Six Dundee Artists


Neil Dallas Brown (1938-2003), William Cadenhead (1934-2005), John Johnstone, Joe McIntyre, Michael McVeigh & Joseph Urie.

Our first exhibition of 2020 brings together six artists who worked together, either as students or tutors at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (“DJCA”) in Dundee in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

The idea evolved from conversations with Joe Urie and John Johnstone and hearing their recollections of their time at the college and their friendship and mutual respect with fellow students and tutors.

Neil Dallas Brown studied at Dundee College of Art & Technology 1954-58, at Hospitalfield Summer School 1958 and then a Post Graduate year at DJCA 1958-59 before a year at the Royal Academy Schools 1960-61. He later returned to teach at DJCA before being appointed Lecturer in Painting Studios at Glasgow School of Art 1979 where he stayed until his retirement. Despite modest commercial success Neil Dallas Brown’s emotional and often challenging work was critically well received. His deeply moving “Shroud” series of work, painted in response to the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, are some of the most powerful visual statements on the Irish Troubles. He won numerous travelling scholarships to work and teach abroad and as well as participating in group shows had several prestigious solo exhibitions most notably at the Compass Gallery in Glasgow and a series in the late 60’s at the Piccadilly Gallery in London. His work is held in many public collections including Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and McManus Galleries in Dundee.

William Cadenhead grew up just north of Dundee in Glen Isla steeped in the countryside so familiar in his beautiful landscape paintings of the Angus countryside. He studied at Dundee College of Art gaining a Diploma in Drawing & Painting in 1955 before going on to study at the Royal Academy Schools in London from 1957-61. William later returned to teach at DJCA and in 1971 became Lecturer in Drawing & Painting where he stayed until his retirement. William was a great anatomical draftsman which he championed through his teaching which was mainly focused on life drawing. His artwork, however, centred on the transient effect the weather and light had on the Angus landscape which he would repeatedly return to.

John Johnstone was born in Forfar in 1941 and also studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art 1959-64. He received a major travelling scholarship to visit European capitals and was a part time lecturer at DJCA for many years. His early work, with influences from the likes of Oskar Kokoschka, was quite gritty often with a religious theme. His painting is now more humorous with wonderfully observed narrative themes of everyday life.

Joe McIntyre born and bred in Dundee, graduated from DJCA in 1965 and returned to teach there in 1972 where he stayed until his retirement. Like his colleagues in this exhibition Joe has exhibited extensively, won numerous prizes and his work is held in many public and private collections. His work is again observational, reminiscent of the American Realist painter, Edward Hopper who Joe admires. Joe recalls as a young boy going to Dundee’s Mills Observatory to use the small telescopes to ostensibly study the night sky. However, Joe was more drawn to the night city – people in doorways and shop fronts bathed in street lights – images that have stayed with him all his life.

Michael McVeigh, born in Dundee, was a student at DJCA from 1977-82. Initially sneaking into John Johnstone’s life drawing classes at DJCA, Michael, having left school with no qualifications, was formally accepted onto the degree course by James Morrison, based solely on his drawing and painting skills. He went on to win several prizes including a scholarship to travel to Paris which he shared with another artist in this exhibition, Joseph Urie. Michael’s work is similar to his tutor John Johnstone in that it is observational, it deals with everyday life but he has evolved his own unique, naïve, folk-art style which is both humorous and mysterious.

Joseph Urie was born in Glasgow in 1947 and trained at DJCA from 1977-81 and then at the Royal Academy Schools in London from 1981-84. Joe has spoken very fondly of the teaching he received at DJCA, in particular the rigour of the life drawing classes which proved to be great preparation for his time at the RA. He was selected for the ground-breaking Vigorous Imagination exhibition at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 1987 which showcased the work 17 young Scottish artists who were making waves throughout the art world.  He is arguably best known for his large, painterly canvases packed with ambiguous symbolism – the paint applied thickly and swiftly with an apparent obsessive agitation.