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Finlay Coupar spent most of his working life in Higher Education, as Art Lecturer (drawing, painting and printmaking), Head of Art Department, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Education, and finally as Director of Student Affairs; all at York St John University. Prior to that he worked briefly in schools, at the Scottish Council for Research in Education and at the Printmakers Workshop Edinburgh where he was also chair. Having retired to Galloway in S.W. Scotland, he is now devoting most of his time to his art practice. He was educated at Edinburgh College of Art, where he graduated in drawing and painting and was awarded an Andrew Grant scholarship and at Edinburgh University where he gained an M.Ed.
He has exhibited extensively in throughout the U.K. and his work has been purchased by The Scottish Arts Council, The Department of the Environment, The Western Infirmary Glasgow and Inverness Art Gallery and is held in private collections in the USA, Eire, UK and Germany.
The Dreamlife of Debris
The work displayed emerged from observations of street gratings in York where Finlay previously lived. The subsequent paintings explore the relationship between the relative neutrality of the metal grid and the chaos of the contained rubbish. His initial interest was purely formal; he was intrigued by the possibilities immanent in the contrast between the two types of stripes; one visually quiet and one anarchic.
The contained debris also provided an opportunity to explore a fundamental compositional form (that of laminations/ layers/sandwich); a compositional form that is the basis of many landscape paintings. In developing these micro urban landscapes they suggested a more diagrammatic register and the more graphic treatment reminiscent of that used in geological maps (a long held attraction).