Cupar Arts Festival launches with prestigious contemporary art line up

Cupar Arts Festival is to return this summer with its strongest line up of artists ever.

 Running from 18 to 25 June 2016, the programme will include works from some of Scotland’s most significant contemporary artists - including Charles Avery, Chad McCail and Rachel MacLean – placed in spaces across the Fife market town of Cupar.

One of the few curated visual art festivals in Scotland, Cupar Arts Festival 2016 will make use of a series of unconventional spaces including hoarding on industrial sites, the town’s historic County Buildings, Burgh Chambers and churches, and the mediaeval closes of the town.   Artworks will be exhibited both within venues as well as outside in public spaces, enabling visitors to experience the artworks by both seeking them out and by stumbling across them. 

The festival line-up comprises twenty artists including:

Charles Avery, who has represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2007, participated in British Art Show 7 and the Taipei Biennale.  His work at Cupar Arts Festival will include a large ‘sea monster’ sculpture and a series of six gouache paintings.

Rachel Maclean, whose video work has won awards at Glasgow Film Festival and been exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, will show 'Feed Me' a new one hour film commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and British Art Show 8, who have kindly agreed to a one-off screening in Cupar. Rachel will also present a number of other short films throughout the event.

Kate Downie, who is known for her landscape painting with works held by Glasgow's main public galleries.  In 2013 she was appointed Artist in Residence for the Forth Road Bridge.  At Cupar Arts Festival, her work ‘Gaps, Distortions and Downright Lies’ is a constructed space that will challenge viewers’ perceptions and marks an intriguing departure from her usual two-dimensional work.

Chad McCail, who has had solo exhibitions at galleries including Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art (Sunderland), Gallery of Modern Art (Glasgow) and Baltimore’s Museum of Art, will present a large-scale outdoor mural on the subject of education.

Anthony Schrag, who is making a return to the festival, works in participatory manner and last year was commissioned to walk 2500 km from the North of Scotland (Huntly) to the Venice Biennale. His work almost always has a physical element, and this time he will be exploring what lies beneath Cupar. Inspired by the mysterious burn that disappears under the town, re-emerging several times before running into the River Eden he asks ‘What happens in those hidden, liminal places? What beasts and stories grow in those wet, dark places?’

Maris, a well-established art collective who are bringing a copper ark to the festival, fitted with symbolic reliquaries, and as part of a symbolic pilgrimage.

Festival Director, Gayle Nelson said:

“I’m delighted to be able to bring some of the strongest artists working today to Cupar Arts Festival this year. The festival reveals Cupar in a completely different light, encouraging visitors to see new spaces in the town or reevaluate familiar ones in a way that is both stimulating and delightful.”

 Previously an autumn event, Cupar Arts Festival 2016 will take place over one week in June incorporating the summer solstice.  The festival has used the longest day to inspire its theme of liminality (a precise point where one phase ends and another begins).  Artists have been encouraged to use the widest possible interpretation of this theme, allowing responses which might range from changing states in the natural world or in scientific processes, changes in the role of a historic site or building, personal transformation and development, or the interpretation of liminal within anthropology relating to ritual and myth. Liminal relates to a tipping point, a time of change as a new phase is about to be entered into.

 Cupar Arts Festival is supported with funding from the National Lottery through the Creative Scotland Open Project Fund, EventScotland, the events team at VisitScotland through the National Programme as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design, and Fife Council’s Strategic Events Investment Fund.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the Cupar Arts Festival for the first time, through our National Events Programme. It is fitting in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design that the festival will not only showcase work by some of Scotland’s best known contemporary artists, but will also give visitors the chance to explore the historic town’s unique buildings and spaces.”

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