Heriot Toun in summer

Pat Law - Artists Biography / Statement




Artists statement.


Pat Law works across a range of art forms including drawing, painting, film and installation, usually in collaboration with artists of different genres. The work offers no directive or narrative other than suggestion, but invites the viewer to cultivate their own interpretation. 


Ideas are prompted by observation of landscape and human experience, often through sailing voyages and travel, seeking to understand people and place from a broader perspective.


Residencies include Arctic Circle, a sailing expedition around the coastline of Svalbard with a subsequehent exhibition in Iceland. 


Working on a project basis, she exhibits in galleries, outdoor locations and makeshift venues across Scotland and internationally. The Cairn at The Bottom of the Track is a new small space created during lockdown 2020 which serves as an occasional and low-key venue for passers-by and small events. In a similar vein a converted horse trailer shows work in peripheral and unexpected places.


Life and work happens mainly in the Scottish Borders where she runs a creative space, Heriot Toun Studio, or on an old wooden boat on the west coast of Scotland which also serves as a studio and has been the hub of many a project.



Her current focus draws on an archive of nautical and historical material from one hundred years of the Lochfyne skiff, Kirsty, and is a work in progress.


Projects can be viewed here:






hame: home: heim

Two short films in relation to the concept of home and its myriad of meanings:

Salter's Road with Karine Polwart
Underneath the Sycamore with Kirsty Law



The Cairn at the Bottom of the Track

Created during covid-19 lockdown 2020.  A purpose-built stone cairn at the bottom of the track to show projects and collaborations. Small scale and low key; to be found, stumbled upon with an invitation to linger.  Ongoing.

Lockdown project, audio-visual: Lullaby for Troubled Times. With Kirsty Law. 


Relate North

October/November 2018: Relate North Exhibition at Helgeland Museum, Nesna, Norway


Sheffield Fringe

July 2106
Film festival investigating documentary film as an art object.

Walking Women

August 2016. Part of the Live Art Development Agency and the Walking Artists Network.
Forest Fringe: http://forestfringe.co.uk/edinburgh2016/artist/walking-women

The Gifts of Reading

An ongoing project, beginning August 2016 responding to Robert Macfarlane's book fo the same name. To raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees and to keep keep the gifts flowing.


A blog is also up and running here


The Voyage Out

September 2016. Contributor to an anthology of writing, art and science, edited by Professor  and Gail Low, Kirsty Gunn, published by The Voyage Out Press.


True North (Timespan)

March 2015

Invitation to show work for the True North Conference at Timespan in Helmsdale. Presence, originally shown in Iceland in 2013, but this time installed as a three screen projection, using the interior walls of the local large vaulted ice-house built in 1824. Originally used for storing locally caught salmon, it now lies empty. 


The Far North: Frozen Stars, Shifting Ice & the Silence Beyond.

April to September 2015
Invitation to participate as one of three contemporary artists exploring the idea of the ‘The Far North’ through art and music, historical artefacts and written words. In the fine company of Reinhard Behrens and Briony Anderson, the exhibition also included Inuit artefacts, scientific instruments and items from the university's Special Collections. 



eilean I island

September/October 2015, An Lanntair Stornoway.

A multi-media exhibition exploring the people and culture of the Isle of Lewis. Opening in the Stornoway fish mart with large scale projection over the harbour waters and performance by Kirsty Law and Ian Stephen with guest appearance by Katie Graham. Works on paper with discarded objects were shown in An Lanntair for the month of October, alongside landscape photographs by the 2015 Jill Todd Award winner, Mhairi Law. Associated workshops revolving around net mending and storytelling on the run up to the exhibition. More details on project page.


Alchemy Film Festival

Moving image, Dark Time was shown in the Horsebox in the courtyard at Heart of Hawick.  I was also part of a collaborative installation showing Presence alongside Ruth le Gear and Richard Ashrowan's work. All works stemmed from the Arctic Circle residency in 2102.


Paper Planes

September: works on paper, curated by artist Andrew Mackenzie as part of the Stow Festival. 


