About Art North

Art North is a quarterly visual arts magazine with a primary focus on Scotland and the Far North. Our principle aim is to build upon and strengthen the connections that exist between Scotland and her Nordic and Scandinavian neighbours, as well as the island territories of the North Atlantic and the Baltic States, too. If Art North is about anything it is about presenting the visual arts and contemporary crafts of the North in the international context that they deserve, thus stimulating interest in the very best work being made today at the most northerly of European latitudes.

The magazine was founded precisely to act as a point of contact via which a range of artistic and critical voices can come together and be heard, thus serving as a meaningful conduit for the outward flow of information about all that there is to celebrate about our arts from ‘the margins’. To achieve the broadest possible coverage of the arts and crafts that we report on, our team of writers and critics (located in fourteen countries) has been assembled to fully represent even the remotest of locations.

In Art North you will find a thoughtful balance of feature articles, reviews and special reports, alongside up-to-the-minute international arts news. Each issue of the magazine also includes an in-depth report from a location that we feel is deserving of broader coverage than it may currently enjoy, too. Make no mistake, though, Art North may be committed to promoting the arts of the Far North, but our mission is not to be provincial or parochial in outlook. Far from it. Our objective is to facilitate an informed understanding of the visual arts in their truly European and international context.

 
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Ian McKay
Managing Editor

 
 

 
 
 
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Martin Hannan

When The National recently featured Taigh Chearsabhagh’s light installation on North Uist that dramatically showed the threat of rising sea levels, we were unaware that the first print-based visual arts magazine for Scotland and the far north featured the installation on the cover and in its leader article. Art North is packed with informative articles by critics known and unknown. Its founder Ian McKay is an art critic who, for more than 30 years, has reported on the visual arts internationally. His writing has appeared in more than 30 countries worldwide. […] He said: “Art North was founded as a magazine that would better represent the art of what many people think of as ‘the margins’. The magazine is also about internationalising the work being made by forging stronger links with Scotland’s neighbours in the far north.”

 
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Hamish Mackay

In a world increasingly bedevilled by the 'me, me' narcissistic culture, the words of Ian McKay, the founder-editor of the new Scottish print-based quarterly visual arts magazine, Art North, have a special resonance. Ian is not averse to ruffling a few feathers: “The business of art criticism has changed dramatically. Today, the mainstream art press can often be more fixated on the celebrity of the artist rather than their 'work'. It's the work I'm interested in – not  an  artist's lifestyle. That was one of the reasons why I decided to establish Art North. Here in the far Northern Highlands, increasingly I was becoming aware that the art being made in our urban centres, was getting ever-wider coverage and the art made in more 'remote' locations was barely recognised  by the art press, if at all.”

 
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Louise Atkinson

As part of our focus on highlighting the work of arts organisations and how they support artists, we spoke to Ian McKay from Art North magazine, a new publication which aims to showcase artists working outside urban centres, in particular those in the Scottish Highlands and their Nordic neighbours. […] Art North was conceived as a magazine that would better represent the art of what many think of as the ‘margins’, but the magazine is also about internationalising the work being made, by forging links with Scotland’s neighbours in the Far North; countries such as Norway, The Faroe Islands, Iceland, and further east to Sweden and Finland, where artists can also be found working remotely, or without the widespread recognition they deserve.

 
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Ken Wilson

The idea of exploring a cohort of northern nations seems a good move. The magazine’s range of features in the first issue is commendably wide. A cover story on the Scottish island of North Uist Berneray is a timely reminder of work being done in these faraway outposts. Matthew Hollett’s insightful feature on the nature of “islandnesss” asks how art can “bridge the distance between far-flung solitudes.” Maria Huhmarniemi reflects on Arctic Art being about much more than just the “exotic north”, but environmental activism. And there’s an excellent piece of the importance of maestro Joseph Beuys. Nicely produced and well laid out, the writing is free of the pseudy, academic claptrap that often bedevils critical arts writing.

 

 

Testimonials

 
A much needed initiative that is reversing the decline in critical space for the visual arts in Scotland.
— MURDO MACDONALD, Professor of History of Scottish Art (Emeritus), University of Dundee 
 
It is great to think of a visual arts magazine being edited from the far north. Every point on the periphery is the centre of another circle, not in terms of geography but topographies of the mind.
— MEL GOODING, Art Critic, & Former Senior Resident Fellow, Edinburgh College of Art
It is invigorating and valuable to have a magazine for these latitudes that will recognise, present and critique the arts produced here from an informed basis and help move the centre of gravity North.
— RODDY MURRAY,Founding Director, Head of Visual Arts & Literature, An Lanntair
What is needed now, more than ever, is a way of creating connections, building networks, and giving artists a platform to show the world the work being created in the Highlands & Islands. There is much power in the creation of one central source to do this, and the magazine’s editor, Ian McKay, has the experience and the method to make that happen.
— JANE MORRISON-ROSS, Former CEO, Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, North Uist
An enterprising project focussing on Scottish and Nordic art that maps well with my ongoing interest in Northern Romantic Art; an area that has been rather overlooked and would benefit from critical revision and support.
— PHILIP BRAHAM, Visual Artist & Programme Director (Art & Philosophy), Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
I absolutely support this kind of publication being made, and its redefining of the definition of the centre where art is thought to take place – instead looking outward to all the amazing work going on around ‘the edges’.
— VIVIAN ROSS-SMITH, Visual Artist, Shetland Isles
It’s really cool what you’re doing. Globalisation may have established the Faroe Islands as a popular travel destination, but this is the first time the Faroe Islands are included in an international art magazine!
— TURIÐ JUSTINUSSEN, Arts Writer and Journalist for the Faroese daily newspaper Dimmalætting
The arrival of a new contemporary visual art and craft magazine for Scotland and the Far North is something to celebrate!
— UNIVERSITY OF LAPLAND, Master's Degree Programmein Arctic Art and Design
As our name implies, we are committed to the belief that the visual arts have a crucial role to play in our development as individuals and as a community.  So we are very excited about Art North, coming as it does from somebody who has demonstrated such a keen insight and commitment to exploring the imaginative and creative life and development of this fascinating, inspiring, and often challenging part of the world.
— PETER HARING, Director, An Talla Solais, Ullapool Visual Arts 
Great to see new cultural and artistic tendrils reaching beyond the expected. I hope to see the contemporary and the political given as much space as craft and tradition. We need to grow a new Scotland, and culture can be the start.
— GAIR DUNLOP, LecturerDuncan of Jordanstone College of Art & DesignVisual Artist working with Screen-based & Digital Technologies.