Compass Gallery in Glasgow has been one of the premier Scotland contemporary art galleries since 1969. It’s a culture-rich gallery where you can expect a new collection every few months, as their programme keeps their exhibitions circulating between undiscovered and more established artists to present a fresh perspective of the contemporary scene.
Renowned for its contemporary exhibitions, Compass Gallery features established artists such as Ashley Cook, Helen Fay, and Cleo Mussi combined with talented new graduates. The Compass Gallery offers collections perfect for art enthusiasts, collectors and first-time buyers to browse.
We’ll be covering a wide selection of contemporary art, including drawings, mosaics, paintings, and sculptures that you can see at the Compass Gallery. Let’s dive right into it.
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Compass Gallery Accessibility
This gallery offers limited accessibility options, but the venue is small and consists of a singular floor without any tertiary levels. There are stairs that lead down to the Compass Gallery, without wheelchair access available.
Important Details to Know
Before we jump into all the incredible exhibitions and shows this gallery showcases, first things first, is the gallery accessible, how do you get there and are tickets free?
Compass Gallery Opening Hours
You’re welcome to visit Compas Gallery throughout the week; you do have the option to book a specific time slot.
Glasgow Compass Gallery opening times are from 10am to 5pm on Tuesday through Friday. They’re also open on Saturdays from 11am to 4pm.
Is Compass Gallery Free to Enter?
It’s free to visit the gallery, which includes their shows and exhibitions; you’re welcome to walk in any time. No booking is required.
How to Get There
You can find Compass Gallery in the heart of Glasgow. The gallery is easily found at 178 West Regent Street, Glasgow. Here are just a few ways you can get here:
To reach Compass Art Gallery in Glasgow, follow the M8 until the junction at 18, use the right lane to exit towards Charing X. Merge onto St George Road and follow the road, turn left into Sauchiehall Street, turn right into Blythswood Street and on your fourth right turn into West Regent Street.
There is a bus stop on Regent Street, depending on which direction you’re coming from. Speak to one of the bus drivers or check the Traveline Scotland App, which can help you plan your journey to Compass Gallery and which busses to take.
Compass Gallery Attractions
Once you arrive, you can truly begin to experience contemporary art at the Compass Gallery. The gallery aims to showcase renowned exhibitions that every art enthusiast can appreciate. It has various shows circulating throughout the year so depending on when you go can greatly impact the art you’ll see. Here are their most popular shows and celebrated art:
Exciting Mixed-Themed Shows
Compass Gallery has mixed-theme shows throughout the year, which feature a wide selection of artists and mediums. The art gallery consistently showcases paintings, drawings, pottery, and sculptures from Scottish contemporaries.
Mixed-theme exhibitions are worth experiencing as they can introduce you to new artists and take home works of the next great global talent. Also, with new exhibitions circulating almost every month, there will always be something new to experience.
The New Generations Show Supporting New Artists
The gallery hosts the celebrated New Generation Show every year. The new generations show features an exciting collection that presents art from the new generation of Scottish artists who recently graduated. You can expect various contemporary paintings and sculptures, among other artwork.
If you’re in Glasgow during the celebrated new generation show, it’s worth taking a look; with every new generation, art changes, and this is a show that puts this evolution at the forefront.
Seasonal & Holiday Shows
Every season, the gallery hosts seasonal shows that support local art creators; these shows have various themes within them and feature a variety of artistic mediums.
Winter & Summer Shows
Seasonal shows have some of the most variety, with artwork coming from across Scotland, and they always balance showing the art of new graduates and established artists. Most of the art in these shows are paintings and prints; however, there are a few gorgeous sculptures and mosaics showcased as well.
Some artists of their recent Winter Show include Alasdair Wallace, Tom Allan and Kane Mclay.
In December, Compass Gallery presents an end-of-year Christmas Show. These shows combine new, unknown artists and established artists, such as their other shows. Some of their well-known artists featured include Whyn Lewis, Louise Higgins and Helen Fay.
Explore Contemporary Exhibitions
Their monthly programme constantly changes, allowing Compass Gallery to showcase new and established contemporary art annually.
Some contemporary one-man shows that the gallery has featured include:
- Iona Roberts: Glasgow Urban Landscapes, which is a collection of sketchbook notes she created during lockdown, which she used to explore her experiences at the time, the space she found herself in and time.
- Gregor Smith RSW: A Sense of Place is a collection of watercolour, oil and print paintings that record his experience with locations and nature changes every time we experience it.
- Pen Reid: Behind the Curtain showcases a collection of captivating watercolour paintings that are full of colour and took 3 years to create.
Admire Original Paintings and Artwork
Various original paintings are available at Compass Gallery to browse for art enthusiasts and first-time buyers. The art gallery has plenty of one-man shows that spotlight a specific artist during the year, which have included John Mackinlay and Gary Anderson.
Every original painting is crafted beautifully and with care; the gallery features various contemporary paintings, including realism, abstract, figurative, minimalism and nature. Looking at the art they currently have to browse is worth it when you’re in Glasgow.
Take in Enchanting Drawings
The beautiful drawings on display at the art gallery explore various parts of life, nature and the human experience. The drawings available to browse are from renowned artists who are consistently shown and talented new graduates.
Drawings are the window into the process of creating art, as most paintings start off as a drawing, in the past the gallery has hosted drawing shows, showcasing the beauty and talent of artists including Jack Knox, Ronald Rae and Lara Scouller.
All art that Compass Gallery exhibits is meant to support and lift every young artist, giving them a platform they can receive renown for in time.
Explore Captivating Mosaics
The contemporary art gallery showcases plenty of incredible and unique mosaic displays. These mosaic displays are beautifully modern, with an essence of realism that makes them catch your eye and keep your attention.
The gallery has plenty of established contemporary art in mosiac that is incredible to see online and incomparable in person.
One of the most popular mosaic artists at the gallery is Cleo Mussi, who has a long-standing reputation for her mosaic art. And in 2023, she had her own solo show called Botanicals, which featured various mosaic art, from small intricate art to the lifesize “Green Man”.
See Artistic Expression With Ceramics
The Compass contemporary art gallery also features a stunning selection of handcrafted ceramics. These ceramics all tell a story within a more extensive exhibition. The most popular ceramic artists that have been featured include Anne Morrison and Cleo Mussi.
The selection of ceramics is available for viewing, and you can also support local rising talent by investing in pieces early on in your career.
Learn from Storytelling Sculptures
The incredible art gallery has many excellent sculpture exhibitions throughout the year—sculptures of every size. The gallery emphasises all contemporary art, including every sculpture that graces its door. Each sculpture is carved, moulded and utterly handmade by the artist.
Some of the most well-known sculptures featured at Compass Gallery include:
- Dennis Westwood’s Summer’s Castaway
- Shona Kinloch’s Running Hare
- Simon Manby’s Family in Water
Compass Gallery is an amiable and welcoming space; everyone who works there is well acquainted with the art and can answer any questions. Pop in at Compass Gallery in Scotland for an extraordinary art experience.
More Scottish Galleries to Visit
- Aberdeen Art Gallery
- An Lanntair Arts Centre
- Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries
- Gallery of Modern Art
- Hunterian Art Gallery
- Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
- Jupiter Artland
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
- Kirkcudbright Gallery
- McManus Art Gallery
- National Galleries Scotland: Modern
- National Galleries Scotland: National
- National Galleries Scotland: Portrait
- Pier Arts Centre
- Royal Scottish Academy
- Stills Gallery
- Talbot Rice Gallery
- The Burrell Collection
- The Fruitmarket Gallery