Apokalypsis (2022)

Torlum Wood is a familiar location, but it was devastated by Storm Arwen, turning to a sea of foliage and twisted limbs, with once noble trees snapped like matchsticks. It appeared alien and unrecognisable, yet a terrible beauty began to settle as the sun set, lighting the farther woods in an orange glow. The world had been witnessing the desolation of Ukraine by its Russian invaders and little could be done to lessen the destruction of towns and cities, yet the morale of its people held strong. The storm from the northeast that ripped through Torlum Wood had abated, and in time the trees would grow again and provide a safe refuge for the creatures of the forest.

The title ‘Apokalypsis’ is the ancient Greek term for revelation. It means, variously: laying bare, making naked a disclosure of truth; instruction concerning things before unknown; events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all; manifestation, appearance.

Apokalypsis oil on canvas 100 x 140 cm 2022
oil on canvas
100 x 140 cm



2021 In Brief

2021 began with the disappointing news that my exhibition ‘Closer to Home’ at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh would be online only due to Covid-19 resurgence and lockdown. The gallery did their best to mitigate the situation through additional promotion and a virtual walkthrough video, and it turned out to be a huge media success. Several newspapers covered the show with articles, features and even front-page spreads!

Perth Museum & Art Gallery offered to host the exhibition as soon as they were able to reopen to the public, from the end of April until June 5th, and the work looked great in their elegant gallery. At the same time, I exhibited new paintings at the newly established City Contemporary Art gallery in Perth, just around the corner from the Museum, so it was a double boost to lift the spirits.

The following month, Beaux Arts in Bath exhibited a selection from ‘Closer to Home’ for a magnificent group exhibition of landscapes from across the UK, titled ‘North, South, East, West.’ It was my first showing with Beaux Arts and I look forward to working with them in future.

At the end of September, I heard that my nomination to become a member of the Royal Scottish Academy had been successful, and I am extremely grateful to Victoria Crowe and Will Maclean for presenting my work and persuading fellow academicians to vote for me. I look forward to supporting the Academy by contributing to future exhibitions and events.

Finally, I want to mention the online gallery Singulart, with whom I have enjoyed representation during the last three years. ‘Ophelia Bathing’ is a major piece and was sold to a London collector in November. The process of collecting and delivering was smooth, as was the invoice payment. Visitors on their platform are able to give star-ratings to the artworks viewed, and I am delighted to say that mine is currently at 4.9 out of 5, with over 2.5K voting. I will be uploading new artworks to their platform in the coming days.

Looking ahead to 2022, I will contribute to the 196th RSA Annual Exhibition from April – June, and at the same time I will be showing with Thompson’s Harpenden in a survey show of Scottish painting. Another exciting development is that I have been working on a collaborative book project with writer and academic Rev. Dr. Celia Kenny, and that will pick-up momentum in 2022, but news on that later…

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022!
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022!




At the end of September 2021, I heard the exciting news that I had been elected to the Royal Scottish Academy, and I join an illustrious membership of academicians that includes my nominators Victoria Crowe and Will Maclean. I am grateful for their support, and to all those who voted me in, and I look forward to contributing to exhibitions and other events in future.

The first opportunity arose with the RSA Christmas Show 2021, and I was delighted when the organisers chose one of my paintings to be used to publicise the exhibition, including posters, banners and Private View cards. The paintings are shown below:

Footprints in the Snow oil on board 38 x 55 cm 2021
Footprints in the Snow
oil on board
38 x 55 cm
Trees in Fog oil on board 38 x 55 cm 2021
Trees in Fog
oil on board
38 x 55 cm
Cocoon Land oil on board 38 x 55 cm 2021
Cocoon Land
oil on board
38 x 55 cm
Winter Light in Torlum Wood oil on linen 60 x 80 cm 2020
Winter Light in Torlum Wood
oil on linen
60 x 80 cm
RSA Christmas Show 2021 poster
RSA Christmas Show 2021 poster


CLOSER TO HOME – Perth Museum & Art Gallery, 30 April – 6 June 2021

I am delighted that Perth Museum and Art Gallery will exhibit the series of paintings and photographs of the Perthshire landscape that I produced over the last three years since moving from Edinburgh to Crieff. The exhibition marks the reopening of the venue since the second lockdown. Several of the paintings were produced during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and a melancholic ambience is perceptible in these artworks. The photographs record the changing seasons, weather events and agricultural usage that brings a new appearance to familiar landscapes close to my home. If there is any silver lining to the time of the pandemic it is that people, in general, have come closer to nature while social activity has been denied, and with that, perhaps gained a lasting appreciation of the continuously changing features of their personal landscape.

