George Wyllie (31 December 1921 – 15 May 2012)

George Wyllie burst onto the contemporary art scene during the 1980s. He was in his sixties and unfettered by formal art training. Disadvantaged by a happy childhood, disciplined by life on the ocean wave and spoiled by a happy marriage, he ruffled feathers through his playfully serious art. 

Wyllie was born in Glasgow in 1921. He trained as an engineer with the Post Office before serving in the Royal Navy from 1942 to 1946. He was a Customs and Excise Officer for thirty years before becoming a full-time artist in his late fifties. His best-known public art works are the Straw Locomotive (1987) and the Paper Boat (1989). He continued making art at his home overlooking the Firth of Clyde in Gourock until he was in his eighties. He died, aged 90, in 2012

Honours
MBE for service to the Arts / Honorary Fellow of Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland / Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy  / Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts / Honorary D’ Litt, University of Strathclyde University / Hon Past President Society of Scottish Artists / Fellow of Hand Hollow Foundation NY USA / Visiting Lecturer Glasgow School of Art

Awards
1977 Scottish Arts Council Travel Award (Greece & USA)
1984 British Council Travel Award (USA)
1989 Calouste Gulbenkian Award for The Paper Boat & ABSA
1990 Provost’s Gold Medal 
1993 British Council Travel Award (India & Singapore) 
2000 Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award for Standing Stones of Scotland

1966
Group exhibition Richard Demarco Gallery

1967
Crucifixion, sculpture, St Matthew’s Church, Barrow in Furness
Bumper Fish, sculpture, Bay Hotel, Gourock

1968
Solo exhibition, Irvine Arts Centre
Crucifix, sculpture, Monteviot Chapel, Jedburgh
Electra, sculpture, Holland House Electrical Co., Glasgow

1969
Sculpture, St Nicholas Chapel, Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow
Agnus Dei, sculpture, St John’s Kirk, Perth
Club Crest, sculpture, United Servicemen’s Club, Motherwell
Group exhibition, Richard Demarco Gallery

1970
Sculpture, Mitchell Swire Factory, Greenock

1972
Eagle, sculpture, Vito’s Restaurant, Edinburgh
Eagle sculpture, St John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Oban
Crucifix, sculpture, Oratory, St Mary’s Hospital, Lanark
Sculpture, Cheshire County Hall
The Clyde sculptural panels, Clyde Bar, Queen Street Station, Glasgow

1973
Locomotive Descending a Staircase, Stirling University, Stirling

1974
Group exhibition, The Mall Gallery, London
Metal relief, The Talisman Catering Complex, Waverly Station, Edinburgh
Dragon, sculpture, Bumpers Discotheque, Prestwick

1976/7/8
Scul?ture, solo exhibition, Collins Exhibition Hall, University of Strathclyde
MacRoberts Arts Centre, Stirling
McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock
Henderson Gallery, Edinburgh
Edinburgh Festival
Hang-ups, group exhibition, Greenock Arts Guild, Greenock
MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling

1979
Scul?ture, solo exhibition, The Workshop Gallery London
The Call of the Sea, solo exhibition and George Wyllie Hears, event Talbot Rice Arts Centre, University of Edinburgh
Entrance scul?ture, McLean Art Gallery, Greenock

1980
Counterbalance, solo exhibition, The Stirling Gallery
Henderson Gallery, Edinburgh
Spectro Arts Centre, Newcastle
Group exhibition, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh
Art and the Sea, group exhibition, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow
Ceolfrith Gallery, Sunderland
Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool
Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

1981
A Way with the Birds and other Scul?ture, solo exhibition, Collins Exhibition Hall, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
The Call of the Sea solo exhibition, Serpentine Gallery, London
Scottish Sculpture Open, group exhibition, Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire
Bumper Eagle, scul?ture, Kilmarnock Arms Public House, Kilmarnock
American Eagle, scul?ture, Harvey’s American Bar & Diner, Glasgow
Brass scul?ture from Glasgow’s Coat of Arms and Cathedral, Clydesdale Bank, St Rollox, Glasgow
Sculpting from Scrap Iron, film, BBC Scotland with Campbell Barclay
Assisted Joseph Beuys with Poorhouse Doors Installation, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh for the State Museum, Munchen Gladbach, West Germany

