Thursday, 25 June 2009

In Harmony at McGill Duncan Gallery

Here's a review of our current exhibition, published today in The Galloway News.

FIONA WATSON The Harmony of Things framed £300 unframed £240

In Harmony at McGill Duncan Gallery
Review: The Galloway News 25.06.09

Nature is the overwhelming influence on the work in the new exhibition at McGill Duncan Gallery in Castle Douglas. Birds, wild plants and flowers and the beauty and fragility of nature consume the interest of all four women artists in the show.

The exhibition is composed of ceramics by Sue Dunne, jewellery by Susan Kerr, etchings by Fiona Watson and paintings by Rosie Villiers - Stuart. Many regular visitors to the gallery have been impressed by the change in atmosphere that this new work has brought to the exhibition space.

‘Tread Softly’, an enchanting etching by Fiona Watson, may have been inspired by the poem by W. B. Yeats but it is also a message that couldn’t be more relevant when surrounded by so many images of nature in the exhibition. Another of her etchings ‘The Harmony of Things’ displays Zen-like balance in its composition and epitomises the atmosphere generated in the gallery by all the works in this exhibition.

Ceramicist Sue Dunne follows the changing seasons in her work. Her ‘Flowering Year’ consists of twelve individually press-moulded earthenware tiles presented in a circle, with each one representing a British wild flower. Sue Dunne’s life in the countryside and her responses to it are central to her work. She says ‘A typical day for me starts by stepping out with Mia the collie into the wood that’s next to the cottage. A dreamy profusion of wild garlic has followed the earlier scattering of snowdrops, both finding their way into my designs.’

Susan Kerr’s silver jewellery is based on floral imagery and patterns. She has a great interest in Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles and tries to recapture the femininity of these times in her work. At the same time her designs are definitely contemporary, constructed with sensitivity towards making each piece balanced and wearable, and with a distinctive flair for metal work.

Although Rosie Villiers-Stuart lives in the north of England, the sea birds of Galloway inspire her to make many trips to Auchencairn and Caerlaverock. She paints watercolours with a delightful immediacy and encourages the viewer to be present in the moment. Often painting ‘en plein air’, her grit and determination were put to the test on a recent painting trip to the Bass Rock. Her watercolour ‘Gannet Sketches, Bass Rock’ was executed perched up on the rock under an umbrella as Gannets screeched around her, as she managed to note at the bottom of her sketch: ‘raucous noise and rich smells, squally showers, sun.’ Her painting captures the very essence of the place.

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