April: Alchemy film and Moving Image Festival

The Fixed and the Volatile

An installation of moving image and drawing at Hjalterie, Iceland, showing work created from the Svalbard exhibition 2012

Review by Professor Peter Davidson (Idea of North)

Pat Law is a figure who is genuinely important to the contemporary cultural life of Scotland, through her own artistic practise and as an inventive and successful curator and animateuse who has produced (independently, to her great credit) a sequence of collaborative works, taking their departure from her own haunting northern work and drawing in collaborators of the distinction of the writer Robert Macfarlane, to name but one example. The energies and imagination which she has brought to curation and collaborative work are prodigious.


Her own work as an artist is entirely of The North – and she is at the forefront of a group of artists and writers in contemporary Scotland who are addressing the question of the nature and identity of the place with works of art which make a generous and inclusive positioning of Scotland within the global north. Her ability to distil a poetic of northern shores and northern light in her visual and installed work is remarkable, and the warm response of recognition from artists in diverse media, from many northern countries, is a remarkable testimony to the success of her practise. As I wrote in the catalogue essay for her web-based exhibition Seven Short Sails ‘. . . this project, rooted in places of northern memory, comes to define or encompass an intensely-shared imagination of the north and the northern waters.’


Professor Peter Davidson


Arctic Circle Expedition

Sailing on a tall ship around the coastline of Svalbard as part of an international artists' residency.

Water, Water Everywhere

A touring exhibition in the US curated by Jennifer Heath of Baksun Arts.

To be shown at:
October 2012 - Boedecker Theatre and Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado
Summer 2014 - El Paso Museum of Art
April-May 2015 - Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at the University of Connecticut-Avery Point
Summer 2015 - Huntington Museum of Art
 - and continuing touring across the US until 2017.


Heartwood Artists

Invited artist to HA exhibition at Cambo House, Fife.


Alchemy Film Festival

Lead artist for multi media exhibition, Utopia, shown in fitted-out horse trailer www.alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk
Also shown at Perthshire Visual Arts Forum, October 2011

One Touch of Nature : Makes All Kin

Audio visual installation, John Muir’s birthplace, Dunbar - August.

Encounters with Fire, Ice, Myth and Legend

Threshold Artspace, Perth - March.

The New Stobhill Hospital

Three pieces of work selected for permanent collection (Glasgow).

Seven Short Sails

The starting point: one sailing boat, seven short voyages on the west coast of Scotland and seven participating artists all of whom live and work in countries bordering northern seas. 

The whispers began with a series of short voyages on the west coast of Scotland aboard a Loch Fyne Skiff sailing boat. No itinery, no set plan, except to explore that intriguing coastline, looking at the landscape and culture, scooping up moments and fragments to pass onto other hands for assimilation and interpretation.

This raw material was passed on to seven artists in the form of sketches, stories, paintings, photographs or conversations - with the request to respond in whatever way they chose. Those responses in turn were passed onto another seven artists and so on, for a total of seven phases.

On completion of the project, the cultural similarities and parallels between artists living at northern latitudes - ways of living and seeing influenced by climate, daylight, geology and tradition - are discussed by Professor Peter Davidson from the University of Aberdeen and Margaret Bennett, folklorist, who generously gave us an epilogue in the form of an essay and a song.

A total 56 artists participated in the project and here are the results.

Shown at: StAnza St. Andrews 2010, UHI St. Magnus Conference, Orkney, 2011

In 2013, I was honoured and delighted to have the project included in Peter Davidson's book Distance and Memory. The essay is called Northern Waters and is in the Spring section of the book : you can find the book here



Alchemy Film Festival

Journey Audio-visual installation, Hawick, Scottish Borders.


Looking to the North

A joint exhibition with Swedish artist Louice Lusby Taylor at Heriot Toun Studio based on the light of the northern hemisphere.



With musician David Garrett. Text by poet Thomas A. Clark.
Three paintings from the Watermarks show were purchased by An Tobar for the permanent collection.


2015 - CABN Visual Arts and Craft Makers Award
2012 - Creative Scotland Professional Development Award
2012 - CABN Visual Arts and Craft Makers Award
2010 - Scottish Borders Scheme


The Voyage Out - The Voyage Out Press 2016
Distance and Memory (Peter Davidson) - Carcanet 2013
Quiet Place - a walk up Mt. Hekla, Iceland
Shine - Nautical lights of the East coast, to accompany Horsebox exhibition 2012
Heartwood Artists at Cambo - 2012
Watermarks - to accompany exhibition at An Tobar 2006
Island - Essence Press publication

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