THOUSANDS of people may have appreciated art without even realising as they pass the Running Clock outside Glasgow’s Buchanan Bus Station.

Created by the late sculptor George Wyllie, the city centre artwork was in keeping with his ethos of art being for everyone.
A new exhibition featuring work by seven distinct contemporary artists alongside works by Wyllie will open tomorrow, stemming from an idea by an artist who was inspired by him.

Read more: Call off Christmas parties Scots are urged amid fears over Omicron spread

Initiated by Willie Sutherland, the show, Christmas Day Down A Goldmine: A New Seam, is a reimagining of Wyllie’s seasonal and sculptural exhibition Christmas Day Down A Goldmine, which was first staged in 1984. 

HeraldScotland: Louise Wyllie with her father George's Question Mark sculptureLouise Wyllie with her father George's Question Mark sculpture
It is the highlight of Wyllie’s centenary year, which ends on what would have been his 100th birthday, on December 31. It runs until Christmas Eve at Glasgow’s newest arts venue, French Street Studios in Dalmarnock.

HeraldScotland: Louise Wyllie with Parable of the High Heels. Photo by Gordon Terris.Louise Wyllie with Parable of the High Heels. Photo by Gordon Terris.
Alongside the reimagining of Wyllie’s work, Mr Sutherland opens A New Seam, a collection of work charting the progression of his creative journey as an emerging artist, his highly-acclaimed exhibition at Glasgow’s CCA earlier this year, and this new creative collaboration with the George Wyllie Estate.
Described as a profusion of contemporary art, rustic robins and seasonal entertainment for all the family, the exhibition pays homage to all that is great and good about Glasgow, and is funded by Creative Scotland. There is also a programme of free events.

Read more: Glasgow's riverside: greatest untapped development opportunity in Western Europe

Wyllie is famous for his seminal public works of art the Straw Locomotive and The Paper Boat, which he made in the late-1980s. Thousands of people file past his Running Clock outside Glasgow’s Buchanan Bus Station every day.

HeraldScotland: George Wyllie with his Paper Boat on the River ClydeGeorge Wyllie with his Paper Boat on the River Clyde
He was also prolific as a writer, musician and performer. This year marks 100 years since his birth in Shettleston, Glasgow. Coincidentally, Shettleston is just a stone’s thrown from Dalmarnock, where this centenary homage is taking place.
Mr Sutherland said: “In the early 1990s, I was introduced to Wyllie’s work after hearing him speak. 
“I admired his left-field take on life, art-for-all approach and ambitious creations. Some 30 years later, as I took my first steps as a visual artist, parallels between my work and Wyllie’s didn’t go unnoticed.
“This led to making contact with Wyllie’s family. From there this kindly collaboration developed and the idea for this exhibition was born.”
Mr Sutherland wrote a poignant note to the Wyllie family thanking them for continuing his legacy. It struck a chord with Wyllie’s daughter, Louise, resulting in this creative collective.
Ms Wyllie, the sculptor’s elder daughter, said: “My dad was a playfully serious artist who believed art was an integral part of everyone’s life and as such should have access to it in all its guises. 
“Willie captures something of his enquiring and mischievous approach to creativity. Willie is following in his footsteps with his captivating and ingenious sculptures which will attract fans old and new.”

HeraldScotland: Willie Sutherland and Louise Wyllie at the exhibition launch. Photo by Gordon Terris.Willie Sutherland and Louise Wyllie at the exhibition launch. Photo by Gordon Terris.
Visitors to the exhibition will find original pieces by Wyllie himself, on loan from his family, as well as works by other leading contemporary artists who have a connection to Wyllie or Mr Sutherland.
These include Laura McGlinchey, a graduate of Gray’s School of Art, who like Mr Sutherland’s artwork uses recycled material.
Mark Osborne, an award-winning photographic artist, worked with the Wyllie estate, documenting Wyllie’s art and graduated from Edinburgh College of Art, achieving recognition in his own right. There is work by Daria Zapala, who worked at the major 2012 George Wyllie Retrospective and is now an established Glasgow School of Art-trained artist.
Karen Suzuki, along with other GSofA students, accompanied Wyllie on a trip Rannoch Moor, erecting a sculpture in tribute to Joseph Beuys. This inspired her to base her degree on the history of Rannoch Moor.
Two kinetic sculptures from Glasgow-based Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre will be performing throughout the day. Sharmanka’s founder Eduard Bersudsky and Wyllie were good friends, with both having the ability to observe, capture and create the joy and struggle of the human spirit in their art.
A New Seam features Whys?man wood carving made by Eduard and dedicated to Wyllie who gifted Eduard a small piece from his Spire series, which Eduard incorporated into this wood carving depicting Wyllie himself.
Wyllie’s A Day Down A Goldmine was first performed in 1982 at the Third Eye Centre in Glasgow. It went through many iterations, including an exhibition 1984’s Christmas Day Down A Goldmine and a Fringe First award-winning play staged in 1985 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in which Wyllie himself starred along renowned Scottish actor Bill Paterson.