From 1982 onwards
Spires, installations at various sites across UK, Europe and USA

1982
A Day Down a Goldmine, solo exhibition and performance in collaboration with Russell Hunter, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow
A Church for an Invented God, installation, Hand Hollow, East Chatham, New York

1983
Scul?ture, solo exhibition, St Andrew’s Festival Fife
Scul?ture in Motion, solo exhibition, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
Group exhibition, Portland Clifftop Sculpture Park, Portal, Dorset
First Ten Years, group exhibition, Third Eye Centre Glasgow
A Temple of Fertility, installation, Hand Hollow, East Chatham, New York

1984
As Others See Us, solo exhibitions, Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, USA
Excavating for a Mine, solo exhibition/performance, Crawford Arts Centre, St. Andrews
Excavation from a Mine, solo exhibition/performance, Artspace, Aberdeen
Christmas Day Down a Goldmine, solo exhibition and performance with Bill Paterson
Watermans Art Centre, Brentford, London
International Contemporary Art Fair, group exhibition, Barbican Centre, London
An Incomplete History of Transportation in America, installation, Massachusette Transport Building, Boston

1985
Friendship Paintings, exhibition in collaboration with Jens Jenson, Goethe Institute, Glasgow
Old Favourites, solo exhibition, The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow
First Ten Years, group exhibition, Third Eye Centre Glasgow
Sculptors’ Drawings, Scottish Arts Council Touring Exhibition
The March of the Standing Stones, performance, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh
A Day Down a Goldmine, performance, with Bill Paterson and Tony Gorman
Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh
Unique and Original, group exhibition, Glasgow Print Studio and touring

1986
Americana, solo exhibition, Glasgow Arts Centre, Glasgow
The Eye of the Storm, group exhibition, Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery, Stirling
McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock
The March of the Missing Tourists, installation/performance, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh
A Day Down a Goldmine, performance with Bill Paterson and Tony Gorman
ICA Theatre, London
On Corrupting the Young, performance/lecture, Glasgow School of Art
Smith Art Gallery, Stirling
Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh
A Day Down a Goldmine, performance with Joe McDermott and Tony Gorman Glasgow Arts Centre, Glasgow

1987
Americana, solo exhibition, An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh
Old Favourites, solo exhibition, Lyth Arts Centre, Caithness
Paintings and Scul?ture at Sea, solo exhibition, Open Eye Gallery Edinburgh
The Kleenex Sale, solo exhibition, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh
‘and I’ – (Dance No.93 (b) 42’), performance, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow
A Day Down a Goldmine, performance, with Tony Gorman, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow
Vigourous Vespers, lecture/performance, Riverside Studios, London
Middag-Dienst, performance/lecture, Vlaams Cultureel Centrum, Amsterdam
The Straw Locomotive, TSWA-3D, installation/event, Finnieston Crane, Glasgow
The May-Day Parade, event, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh
The State of the Nation, group exhibition, Herbert Museum and Art Gallery, Coventry
A Day Down a Goldmine, solo exhibition, Scottish Arts Council touring exhibition to Peterhead, Aboyne, Stonehaven, Banff, Huntly, Inverurie
The Famous Grouse, installation, Viaams Cultureel Centrum, Amsterdam
An Assembly of Robins, installation with The Factory, Port Glasgow, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh
Glasgow Group, group exhibition, Norwegian Tour

