Bank Street Gallery

Bank Street Gallery
helen whamond / mark thomson

helen whamond – artist

Helen Whamond is a local girl.   A former pupil of Webster’s High School here in Kirriemuir, she is a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, graduating in 1993.  

Drawing and painting are essential parts of her life and have been since her teenage years.  This passion, linked with her innately gentle and caring demeanour, led her into community education.  Her quiet hands-off approach has precipitated an often unexpected outburst of talent from the participants of her many classes.  This is true regardless of the age of her student and whether they are painting for pleasure or therapeutically.   

Helen has worked for many organisations since graduating – Angus Council, Angus College, Angus Mental Health Association, Scottish Arts Council, Kirkton Youth Project, Arts in Fife and many more.  The consequence of this portfolio career in pedagogy is that Helen necessarily must turn her skills to many different media and styles.  As a result, her own style becomes clouded and less tangible.  Unlike many other painters whose oeuvre shows natural development through time, Helen’s work reflects the many influences of her relationships with so many different practitioners in so many different environments.  

This open approach may well have been a springboard to her fabulous collaboration with Mark Thomson here at Bank Street Gallery.

mark thomson - poet

Mark Thomson hails from Dundee.  His story is inspirational.  Having been chastised throughout his schooling for talking in dialect – and being left handed! -he left school as soon as possible with no qualifications.  Although he found employment as a labourer on building sites, his introspection led him to question the paradox of his life.  This might best be summarised as the social pressure to “get a job so that you can go to the pub” against his intuitive love of poetry.  Taking time out to reflect, Mark found that others in the city (who were not academics) were just as attracted to poetry and the arts.  The synchronicity of his life at that time led to his “coming out” as a poet. 

His first poetry collection, “Bard Fae Thi Building Site”, was published in 2007.

Now a specialist poetry tutor, primary, secondary and tertiary students throughout Dundee in particular and Scotland generally are benefiting from his guidance and inspiring stories.  The BBC has found him too. He has been involved with programmes for Radio Scotland, Radio 4, BBC4 and BBC2.  The BBC4 documentary “Dialect in Scotland” was filmed at Den’s Park – could Mark be challenging Gary Robertson’s role as the City of Dundee’s football laureate?

Moving to Kirriemuir in 2007 it seems almost inevitable that his creative talent would draw him into the path of Helen Whamond and their collaboration for this show is an exciting innovation for Bank Street Gallery.

Press Release

If a change is as good as rest then there should be a very relaxing air at Bank Street Gallery, Kirriemuir, when their next show opens on 30th. August, 2008. 
For the fist time at the Gallery, visitors will have an opportunity to reflect upon how artists interpret their craft. 

Mark Thomson, fast becoming a Scottish celebrity in vernacular poetry, has teamed up with local artist Helen Whamond to produce an interactive reaction to one another’s work.  For those who know them, Helen is composed, gentle and serene; a personification of oil on troubled waters.  Mark, on the other hand, is energy itself.  He retains the dynamism of little boys ready for action at any time of the day or night, always providing a running commentary on their every waking moment.  Plug him into the National Grid and there is a real possibility that our national energy concerns would be resolved instantly!  Beware, however, as his energy is not entirely green.  It tends rather towards the bluer end of the spectrum of the Scottish vernacular!

What both artists’ bring to their craft is a fabulous gift of insight.  Despite their polar demeanours, both have highly evolved powers of introspection which, wonderfully, is quite infectious.  For those who take time to consider the exhibition, their view of their world will be touched.  Whilst the experience may not be restful, it will certainly be a change!

The exhibition runs at Bank Street Gallery, Kirriemuir, until 10th. October, 2008