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Art: Say it loud… Unmute is a brilliant show

© SYSTEMBird Cage, by Duncan of Jordanstone College graduate Iona Brown at Unmute exhibition
Bird Cage, by Duncan of Jordanstone College graduate Iona Brown at Unmute exhibition

I’m not angling for Scone Spy’s job but as anyone who knows me will testify, I’m an art lover and a scone aficionado. In Dunoon Burgh Hall, I may have found the holy grail.

Last Saturday, my friend and I went to Dunoon in search of refreshments.

I knew that the Society of Scottish Artists had its first “physical” show of 2022 there, so after a melt-in-the-mouth cheese scone and a delicious bowl of soup, I wandered in to the hall’s light and airy exhibition space.

The title, Unmute, is a nod to lockdown when many of us began connecting through video calls. “You’re on mute” has entered everyone’s lexicon.

Unmute presents work by more than 30 artists at all stages of their careers; on paper, canvas, in film and in three dimensions. The overarching theme is making a connection.

In a small room on your right as you enter the gallery, six smooth golden goose eggs are lined up on a shelf. These shiny eggs, made by Iona Brown, a 2021 graduate of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College, sit close to her large polished bronze bird’s nest. Beautiful. And apposite given the theme.

Iona Brown

In the main room, there is much to love. Ruby Lord’s large oil and print, Seven Hearts, glows mesmerically, like a dystopian wide view of Dunoon from the water.

Alasdair Wallace’s painting Gully, with its ghostly trees, pylons, high rise buildings and water towers, could be Glasgow as viewed from afar. Or from this playfully serious artist’s imagination. You decide.

Celestine Thomas uses blocks of strong primary colours to effect in her painting, Front Page, and accompanying children’s book. I also coveted Lord’s hanging system; large colour-matched bulldog clips and magnets.

Back to doing the Lotto for me. The scones are a steal though at £2.50 each.

Unmute is at Dunoon Burgh Hall until July 24 and online.


One of Scotland’s favourite paintings, Salvador Dalí’s Christ Of St John Of The Cross, usually hangs in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Anyone seeking out Dali’s iconic artwork in Kelvingrove in the next few months will be disappointed, as it has gone on a trip to Bishop Auckland in County Durham.

Christ Of St John Of The Cross is on display at the Auckland Project’s Spanish Gallery until December alongside El Greco’s Christ On The Cross, uniting two Spanish masterpieces.