Fife artists win awards at RSW exhibition

Sophie McKay Knight with her work "When you call me Liar".  Picture: Colin Hattersley.Sophie McKay Knight with her work "When you call me Liar".  Picture: Colin Hattersley.
Sophie McKay Knight with her work "When you call me Liar". Picture: Colin Hattersley.
A Burntisland artist was one of three Fife-based artists to win awards in a major exhibition in Edinburgh.

Sophie McKay Knight won the Turcan Connell Award at the 141st Open Annual Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW), which was held at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh last month.

The exhibition featured more than 350 paintings including work by some of Scotland’s top artists.

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Sophie studied Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art and is known as a figurative painter exhibiting across the UK and overseas.

She has collaborated with scientists at St Andrews University to explore the intersection between science and art.

She said: “Thematically, my work is concerned with the human figure, nature, science, transformation and magic. Although it mostly depicts people, many other things inform my imagery – often a scene I have witnessed, a story I have read, or a historical character or event.”

Sophie’s winning painting is a study for a larger work, ‘The Truth Teller’, which will form a series of paintings inspired by Tarot cards.

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Sophie has already produced a complete tarot deck, The Painted Tarot, and is now working on the next generation of the project.

She said: “The Painted Tarot came from a long time love of tarot and its stories, history and symbolism. The new series will feature 10 paintings and 10 stories which will be published in a book in 2022.”

Two other Fife-based artists, Angus McEwan and Gillian Melville, were also selected to receive awards at the exhibition.

Angus, from Wormit, was named as the winner of the £4000 W Gordon Smith and Mrs Jay Gordonsmith Award for his painting ‘Eternal Struggle’, which was inspired by a trip to China before lockdown.

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It depicts two fading posters on either side of a padlocked door, painted in his signature realist style.

Angus, who studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, and until recently taught painting at Dundee and Angus College, exhibits his work all over the world and has received many prizes for his paintings.

Meanwhile, Gillian Melville, who teaches art at Dundee and Angus College, was chosen as the winner of the Scottish Artists Benevolent Association Award for her painting, A Thousand Fires and Ashes, inspired by her grandfather’s matchbox collection.

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