Art exhibition marks 50th anniversary at Stirling’s Macrobert Arts Center

An art collection assembled by a Stirling curator over many decades is to feature in this year’s Macrobert Arts Center 50th anniversary celebrations.

The free exhibition at the Macrobert entitled ‘A Passion for Art: Matilda Hall, Collector and Curator’ commenced last week and will continue until Saturday May 28.

The celebrations now under way have been delayed since September due to the pandemic.

Matilda Hall was PA to the university’s first principal Tom Cottrell. She helped to collect for the university and was later was integral to the founding of charity Art in Healthcare.

The exhibition features works from collections influenced by Matilda, focusing upon the Art in Healthcare Collection, the University of Stirling Collection and Matilda’s personal collection. Highlights include works by Joan Eardley, Eduardo Paolozzi and Janka Malkowska.

University Art Collection curator Jane Cameron said: “The exhibition focuses around the same passion for art that Matilda Hall has for the collection.

“Matilda was one of the first employees at the university in 1967 and later became the honorary first curator, so it was thanks to her efforts, as well as the visions of Tom Cottrell and Lord Robins, that we have a contemporary art collection of such significance today.

“Their vision for the campus was that art and culture should be very much part of the everyday experience for students coming to campus. They wanted to educate cultural individuals not just specialists.

“I made contact with Matilda very early on and she’s been a constant ally and supporter of what we’ve been doing subsequently, she’s still as passionate about art and educating people through art as she was in 1967.

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“I think it’s really important that the university is seen to be a cultural destination which is why we’re all working so closely together to promote it not just as an institution of education, but a community space offering sport, science and culture.”

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Matilda said: “It’s very important to me that works of art in this university continue to be looked after, cherished and used.

“The new Macrobert Arts Center looks extremely handsome and I find the whole of the space is now most exciting to show works of art I’ve been connected with, coming either from my home or belonging to Paintings in Hospitals, a charity which I set up in 1992 now called Art in Healthcare.

“I want to make certain not only that the university cherishes its collection, but that Art in Healthcare is noticed and appreciated and more hospitals put works of art into their corridors.

“I’m delighted they are finally coming together in this exhibition featuring a selection of interesting work including The Hole by Andy Goldsworthy, a splendid piece by Alan Davie and I’m also very fortunate to share work by Joan Eardley from my personal collection.

“They are rather valuable but whilst value comes and goes, for the moment they hang here for everybody’s delight.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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