Six Simultaneous exhibitions of painting, craft and photography
A wide variety of painting, drawing, photography and craft. The theme of all the two-dimensional work this year is the human image as depicted by artists living in the Highlands. The craft work mixes traditional and contemporary skills. An Ian Hamilton Finlay show completes the rich visual feast.
Fergus Mather is a Thurso man who has devoted a life-time to both teaching and practicing art, in particular photography. For many years he has captured images of the distinguished jazz musicians who have visited Lyth and this exciting exhibition shows both the exuberance and discipline involved in presenting live jazz.
Eugenia Vronskaya was born in Moscow and graduated from the Moscow Fine Art University aged 23. She went on to study painting and printmaking at the RCA, London and now lives just outside Inverness. Her work focuses on light, form, space and the mysteries of objects. The centerpiece of this exhibition ‘Iconastas’ is a stunning wall of sixty miniature portraits featuring her children and friends, neighbours and acquaintances – the faces that make up her world.
“She has few rivals in Britain for sheer draftsmanship” John Russell Taylor
Andrew Sinclair, a Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art graduate, lives and works on the west coast of Scotland in the small village of Resipole on the road to Ardnamurchan. He grew up on the family farm where he has recently returned to set up Resipole Studios, a place both to create and to exhibit.
In his figurative work he uses a variety of approaches to oil painting, either keeping the paint loose and thin or working up texture almost to an impasto finish, whichever the subject requires.
This exhibition shows a range of paintings inspired by Highland musicians and the way that their music has survived a transformation into modern culture. In particular these colourful images attempt to capture the magical bond between player and instrument.
– pictures by Sarah Orr, Meg Telfer, Sue Jane Taylor,
This group of images by four artists, all living in the Highlands, illustrates the variety of occupations now found in the North from crofting to oil working.
Sarah Orr is an artist who draws inspiration from her natural surroundings, not only the landscape but the people within it. Having graduated from Edinburgh College of Art, she has exhibited work all over Scotland including the Edinburgh R.S.A. the S.S.A. and Eden Court, Inverness. Sarah is widely respected in the north for her ceramic work and illustrations.
Margaret Telfer has been living in Skerray since 1991 after many years of teaching in Glasgow where her work has been exhibited extensively. These large-scale images depicting fishing and crafting pursuits were inspired by her community in Sutherland. She is currently coordinator for the Timespan Outreach Residency Programme.
Sue Jane Taylor lives near Dornoch and has devoted much of her time to working with or creating work relating to the North Sea oil industry. She studied at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen and followed this with post-graduate studies at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Sue and fellow exhibiter Sarah Orr have both taken part in Wick’s PPP (Pulteneytown Peoples’ Project) in recent years.
Mark Smith is a Yorkshireman who has been living in Sutherland since 1992, producing watercolour images of local scenes and townscapes. His prints of the ancient buildings in Dornoch town centre have met with great success. He also restores photographic images hence his growing interest in the human image.
– work by Isobel Ackary, Laura Street, Callum Young, Catherine Macleod
This year’s display includes hand-made furniture from Caithness, woodcarving, and innovative glass and baskets from two English makers.
Isobel Ackary is a graduate of the University of Brighton and lives at Heathfield, Sussex, where she has set up her own stained glass studio. The elements of stained glass, lead with its heavy dense concealing properties and glass with its light, fragile, transparent character have resulted in those studio works which use metaphor: boats improbably made of lead, bottles hinged in order to reveal hidden abstruse messages.
Laura Street from Haywards Heath, Sussex calls these colourful objects “Urchets” or “Urghets”. They are actually baskets and partly use traditional basket-making technique but the tentacles are cable clips dyed in vivid fluorescent colours which transform the baskets into giant sea urchins.
Callum Young was born in 1944 and brought up in Glasgow. He was to become a professional soldier and computer engineer before eventually getting down to making sculpture after moving to Drumbeg in Assynt in 1991. For ten years he produced these beautiful wooden carvings before his death from cancer in 2001. The work explores the dynamics of shapes which hover between organic and abstract form – highly tactile celebrations of the beauty of different types of wood and different ways of understanding form.
After completing a furniture design, making and restoration course at the Thomas Chippendale School of Furniture, Catherine set up her own workshop at her home in Caithness. She currently designs and makes contemporary and traditional pieces and also restores furniture for local clients.
– a touring exhibition from the National Library of Scotland
The work of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Scotland’s philosopher, poet, landscape gardener and visual artist, covers a vast range of themes and ideas. It can be poetic and lyrical, but it can also be direct and confrontational and is frequently witty and playful. His work explores and challenges the relationship between text and image and between poetry and the visual arts.
There have been many exhibitions of Finlay’s work, but few of them have focused on his practice of working with a number of collaborators, many of whom are artists in their own right.
This exhibition aims to address this by viewing Finlay through five of his artistic partners, giving an insight into the relationships which are such a key part of his output and offers an overview of his life, his work with the Wild Hawthorn Press and the creation of his garden in Lanarkshire.
Guest artists visiting Lyth the summer are Robert Wyatt and Alfreda Benge. We are mounting a small exhibition of Alfreda’s work including her joyous illustrations of Ivor Cutler’s stories “Herbert the Chicken” and “Herbert the Elephant”. These will be hung at a height suitable for children and small adults to enjoy.