Lynne Mackenzie
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George Wyllie 

Scul?tor and Navigator

2013 Royal Glasgow Institute, Douglas Street, Glasgow
2014/15 6ART 6a George Square, Greenock

George Wyllie Scul?tor and Navigator offers a look at the ideas and design of Wyllie’s work. Including materials related to the artist’s famous works, the Straw Locomotive and The Paper Boat, the exhibition also looks at projects conceived by Wyllie that did and did not come to fruition.

As the self-proclaimed “best bogie-builder in Cardonald”, who built his first yacht in the living room of the family home, Wyllie’s first job was an office boy in a shipping company in Govan. He then trained as an engineer with the Post Office before joining the Royal Navy and then working for Customs and Excise in Greenock.

At the age of 58 he entered into a four-decade long late-flowering career as an artist. The practical skills and knowledge gained throughout Wyllie’s working life were integral to his artistic practice; the scale and ambition of his public artworks relied on principles of engineering and design in their conception and construction.

In 1987, Wyllie attracted international attention with his Straw Locomotive, a 78ft locomotive constructed from steel, straw and chicken wire, which hung from the Finnieston crane in Glasgow before being burned in nearby Springburn in a Viking style funeral.

Two years later, his 80ft Paper Boat, a memorial to the city’s shipbuilding industry, sailed the Clyde, was seen by millions as it traveled around the world from Glasgow to New York and back to Scotland.

This exhibition gives an insight into the ideas and creations of a man whose lightness of touch and workmanlike approach to his art always gave way to a more serious message.

Works on display are from the collections of: 
George Wyllie Estate

With thanks to:
The Wyllie Family
Jan Patience
Mark Osborne
Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts