Finlay Coupar

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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 Diaspora Series

The work in this series emerged from previous work exhibited at Kellie Miller Arts. Those paintings were based on debris trapped in gutters and explored and celebrated the pattern and colour therein. I was interested in progressing these ideas with a little more dimensionality and substance but in materials that maintained the potential for relatively easy manipulation, colour and pattern. I had been considering using card in low relief for some time, so the idea of card, patterned with my ink-jet printed designs and cut to shape seemed to provide an appropriate approach. In the more recent versions, I have used paint in order to achieve more flexibility with pattern and more substantially in colour. My initial explorations maintained the laminated composition and scale of the original painted images but proved too busy for the scale of the cut elements. The subsequent linear images (horizontal paths and vertical totems) provided an appropriate balance of information to scale and proved the best format in conveying the rhythms and sense of movement I perceived in the discarded debris. This depiction of disposed material as a trace of human passing, also seemed to have resonances with notions of human dispersal and as the work progressed the sense of horizontal and vertical movement corresponded with my sense of human flight and departure and became tributes to notions of exodus and migration. These allusions are referenced in the individual titles: ‘Paths’, ‘Trails’ and ‘Totems’ and in the series title:‘Diaspora’.