Frank Pottinger

RSA Friend’s Room Exhibition


Frank’s show in the Friends’ room will feature prints – mainly etchings and woodcuts – together with a few examples of his sculptures. All are concerned with poetry and language, a lifelong interest since schooldays. While writers and poets have used language as a vehicle to express their thoughts and ideas, artists use images to do something similar. The end result however is not merely a representation for its own sake but a stepping stone to something more. Thus, though Frank is creating work based on his favourite poets, he is not aiming for another two-dimensional representation of their words but taking things beyond. He wants to ‘suggest’ poetry, not illustrate the poet. Only a few pieces will make direct reference to the underlying source and there is no prescriptive approach to how we view any of these. Frank responds strongly to the shapes he hears in words and sounds and it is these shapes that he aims to bring out in his work. Abstract notions in this process take concrete form, following syntactic principles. Thus, in his unique fashion, he conveys the music of the line intrinsic to the whole.


Edinburgh-born Frank Pottinger RSA began his working life as a fitter/engineer. Following National Service he attended Edinburgh College of Art and later went into teaching. Frank trained as a sculptor and his work was recognised in 1979 when he was elected ARSA. Living in the country at the time, he made big sculptures and enjoyed doing so. Since 1985, when he left his post as lecturer in Aberdeen, he pursued his career as an artist full-time in Leith. The facilities to work big have gone, together with the desire to do so. Instead his work has altered course, taking in ceramics and, for the last 10 years, printmaking. It is now prints which take up most of his time, though he still makes small sculptures for bronze-casting.


Barbara Christie
Board Member, RSA Friend’s Organisation