Whitespace Gallery, 76, East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh EH8 8HQ
22nd to 27th September, 2018 12pm to 5pm
Private view Friday, 21st September, 2018
This exhibition has been my project for the summer and I have been working on it since May. I decided to be bold and make three large canvases, sized 1200 x 900 mm, for the space in Whitespace Gallery, Edinburgh. The idea gradually came to me on train journeys, first on a trip to Newcastle to see the David Bomberg exhibition, and then on a day out to Dundee to see the Duncan of Jordanstone degree show.
I had spent the first few months of the year “dissecting” a complicated photograph sent to me by a customer. The picture was of a spotted horse in a twiggy winter woodland. I tackled this by gridding the photo into 64 squares and finding the miraculous unexpected abstractions within each thumbnail. The train journeys gave me the chance to look at the 50 million shades of green that existed in the landscape, near and far, and which would transform my twiggy drawings in paintings.
I selected three photos and gradually worked across each of them to create the three large paintings. In each case, there were moments when I despaired and lost track of how the compositon was going to work. I masked off all but the crucial areas so that I could observe more clearly and prevent my mind interfering and confusing me. The result was that I achieved three coherent paintings. I did the same in the smaller paintings of the plum tree leaves.
My plan was to build on the exhibition by adding larger versions of the charcoal thumbnail drawings, which are beautiful in themselves, but which, I found, did not translate to a larger scale of 800 x 800 mm without me taking a completely different approach. It could be that I did not have time to create very detailed drawings on this scale, which are at least as challenging as making a painting, or it could be that after this intense period of rigour and scrutiny it is time to have a play.