3 November - 25 November 2019


Joyce Gunn Cairns was born in 1948. She graduated with an MA in German and Comparative Religion, followed by a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art.

She has become one of Scotland’s leading artistic talents, combining a fearless creative energy with a feather-light touch. Her paintings and drawings are intensely personal and have three strands. The first is expressive figurative, challenging the political, religious and sexual forces which seek to exact conformity in the individual. The second is portrait drawings of friends, actors,musicians and writers such as Simon Callow, A L Kennedy, and Alasdair Gray. The creative process of working with the sitters can continue over an indefinite period. Literature is her great love, and she always reads the work of the writers she draws. The third strand, and another great passion, is wildlife studies.

Her work is part of several prominent public collections including The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Jesus College Cambridge, The Scottish Poetry Library, Balliol College Oxford and Edinburgh University. She has private collectors in Scotland, England, Australia, Austria, USA and Holland.

"Joyce Gunn Cairns' remarkable paintings ... demonstrate how many different kinds of visual truths there are ... in these graphic and unflinching images, she not only manages that sense of reaching out to touch; she conveys how, from inwards, we feel outward; what it is like to be in one's own skin..." Duncan MacMillan, The Scotsman

She was awarded an MBE for services to Arts in 2004.

She lives and works in Edinburgh.

Join our mailing list

Sign up to receive updates by email or post.