Visitors to 'Closer to Home'
Visitors to ‘Closer to Home’


Me, proudly standing in front of Perth Museum and Art Gallery!
Me, proudly standing in front of Perth Museum and Art Gallery!



Contextual Films for ‘Closer to Home’ at The Scottish Gallery, 7 – 30 January 2021

Closer to Home – Torlum Wood to Torlum Hill

Closer to Home – Lovers Walk


Media coverage for ‘Closer to Home’

The Courier Weekend magazine 30/1/21

Cover feature and 3-page article by Andrew Welsh
Cover feature and 3-page article by Andrew Welsh


The Scotsman Magazine 16/1/21

Review in The Scotsman by Susan Mansfield
Review in The Scotsman by Susan Mansfield

The Courier 8/1/21

The Courier front page and review by Emma Crichton
The Courier front page and review by Emma Crichton

The Courier, news article, Emma Crichton, 8 January 2021, p.21

‘Closer to Home’

The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh

6th – 30th January 2021

A solo exhibition of 24 paintings and 23 photographs, based in the landscapes around our home in Crieff, Perthshire. During the early part of 2020 the coronavirus COVID-19 caused a lockdown across the UK, and a number of the paintings produced during these months are partly a response to the affects of living in a fearful time.

Heavenly Turbulence oil on linen 81 x 106 cm 2020
Heavenly Turbulence
oil on linen
81 x 106 cm


‘Great Scots’

The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh

3rd – 27th June 2020

This exhibition was presented online only as the country was in lockdown to suppress the spread of Covid-19. The artworks were mostly created while in isolation. I had been very busy creating a new series for a solo exhibition with The Scottish Gallery for January 2021, so my contribution was selected from these finished paintings.

Winter Copse at Dusk oil on linen 89 x 116 cm 2019
Winter Copse at Dusk
oil on linen
89 x 116 cm


Fully Awake’

Edinburgh College of Art

27thJuly – 25thAugust 2019

Fully Awake is a cycle of exhibitions with an intergenerational approach to how painting is taught. Thirteen artists currently teaching at UK art institutions will show their work alongside that of two guest artists, one of whom they have taught, and the other who has taught them. Exhibiting artists include Sonia Boyce, Alexis Harding and Dan Hays. The show has been curated by Ian Hartshorne and Sean Kaye for the organisation Teaching Painting.

I chose to nominate James Morrison as a tutor who had influenced my approach to painting, and Blair McLaughlin, a former student who is forging a successful career. I selected one painting each, to exhibit alongside ‘Spectral Vision on High Ground’ (2017).

Spectral Vision on High Ground oil on canvas 100 x 140 cm 2016
Spectral Vision on High Ground
oil on canvas
100 x 140 cm


‘Back to the Drawing Board’

Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow

31stMay – 30thJuly 2019


Roger Billcliffe Gallery is staging a summer exhibition devoted to contemporary drawing in Scotland, addressing the challenge that drawing is no longer taught in art schools and therefore has become irrelevant to contemporary practice.

I was delighted to find that one of my drawings had been selected for the front of the invitation card, given that the selected artists represent the very best of contemporary Scottish art.

Distant Fire, Augustow pencil on toned paper 12.6 x 19 cm 2019
Distant Fire, Augustow
pencil on toned paper
12.6 x 19 cm


‘A Year Closer to Home’

A photographic diary by Philip Braham

Published by BLURB, November 2018

ISBN 978-1-38-800585-6

During the first year of our move from Edinburgh to Crieff in rural Perthshire, I documented our new surroundings as the seasons changed, exploring the landscape with fresh and eager eyes. I gave this book the title ‘A Year Closer to Home’ because I came to understand that the idea of ‘home’ need not be rooted in the impressions imprinted during childhood, warm and strong though these are, but that the sense of a longing-to-return might instead be for a destination that still lies ahead: a horizon that has now come into view.

A Year Closer to Home A photographic diary by Philip Braham
A Year Closer to Home
A photographic diary by
Philip Braham


In Time and Silently The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh

I opened the 2018 season of exhibitions at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh with a solo show comprising 38 recent paintings. The title was taken from the final line of the final poem In Time that Seamus Heaney wrote 12 days before his death in 2013. Like the poem, this body of work considers the temporal nature of our existence that is overshadowed by our immanent nonexistence, yet a kind of transcendence is afforded through the ecstatic acknowledgement of the abundance of nature, ever renewing.

