Sam Ainsley: Stories Real and Imagined

3 September - 2 October 2022

'Art helps me tell my own story. It's an accumulation of my life, my travels, the issues that concern me and the themes of my work: from the relationship of the human body and the landscape to feminism.' 

The Academicians' Gallery, RSA Lower Galleries | Free entry

The Royal Scottish Academy is pleased to present Sam Ainsley: Stories Real and Imagined this September. Including large-scale paintings, collage works and limited-edition prints, the exhibition will feature recently created works, as well as some drawn from Ainsley’s rich back catalogue.


View the exhibition online

Sam Ainsley approaches her work as a form of ‘emotional mapping’ which looks to uncover relationships between natural phenomena, the human body and the human condition. She is interested in the correspondences and disjunctions between the natural and man-made world. Influenced by feminism, film, politics and poetry, Ainsley’s work often considers ‘how we might bridge the gap between women’s experience of the world and that of men’.

Ainsley was born in North Shields in 1950. She undertook a foundation course at the Jacob Kramer College of Art, Leeds, before studying Fine Art at Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She went on to postgraduate study at Edinburgh College of Art where she won an Andrew Grant Fellowship. From 1985 Ainsley taught in the Environmental Art department at Glasgow School of Art before going on to co-found the Master of Fine Art (MFA) programme there in 1989. Ainsley was appointed director of the MFA programme in 1991 and would hold this position until giving up full-time teaching in 2005.

Ainsley has contributed to a wide range of visual arts programmes and initiatives and is renowned as a prominent spokesperson for the importance of the arts in Scotland. Her work is held in numerous national and international collections. She works collaboratively with David Harding and Alexander Moffat RSA as AHM whilst continuing to work independently in her Glasgow studio. Ainsley was elected a Member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2016.