1988
Scul?ture at Sea, solo exhibition, Pittenweem Festival, Fife
Scul?ture at Sea and Seven Spires for Lewis, solo exhibition, An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Spire, installation, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Richard Demarco Gallery Tour, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh
Hugh McDiarmid, group exhibition, Galerie Redman, Berlin
Ka-da-we Department Store, Berlin
Circus Gold, 10 hour installation/performance, Ufa-Fabrik, Berlin
Assisted Mario Merz, Tavola installation, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh
5 works inc. Arrivals and Sailings, 21 Spires, The Motherwell Tree, installations, Glasgow Garden Festival, Glasgow
The Berlin Burd, installation, Berlin Wall at Reinickendorf, Germany
The Paper Boat performance, Glasgow, London, New York, Antwerp, Greenock
Oasis, installation, with The Factory, Port Glasgow, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
High Street Philosophers, installation, Marlborough Festival, Wiltshire
The Shortbread Wedge, installation, Ayr Festival, Ayr
Seven Spires, landwork, Isle of Lewis then installation at An Lanntair, Stronoway
Beuys Spire, installation, Rannoch Moor
Berlin Spire, installation, Berlin and Greenock

1989
Seven Spires for Lewis, solo exhibition, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh
The Paper Boat, installation, River Clyde, Glasgow, River Thames, London
The Paper Boat, solo exhibition, Pearce Institute, Govan, Glasgow, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool
The Paper Boat, installation and exhibition, Royal Festival Hall, London
A Bird in the Hand, group exhibition, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
For a That, group exhibition, Gracefield Arts, Mclaurin Gallery
Togail Tir (Making Time), group exhibition, An Lanntair, Stornoway Isle of Lewis
The Paper Boat – A Patriotic Gesture, performance Tramway, Glasgow
The Peace Burd, event Peace Festival, Edinburgh
Charlie Chaplin Slept Here, event Film House, Edinburgh

The Glasgow Flourish, installation L’Europe des Createurs’, Grand Palais, Paris, Museum of Transport, Glasgow, Scottish National Museum, Edinburgh
‘Battering Fifty’, from The Drunken Boat, performance/lecture St. Andrew’s College of Education

1990
The Dumfries Mice, event, Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries
The Paper Boat, performance/installation, World Finance Centre, Hudson River, New York
Schelde River, Antwerp, Belgium (Stad ann de Stroom event)
Glasgow’s Glasgow, group exhibition, The Arches, Glasgow
The Sugared Imagination, group exhibition, People’s Palace, Glasgow
The Glasgow Fair, group exhibition, The People’s Palace Glasgow
Plug In Sculpture, group exhibition, Buchanan Street Glasgow
Estuary, group exhibition, Hillhead Library, Glasgow
Surrealist Tendencies, group exhibition, Hillhead Library, Glasgow
The Other Side of the Moon, group exhibition, Benjamin Rhodes Gallery, London
The Dear Green Helicopter, installation with Arts is Magic, Finnieston Crane, Glasgow
Burns, Beuys and Beyond: The Felt Cottage, exhibition/event, Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries, Glasgow
A Day Down a Goldmine, performance, with John Bett, Tramway, Glasgow
Group exhibition, The Mall Gallery, London

1991
A Spire for Emily, solo exhibition, Ash Gallery, Edinburgh
Scotland Creates, group exhibition, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow
The Glasgow Girls, group exhibition, Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries, Glasgow
A Day Down a Goldmine, performance with John Bett, Tramway, Glasgow
The Why’s Man, film, Murray Grigor, Channel 4
The Letterbox Project, installation, An Lanntair, Isle of Lewis
Life Cycle, workshops/event with Louise Wyllie
Robin Mass Auction, event with Louise Wyllie, Manchester
Dustbin Demonstrator, event/installation, for Scotland Against Nuclear Dumping, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Caithness
Tour Cricket, Bicycle and Spire events/lecture, British Council, India and Singapore
Life Cycle, scul?ture, Manchester
Life Cycle, installation, children’s event for Global Forum, Manchester
King Robin, scul?ture, Manchester
Scul?ture Jubilee 1966 -1991, solo exhibition Crawford Arts Centre, St. Andrews, Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries

1992
Temple for a Tree, scul?ture, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
Clean Sweep, scul?ture, Manchester

