It has been three years now since the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art started their NOW programme to celebrate the diversity of contemporary art practice and the role of artists in society today. Beginning in 2017 with Nathan Coley, it has seen some some 37 artists shown in major exhibitions themed around the interests of key artistic figures, with many new works subsequently acquired for the permanent collection from artists who weren't previously represented, including pieces by Susan Philipsz, Jenny Saville and Monster Chetwynd. This last exhibition revolves around the work of Katie Paterson, whose evocative installations marry both art and science, Deep Time and the everyday.

“Katie's name has been on the list since before we started,” says Chief Curator Lucy Askew of the brilliant Scottish artist whose research-led work puts cosmic space and time into a domestic framework with a strong dose of the Sublime. “We have her work in our collection, and we were quite surprised to see that she hadn't had an institutional public exhibition in Scotland, despite her great profile internationally.”

Paterson, who studied at Glasgow School of Art (2004) and at the Slade (2007), is perhaps best known to the wider public for her Future Library project. Set up in 2014, it asks one author a year to provide a book or text that is held under lock and key in Oslo until 2114, when it will emerge for the first time, printed on paper made from trees planted 100 years previously in the Future Library plantation just north of Oslo. It's inaugural author was Margaret Atwood, with others including David Mitchell and Elif Shafak so far having contributed. It is typical of Paterson's visionary work, taking the vast spaces of time and creating an awe-inspiring window into these through something nonetheless solid and graspable, whether that is in bouncing the Moonlight Sonata off the surface of the moon and playing back the disjointed relay from its surface on a player piano (Earth-Moon-Earth, 2007) or creating a mirror ball out of images of nearly every solar eclipse documented by humans (Totality, 2016).

Her gallery-based work is a synthesis of science, poetry and philosophy, of mental and visual ideas, rigorously researched in collaboration with scientific institutions and others. For the exhibition, the gallery has borrowed 18 Paterson works. “Time really is within all her work, whether its a candle burning down over 24 hours giving out different scents, or lightbulbs emulating a lifetime worth of moonlight. It connects the impossible idea of the enormity of the cosmos to the human scale,” says Askew.

Co-curators Askew and Lauren Logan have taken this theme of Time and how artists have dealt with it in different ways to inform their choice of artists to accompany Paterson. Alongside the artist's work the gallery will show Darren Almond's “Fullmoon”, a collection of long exposure photographs made by the light of the full moon. “It took 15 minutes or more to create each one, so you have Time occurring both in the process of how they are made, and also in what they are about.” Elsewhere in the gallery will be a documentation of “Progressive”, a 2017 performance by Glasgow-based artist Shona Macnaughton made when she was nine months pregnant in Denistoun. Glasgow. “It looks at performance as a transient, temporal thing. We'll be showing photographs, scripts and props from her performance to invite viewers to look at the real sense of journey through performance...Shona was very heavily pregnant at the time and couldn't get away from the fact that she was going through a very particular process herself – a change in her body and a regeneration of life.”

The final film is by American artist Lucy Raven. Entitled “The Deccan Trap”, “It's like a reverse collage. She looks at the history of image making and how images are formed, and in particular a place in India where CGI is made for Hollywood, and what it means to look at a film now. It's a very swift journey through time which goes back to a prehistoric location in western India called The Deccan Traps which is a site of huge volcanic activity that created basalt rocks. And into these rocks later, beautiful carvings were made in temples excavated out of the rock caves. It's about image making and the excavation of images,” says Askew. The overlaid images are accompanied by a “very ambient throbbing soundtrack. She's inserted elements of sound from the Jurassic Park soundtrack – it being the first film in Hollywood to use CGI throughout the film. There are lots of hidden references.”

NOW may be embarking on its final leg, but as usual there is plenty of time to view and re-view it, and you have until May next year to take advantage of this rare chance to see such a major “retrospective” of Paterson's work.

NOW, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, 0131 624 6200 26 Oct - 31 May 2020, Daily 10am - 5pm

Critic's Choice

On one's birthday, it might be more customary to receive gifts rather than give them, but such is not the case, it turns out, if you are a former New York art gallery director with a fulsome art collection and a generous bent. Turning 90 this month, Philip A. Bruno has this year (coincidentally) donated some 70 works from his art collection to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, a selection of which can be seen in an exhibition which opens this week.

Born in Paris and raised in America where he studied Art History at Columbia, Bruno, co-directed the Staempfli Gallery and the Marlborough Gallery in New York for many years. He is married to Clare Henry, former Art Critic of this newspaper, and recently moved from New York to Glasgow to be with family. In his time, works by the likes of Brancusi, Morandi, Gaudi, Rickey and Chihuly have passed through his hands into those of private collectors, but he has long been generous in his public gifts.

His art collection, which, like that of many collectors, has grown organically throughout his 70 year career, has been divested here of many works by post-war American artists, including William Dole, David Levine, Red Grooms and Leroy Lamis - many of whom are not already represented in the collection and covering genres from abstract to pop art and caricature - aswell as international works by figures including the Mexican painter Jose Luis Cuevas, with whom Bruno worked in Paris, and Japanese sculptor Masayuki Nagare.

Philip A. Bruno Gift, The Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead Street, Glasgow, 0141 330 4221 Until 12 Jan 2020, Tues - Sat, 10am – 5pm; Sun 11am – 4pm

Don't Miss

Mackintosh Queen's Cross in Glasgow is the only church designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh to have been built. This year it celebrates its 120thanniversary with a first solo exhibition for sculptor Jephson Robb, who has been working on large scale public sculptures for the past decade. Robb's exhibition at Queen's Cross is in two parts – small scale works in bronze and steel will be exhibited in the back hall, whilst seven larger scale works from his series “Primary Forms” will be on display in the main building itself.

Mackintosh Queen's Cross, 870 Garscube Road, Glasgow, 0141 946 6600 Until 3 Nov, Mon – Sat, 11am – 4pm