Callum Innes was born in Edinburgh in 1962. He studied drawing and painting at Gray's School of Art from 1980 to 1984 and then completed a post-graduate degree at Edinburgh College of Art, in 1985.

He began exhibiting in the mid-to-late 1980's and in 1992 had two major exhibitions in public galleries, at the ICA, London and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Since then he has emerged as one of the most significant abstract painters of his generation, achieving widespread recognition through major solo and group shows worldwide.

Innes makes work in a number of different ways, all of which are gradually evolving. The shifts that appear from one series to the next are rarely dramatic, but each new painting builds on those that have gone before in a subtle but constant progression. His characteristic form of coolly atmospheric abstraction has aptly been described as 'unpainting', given that key compositional elements are generally produced, not by the application of paint, but through its removal by washes of turpentine. Each finished painting thus suggests a freezing in time of the otherwise momentary arrest of an ongoing process. The play between the additive and subtractive process, the making and unmaking, underlies this sophisticated body of work.

Innes was short-listed for the Turner and Jerwood Prizes in 1995, won the prestigious NatWest Prize for Painting in 1998, and in 2002 was awarded the Jerwood Prize for Painting. He has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and his work is held in public collections worldwide including the Guggenheim, New York; National Gallery of Australia; TATE, London, and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. From Memory, a major exhibition of Callum Innes’ work over the past 15 years, was shown at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in 2007, and toured to Modern Art Oxford, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.   

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Selected texts


Spots of Time, by Caomhín Mac Giolla Léith, 1998  (read text...)

Callum Innes, by Erid de Chassey, 1996  (read text...) 

Once Removed, by Michael Auping, 1996  (read text...)

A poet of common sense, by Mel Gooding, 1992  (read text...)