The performance arts will turn visual at a unique exhibition of paintings inspired by piping and drumming , past and present, by pipe band legend Robert Mathieson and Scottish historian and piper Duncan Brown.
The show will be hosted by the National Piping Centre and starts on Sunday, August 11th – the first day of the Piing Live! Glasgow Festival of Piping – running throughout the week. The kick-off event will be for 120 invited guests who will see the works unveiled, and the artists will provide a live art demonstration and then a brief piping recital of tunes linked to the paintings.
Subjects in the paintings include Richard Parkes, Terry Tully, Terry Lee, Reid Maxwell, the Shotts McAllisters, Alex Duthart, John Burgess, Murray Henderson, Roddy MacLeod, Willie McCallum, Gordon Walker, Gordon Duncan, G.S. McLennan and Robert Reid.
“After retiring as pipe-major [of Shotts & Dykehead], I had to fill in the gaps in my weekly timetable where I once would have ran the band practice two, three, or four times a week,” Mathieson said. “I decided to rekindle another hobby. I always knew I could sketch to a reasonable level but never really took it any further than that. I have an art degree in design, specifically silversmithing, and I decided to join Duncan Brown’s local art classes really just to get me off the couch on what once was band practice nights. You don’t fully appreciate how pipe bands can totally take over your life like an all-consuming addiction”
Mathieson subsequently left Shotts and joined the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band of Vancouver, with which he is still a member.
“Joining SFU has been great in terms of fulfilling my piping habit and painting has kept the creative juices flowing during the non-piping winter nights,” he added. “Bringing the two hobbies together for this exhibition has been very satisfying for me personally. Capturing the performers and events in a creative way is always very worthwhile and will help keep a historic record of certain things for the future. However, it is very nerve-racking, exhibiting your works right next to a master painter like Duncan Brown. It’s a bit like G.S. McLennan asking to hear the latest tune that you have written.”
All of the paintings at the show are original and for sale, and limited edition prints are also available for some of the pictures. Duncan Brown is also a piper and previously played the Uddingston-Strathclyde Pipe Band.
Mathieson said that commissioned work is available, and he has sold several prints of the World Championship banner and trophy, but that the original is still for sale. A recent auction of six individual prints peaked at more than $600 for a print at a fund-raising event. A limited edition print of a montage of many of the paintings on show to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Piping Live! will also be on sale, with all proceeds going to the National Piping Centre.