In Time and Silently 6 Jan - 3 Feb 2018  The Scottish Gallery 16 Dundas Street  Edinburgh
In Time and Silently
6 Jan – 3 Feb 2018
The Scottish Gallery
16 Dundas Street


Ages of Wonder Scotland’s Art from 1540 to Now

The Royal Scottish Academy has mounted an historic exhibition highlighting works from its impressive collection, and I was pleased to be included in the selection as one of the recipients of the RSA Morton Award for lens-based media. ‘Falling Shadows in Arcadia: The Offering’ was acquired from my solo exhibition at the RSA in August 2010. The exhibition runs from 4th November 2017 – 7th January 2018.

The Offering


Hermeneutics of Practice University of Dundee

This summer Professor Nicholas Davey retired from teaching Philosophy at the University of Dundee, but his legacy lives on through his extensive writings on Gadamer and Hermeneutics. In honour of his enormous influence, colleagues and ex-students presented papers that attempted to address meaning/significance/interpretation in contemporary art practice and institutionalised knowledge production. I was delighted to give a talk on the ideas behind the new series of paintings to be exhibited at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, in January 2018, titled ‘In Time and silently’


The Vigorous Imagination Revisited Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow

Roger Billcliffe showed recent examples of works by all 17 artists originally selected for the survey show back in ’87. The original exhibition was realised after Frank Dunlop, the director of the Edinburgh International Festival, got wind of the protest that Ian Hughes and I had staged on the steps of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1985. He introduced us to Timothy Clifford, then director of the National Galleries of Scotland, and he agreed to present the largest exhibition of contemporary Scottish art up to that date. The Vigorous Imagination remains one of the most popular exhibitions that the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art has presented.

Scotsman Review

Still Water oil on canvas 91 x 122 cm 2017
Still Water
oil on canvas
91 x 122 cm


The Vigorous Imagination: Then and Now The Fine Art Society, Edinburgh

This exhibition marked the 30th Anniversary of the ground-breaking exhibition staged at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art during the Edinburgh International Festival in 1987. All 17 artists were represented by historic examples and new work, and the show at FAS and Roger Billcliffe in Glasgow got great media exposure.

Times Review


Scottish Identity Gallery 23, Edinburgh

I was the featured artist in an exhibition at Gallery 23, curated by Dr. Julie Hansen. The show ran from 31st March to 20th April.

The Meeting Place 1 C=type print
The Meeting Place 1
C=type print


Critic’s Choice Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames

I was among the artists selected by Clare Henry to show in her Critic’s Choice exhibition at Bohun Gallery from 4th – 27th February 2017.

Moonrise, Vernal Equinox


A Wind from the North update:

The Times published an excellent review of the exhibition on November 8th 2016, perceptively written by Giles Sutherland. To read it without the paywall go directly to Giles’ blogspot by following this link:

The painting reproduced in The Times review was an important earlier work from 2006 that led to a series titled ‘Drift’ in which photographs move into constellations on the surface of water.

Mirrorpool oil on canvas  92 x 152 cm 2006
oil on canvas
92 x 152 cm



A Wind from the North

My first solo exhibition with the Roger Billcliffe Gallery opened in Glasgow on 29th October 2016, and will run until 22nd November, The reception to the new work has been fantastic, and I am delighted with how the show looks in the elegant space. The Herald published an extensive review on the opening day, which was hugely supportive:

One of the paintings that attracted quite a bit of attention was ‘Traces in the Dew’ which was the final canvas completed for the show.

Traces in the Dew oil on canvas 60 x 80 cm 2016
Traces in the Dew
oil on canvas
60 x 80 cm



Flora Depicta

I was invited to contribute to a beautiful exhibition at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh in July 2016, featuring, among others, two artists I admire enormously: Derrick Guild and Victoria Crowe. One of the paintings I included was ‘Copper Beech’, shown below:

Copper Beech oil on canvas 46 x 61 cm 2016
Copper Beech
oil on canvas
46 x 61 cm


Union Gallery

Union Gallery opened the doors to its beautiful new gallery in Edinburgh’s West End in May 2016. I was pleased to show two major paintings in the inaugural show, ‘Ophelia Bathing’ and ’21st Century Sublime’. The works are prominently displayed, in the window and over the stairs to the lower gallery, and I am grateful to owner Alison Auldjo for her enthusiastic support.



The End(s) of Art

In March 2016, I organised a symposium with Oisin Keohane at the University of Dundee, that brought philosophers, artists and curators together to discuss whether art, as an ontological experience, is over now.

The title of the symposium comes from the thesis proposed by Arthur Danto in 1984, that the collapse of modernism in the 1960’s marked the end of the era of art. He describes the contemporary era as post-historical, beyond the pale of the narrative that drove the avant-garde, and the self-consciousness period of postmodernism with its identifying stylistic tropes. There are no boundaries to push against in the truly pluralistic present. Anything may be considered as art; therefore nothing has significance in a transcendental or ontological sense. This presents real difficulties for museums, critics, theorists and engaged practitioners in art, in attempting to justify its continuing importance. What follows, in the absence of critical consensus, are discursive arguments on a local level, with an ebb and flow of ideas emerging and subsiding with time.

