The sleepy village of Dunlop in Ayrshire is a far cry from arty buzz and bustle of Brooklyn. But it is here, in a tiny studio hut in the garden of her parents' home that Claire Paterson fleshed out the fruit of three months spent collaborating with artists and models in the city that never sleeps.

As the first recipient of the Steven Campbell New York Scholarship, Paterson travelled from Scotland to New York in late 2016 to take up a three-month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn. This immersive experience has resulted in an impressive set of 15 paintings which went on show yesterday in the ground floor of the Glasgow School of Art's (GSA) Reid Building.

Paterson's exhibition, The Arbitrary Ritual, had been due to go in show in the art school last autumn, but it was delayed because a second fire in four years tore through the Mackintosh Building in the summer of 2018.

The Steven Campbell New York Scholarship was co-funded by Creative Scotland, The Saltire Society and The Steven Campbell Trust. It allowed Paterson to work with other artists from around the world, exploring ideas related to the theatrical language embedded in totems and gestures.

Campbell, who died in 2007 at the age of 54, was a painter who placed performance and symbolism at the heart of everything he created. The Steven Campbell Trust was set up by his wife, Carol, following his death.

Paterson also used her time in New York to promote the legacy of Campbell’s work and the contribution he made to the development of Scottish art on the international stage. Campbell, who worked as an engineer in a steel works before going to GSA as a mature student, was a star pupil before going on to gain a Fulbright Scholarship, which he used to go to New York to study at the Pratt Institute in the 1980s

Like Campbell, Paterson is a painter. Like Campbell, she is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and studied in the hallowed studios of Mackintosh's Art Nouveau masterpiece. Like Campbell, her work has an innate theatricality; a conceptual edge which takes storytelling and performance as a starting point and then takes off on an occasionally dizzy-making flight of fancy.

On the day I visit Paterson at her studio in Dunlop, Carol Campbell, a retired primary school teacher, is also visiting. The two women formed a bond after Paterson received the first ever Steven Campbell Hunt Medal for Poetic Creativity at her degree show in 2008.

As we look around Paterson's work which is set around the walls of the studio, Campbell is moved at seeing it as a body of work before it's unleashed on the world. Most have a clayish red wash for a background. They are all figurative paintings with the models engaged in seemingly elaborate rituals, many of which seem secretive and arcane while others are playful. Running through all the paintings are line symbols which suggest black magic or masonic ritual.

We all stop and stare at one painting called Eagle Pass. The titles are important in these paintings as they have been titled by Claire together with the various collaborators, including fellow artists and the models.

A pair of legs is enveloped by what could be a giant pair of wings. There is a body attached to the legs but it's not that easy to make out. In front of the structure a naked man kneels; head thrown back, arms not quite spread wide but heading that way. The figure is touching a trilby hat on the foreground with his left hand.

Both Carol and I have a different reaction but we are both drawn to the painting. For me it feels like there is an element of rebirth in the open vulnerable pose. For Carol it brings to mind the Greek myth of Icarus, Son of Daedalus who dared to fly too near the sun on wings of feathers and wax. Nigerian artist, Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya – aka Akirash, who gave Paterson the netted sculpture which forms a key element of the painting, told her once she had returned to Scotland that the scenario reminded him of immigrants fleeing tunnels or fence borders between Mexico and the USA.

Paterson later shows me a paragraph which New Mexico-based artist, Elizabeth Kay, who acted as a "long-distance creative consultant" during the process, wrote about it. "The human body is being asked to stretch the limits of its physical powers and material substance as it reaches for impossibly high realms it was not really designed to inhabit. This painting seems to be about the agony of wanting to fly and the weight of gravity that drags all material things back to earth. The very Christ-like central figure is being ‘speared’ by a red line, as he arches his body and turns his eyes heavenward.”

For Carol Campbell, being open to other people's thoughts and input is one of Paterson's strengths. "This work really rounds things out," she says. "But it's very definitely Claire's voice that comes through and transcends the process."

For Paterson, as she prepares to send her work out into the world, what matters now is that people view the work with open hearts and minds, just as it was created with a host of models, artist and interested supporters, including her two sisters Genevieve and Emma. She's looking forward to creating new work.

"I do absolutely love painting," she says. "For me, there is always a lot of talk about the creation of the scenes; building an image until you’re happy with it. The collaboration is very energetic. But for me, the best bit is when I come into the studio and all is calm. It's just you and the image.”

The Arbitrary Ritual: Claire Paterson, Reid Ground Floor Corridor, The Reid Building, The Glasgow School of Art, 164 Renfrew St, Glasgow G3 6RQ, 0141 353 4500, Until December 20. Open daily from 10am-4.30pm

Critic's Choice

The Smithy Gallery in Blanefield has a 14-year-long track record of showing and promoting the work of leading Scottish artists. Its owner, Natalie Harrison Chinn, grew up with a mother, Laura Harrison, who is a successful painter. At one point she also worked as a painter. She brings a light touch and a deft eye to all the exhibitions she has put on in this former blacksmith's cottage in Blanefield, north of Glasgow. The latest show Being Human – Observed, Remembered, Imagined, presents the inspired pairing of Joyce Gunn Cairns and Henry Jabbour, two mature Edinburgh-based artists working at the top of their game.

Gunn Cairns' palette may be more subdued than the bold saturated heavily textured palette of Jabbour's but there is a cross-over in their subject matter and love of lyrical titles. The figure lies at the heart of both their work although increasingly Gunn Cairns has introduced birds and animals such as household pets into her work. There is a pared-down naivety to her work which has become more pronounced as she introduces toys and children into her paintings.

Beirut-born Jabbour – who was introduced to Harrison Chinn by Gunn Cairns – turned his back on a high-flying medical career in 2013 to become an artist and this gamble has paid off. If you like to lose yourself in the emotion of paintings then this exhibition is for you.

Joyce Gunn Cairns & Henry Jabbour, Being Human – Observed, Remembered, Imagined, The Smithy Gallery, 74 Glasgow Road, Blanefield, G63 9HX, 01360 770551, Until November 24. Open Tue-Sat 11am-5pm & Sunday 1pm-5pm

Don't Miss

Wolves have held a special place in artists' imagination since time immemorial. Now, Hawick-based Alchemy Film & Arts continues its Forage/Image season with the installation Wolves From Above. The work, by award-winning Dutch filmmaker Demelza Kooij, explores animal interaction and forms of spectatorship through the use of drone technology. A meditation on a pack of wolves filmed from the air, it shows the creatures as quiet and elusive. The weight of their paws on the grass is heard, some playful growls, sniffing, licking, but on the whole it is a very still space.

Alchemy Film & Arts present Wolves from Above, a film by Demelza Kooij, Yeomans, 53 High Street, Hawick, TD9 9BP, From today until Nov 29. Open Wed-Sat, 11am-4pm. Entry free.