapes of walls and building forms". Elsewhere, four other new works include pieces specifically relating to the town in which the exhibition starts out.

"That's another of the reasons we wanted to work with Toby," says Davis. "There are Modernist-style buildings dotted all over the place in most of the towns that the exhibition will tour to. Toby is hoping to make a piece of work that will relate in some way to a piece of architecture locally in all the venues, so it makes it more relevant to the audience that's coming."

For Kirkcaldy, Paterson has been working on Park And Pool, a piece that abstracts a Brutalist car park and swimming pool. "My impression is that the muted colours he's worked in reflect the fact that this is a swimming pool by the sea," says Davis.

A screenprint, The Tower, has been made with Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop, and is apparently based on a series of towers in Kirkcaldy. There is work here, too, from Paterson's recent Soft Boundary exhibition at the Modern Institute in Glasgow, which explored the Red Road Flats in Glasgow, including a painting entitled The Red Tavern, dissecting the building of the title on a large scale. There should, in sum, be much to see in this abstracted tour of the architecturally overlooked and unvalued in our townscapes.

Toby Paterson is at Kirkcaldy Galleries until June 22, www.fcac.co.uk

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