While artworks will continue to be made, their function will not be enlightenment in an ontological sense, but will merely service a market and function as the visible signs of wealth, taste and power: currency among the global collectors that continue to acquire the work. This argument often underpins the writings of Marxist-leaning critics, for whom significance is diverted away from the thingness of the artwork to its reception as a conspicuous badge of power in global politics.

Poster 1




Roger Billcliffe Gallery

I am delighted to join the Roger Billcliffe Gallery roster, and I will show a group of paintings in response to the theme ‘September Song’ from September 1st in Glasgow. These works were completed this summer as part of a series of nocturnes.

 Nocturne: Silent Night oil on canvas 91.5 x 122cm 2015

Nocturne: Silent Night
oil on canvas
91.5 x 122cm


Nocturne in Gold oil on canvas 91.5 x 122cm 2015
Nocturne in Gold
oil on canvas
91.5 x 122cm


Nocturne: Falling Angel over Mt. Hermon oil on canvas 92 x 61cm 2015
Nocturne: Falling Angel over Mt. Hermon
oil on canvas
92 x 61cm



Pentland Fine Art

I was pleased to be invited to contribute a group of paintings to an exhibition at the recently opened Pentland Fine Art gallery in Aberdeen. ‘Between Worlds’, ‘Love Letter’ and ‘Border Post’ were chosen for the group exhibition which took my title ‘Between Worlds’ as its theme. July – August 2015.



I presented a paper at the inaugural conference ‘Hermeneutica Scotia’ at the University of Dundee (May 2015) which sets out my philosophy about the autonomy and integrity of the artwork that still opens a possibility of it transcending its object status. This runs counter to many recent commentaries that foreground the social impact that art can extort: context is more significant than the work itself. While I acknowledge that art can have a political dimension, it is shortsighted to think that the impact of an artwork is contained within the horizon of the time it was produced. Art can transcend temporality, and the best works being produced today most certainly will! The paper has been published on and the abstract submitted was as follows:

Painting Itself (Out of a corner)

In David Joselit’s influential essay ‘Painting Beside Itself’ he examines the place of painting in a digital economy where the image of the artwork is disseminated globally, and its power (both politically and economically) is inflated correspondingly. He describes paintings that consciously engage with networks as ‘transitive’ in that they are submitted to infinite dislocations, fragmentations and degradations, escaping the modernist trap of reification. The centrifugal effect of the Internet on the dissemination, reception and marketing of the painting as image, in an age where images proliferate as never before, supersedes the significance of the painting as object. What is at stake is the concept that painting (both as verb and noun) maintains fidelity to experience, and that its value can only be judged before the work itself.

In my paper I will examine this claim with reference to Hegel’s definition of Art in relation to Spirit, to test Joselit’s proposition that art is now at its terminus. In defiance of the glossy/operatic/diaristic/ironic/satirical/primitive/psychedelic imagery that has come to define our era, I call for a return to authenticity by fastening to the world in willful naivety, buoyed by Merleau-Ponty’s insistence on the primacy of phenomenology and ‘indirect ontology’ in ‘Eye and Mind’ and through a reappraisal of Michael Freid’s concepts of Absorption and Theatricality, to provide a centripetal balance that returns the object and the place of painting back to itself.



Touched By Strangers: An Archaeology of Intimacy

After three years quietly working on a new photographic project the series is finally complete and collated in book form. It is titled ‘Touched By Strangers: An Archaeology of Intimacy’. The images document a woodland site, notorious as a ‘dogging/cruising’ location, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I recorded the material traces of intimacy rather than the acts, and the series reflects the social tensions that arise when public and private worlds collide. I hope to exhibit and publish this work in the near future.





Commissioned paintings form an increasing proportion of my output but they don’t receive the same level of exposure as exhibited works: they are not reproduced in catalogues, nor are they discussed in reviews, and they are only seen by people connected to the client. Nevertheless they can be just as significant to one’s artistic development as self-directed works. Two examples of recently commissioned paintings are shown below, and their luminosity results from the quality of the pigments used:

Sea of Yellow oil on linen 168 x 225cm 2013
Sea of Yellow
oil on linen
168 x 225cm


Sea of Red oil on linen 168 x 225cm 2013
Sea of Red
oil on linen
168 x 225cm




I have embedded a link to a video walk-through of my solo exhibition at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh in January 2014, where I talk about some of the ideas that generated this body of work: