The underpinning enquiry for this series of paintings, primarily presented in two solo exhibitions (2016, 2018), was an investigation of the capacity of painting as a performative act to shape new meaning fused in the materiality of final artworks. Close analysis of source photographs taken in-situ in the landscape and art historical references underpins this enquiry and is distilled through painting to both transform these subjects, exceeding their photographic and historical references, and to bring new insights and understanding to their subject matter exploring themes of life and death. The lasting influence of the Northern Romantic tradition in painting is re-contextualised within a contemporary framework to create secular artworks that nonetheless incorporate traces of spirituality through the motifs in subjects such as ‘Ophelia’, and otherworldly qualities of light as in ‘Spectral Vision on High Ground’. The ‘Tidal Swell, Firth of Forth’ continues this thematic enquiry through the depiction of an area of coastline where cadavers are occasionally washed up by tidal currents. The title of the exhibition of work from this series at The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh (2018) was taken from the last line of Seamus Heaney’s final poem (published 2014) that reflects on the brevity of human existence. These paintings specifically use landscape as a metaphor to consider the human condition in relation to the passage of time. This eschatological theme informs this overall body of work and the cyclical turning of the seasons across the series makes clear that these are temporally reflective images. Each evokes an experience that is sufficiently associative to provoke recollection of similar experiences in the mind of the viewer, thus offering ontological significance for those open to it, and proving new insights and understanding. The research is further disseminated through group exhibitions, collections, reviews, publications, journals, conference papers, invited talks.
|Type||Multi component output|
|Publisher||University of Dundee|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|