Famous Former Pupils

Helen Flockhart b.1963 - Artist
  © Image copyright of Helen Flockhart

Another recent pupil of Kilmarnock Academy who is earning a name for herself in the art world is Helen Flockhart. A native of Stewarton, Flockhart paints in a contemporary style, using symbolism rather than photographic realism. But she draws on the great western realistic tradition of art by painting in a sharply-focused manner. She is a brilliant addition to the line of former Kilmarnock Academy pupils who have expressed the impact of the twentieth century in art. One of her paintings is held in the Dick Institute, Kilmarnock.

For more information, latest news and galleries visit Helen's website: helenflockhart.com.

      © Image copyright of Helen Flockhart                                   © Image copyright of Helen Flockhart

Many thanks to Helen for supplying the above images to KA Web. There is an extensive collection of Helen's work on display at her own website HelenFlockhart.com.

To see some more examples of Helen's paintings click on this link to the Rebecca Hossack Gallery. That Gallery also provides the following information:

"Helen Flockhart is one of the most accomplished painters of her generation.

Her meticulously wrought pictures conjure up a vivid world - shot with the power of myth and metaphor - but rooted in the recognisable and the quotidian.

"I hope," she says, "that my paintings create a feeling of stillness - that they suggest a lull, a sense of portent, slowing a moment right down to its core of frozen energy."

Her work combines a consuming richness of detail and pattern with a powerful dramatic directness.


1980-85      Studied painting at Glasgow School of Art
1984          Awarded BA(hons) FIRST CLASS
1985          Awarded Diploma in Postgraduate Studies HIGHLY COMMENDED
1985-86     Studied painting at the State Higher School of Fine Art in Poznan, Poland


2009         Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
2006         Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
2003         Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
2001         Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
2000         Glasgow Art Club, Glasgow
1999         Compass Gallery, Glasgow
1997         Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
1995         Compass Gallery, Glasgow
1993         Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
1991         Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews
1991         Ash Gallery, Edinburgh
1990         Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh
1986         Galeria A.T., Poznan, Poland

To view the rest of Helen's CV - including selected group and joint exhibitions, grants and awards, collections and paintings in publications - just click here.


 The Herald
art critic, Jan Patience, herself a former pupil,  reviewed an exhibition entitled ‘Spectators’ by Helen Flockhart  and two other associated artists had at one of the Edinburgh  galleries in 2010. That review appears below.

 To find out more about what's happening in the world of Art  and artists in Scotland, visit Jan's blog  by clicking here.

When I was but a slip of a girl and beguiled by the idea of being an artist, I used to spend long hours hanging about the art rooms of Kilmarnock Academy’s “old tech” building — which has long since been developed as luxury apartments. A couple of years above me was a quiet and beautiful red-haired girl with skin like alabaster. Our teacher used to tell us that Helen Flockhart was good. Very good. She was going places. Looking at her work, I believed him.

 Looking at her work a few decades on, his faith in this star pupil was well placed. Flockhart is now one of Scotland’s finest painters, as is her husband, Peter Thomson. Both emerged from the hothouse that was Glasgow School of Art’s (GSA) painting department in the 1980s, and both are figurative painters. Although their work is very different, there is a certain similarity in the otherworldliness of the scenes they create. “I can’t see it myself,” says Flockhart, “but people have said it so it must be there.”

 A couple of years ago, the couple exhibited for the first time alongside Heather Nevay at Glasgow’s Mansfield Park Gallery. Nevay was at GSA at the same time, but studied textiles, an influence which is clear in the richly textured world she creates on canvas. Now the trio, jokingly dubbed The New Glasgow Spook School, are holding a second group exhibition at The Open Eye gallery in Edinburgh...

Flockhart’s figures seem to glow with the beauty and energy of 16th-century portraits but there is still a contemporary feeling to the overall scene. “The pictures emerge from an instinctive process which is initially quite abstract,” she explains, “beginning as tiny, almost geometric studies on paper in which the relationship between shapes and the space which they inhabit is pushed around.”

In the piece which graces the invite card for Spectators, Flockhart’s subject is a still beautiful red-haired woman in her middle years, wearing a green dress and possessed of skin like alabaster. She is swaddled by the darkness of a repeating pattern in the background and she glows unnervingly against this background as she stares into the middle distance. Perhaps all painters do paint themselves into the picture but, as Francis Bacon said, “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”

Extracts from Jan Patience, ‘Active Spectators’, Arts, The Herald, 19.06.10.