1993
The Voyages of the Paper Boats, performance, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Tron Kirk, Edinburgh
The Feis Ile Goose, installation, Islay
The Islay and Jura Spiral Project, installation Islay and Jura

1994
Thirty-two Spires for Hibernia, installation, Irish border
Fearful Symmetry and Blake’s Bike, solo exhibition, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
Air and Stone, solo exhibition, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London

1996
Thirty-two Spires for Hibernia, installation,
Calton Hill, Edinburgh International Festival
Dumfries
The McGillivray Walk, event Fochabers to Harris
Just in Case, installation, Mayfest, Glasgow, Portsmouth, Edinburgh
This is the Captain Speaking & Ben Gunn Was Here installations, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Central Queen Street Garden, Edinburgh
Voyage around a Safety Pin, performance, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
The Kerrera Saga, performance, Glasgow University Theatre, Glasgow
The Boson’s Pipe, solo exhibition & events, Square Tower, Portsmouth

1998
The Launch, scul?ture, Glasgow

1999
Retrospective, solo exhibition, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
Rock the Boat, solo exhibition, Glasgow University Media Centre, Glasgow
A Bucket of Ice, event, DCA, Dundee
Bye, Bye Blackbirds, event, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh
Mobilisation, event Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
The Millennium Garden Spire, installation, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

2000
The Monarch of Auchmountain Glen, installation, Greenock
Running Clock, scul?ture, Glasgow
Salmon, scul?ture, Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Temple, installation, Rolls Royce, Hulme Park, Manchester
Temple Millennium, workshops with Louise Wyllie, Manchester
The ‘Wee Hauf ‘Puffer, installation, Islay Festival, Islay
The Standing Stones of Scotland, public space/scul?ture, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

2001
Para Handy Re-visited Once Again & 7 Vital Sparks, solo exhibition various venues, Argyll & Bute
Northland Vent, installation, Caithness
Steeple Actions, event, Royston, Glasgow
Temple, scul?ture, Manchester

2002
Resurgam Revisited: 80th Birthday Exhibition, solo exhibition, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
The Bird and the Stone, installation, Marie Curie Centre, Glasgow
A Hopeful Invasion, installation, Aberdour

2003
The Crystal Ship, film, VIZ for Scottish Television, Grampian Television & Scottish Screen

2004
A Monument to Maternity, scul?ture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

2005
The Cosmic Voyage, solo exhibition, Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Bonhoga Gallery, Shetland, UpFront Gallery, Penrith
The Cosmic Voyage, film, produced by Martin Laycock and Laura Hamilton
Collins Gallery, Glasgow
Two Big Robins, installation, Boat of Garten

2007
Solo exhibition, The Hill House, Helensburgh
Cosmic Reach, scul?ture, The Lecht, Aberdeenshire
Let there be Lecht, school event with Louise Wyllie for Highland Year of Celebration
Scottish Water, educational film, Loch Katrine, by Muckle Hen

2008
Solo exhibition, Rozelle Gallery, Ayr
Northern Light, sculpture, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen

2010
Beautifully Crude, film, Louise Wyllie and Helen Graham

2012
George Wyllie: A Life less Ordinary, solo exhibition Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
RigArts, Greenock, George Wyllie, selected scul?tures
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
George Wyllie: A Retrospective In Pursuit of the Question Mark, solo exhibition, The Mitchell, Glasgow

2013/2014
George Wyllie Scul?tor and Navigator, curated by Lynne Mackenzie, Royal Glasgow Institute,  Glasgow, 6ART 6a George Square, Greenock

2014
Keeping the Balance,  curated by Lynne Mackenzie, Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1QH

2015
Berlin Burd & other works, Scottish Parliament
The Why?sman Retrospective, curated by Lynne Mackenzie, Paisley Museum

2016
The Paper Boat, Scottish Martine Musuem, Irvine and Dumbarton

A regular contributor to the Annual Exhibitions of:
Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts
Royal Scottish Academy
Society of Scottish Arts
Glasgow Group