Reviewed by Rhys Fullerton
This joint exhibition at Patriothall Gallery features paintings and prints by Soosan Danesh, Tracy White and Mary Walters: three recent graduates from the part-time degree in Combined Studies at Edinburgh College of Art.
In this exhibition they explore the rhythms of the natural and urban environments. As a starting point, they all made three works of identical size which are displayed together in a perfect square (see right).
Each artist’s approach is different and you can see the individual styles within this block. There was no set plan of what the pieces would be, and the artists just had to trust that it would all come together. This sets the rhythm for the show and from here onwards each piece flows into the next.
Below I touch on a few of the highlights.
Soosan Danesh’s brilliantly abstract 'Rhythms, Edinburgh Closes' are interpretations of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile closes. There are eight on display and although they are similar in style and size, each piece of wood is carefully designed and coloured in a specific way. They are as intricate as the closes they portray, and each has a very different story to tell.
Danesh’s 'Cramond, First Light 1' is a wonderful contrast to the Royal Mile closes and my favourite of her works. Every line of colour reflects the changing horizon at the start of the new day. It is a very subtle but effective painting.
Tracy White and Mary Walters are inspired by wild northern places in Scotland and Iceland.
White’s work is very physical and in present. In the excellent mixed-media 'Slated 1 & 2', she uses an old map as the base, and it protrudes through the layers above it. The layers and colours are incredibly harmonious and the rhythm of the landscape is very evident.
In her 'Batter’d 1 & 2' (below) that harmony has disappeared to make way for a much more physical approach. The title really fits the paintings. Whether these are representations of a battered landscape or something more immediate is not made explicit, but it makes for powerful and striking effects.
Mary Walter’s work seems to be an expressive interpretation of the landscape; she lets it run from her imagination and subconscious. Her abstract impressionist 'Watermark Triptych' and 'Wild 1 & 2' are for me her standout pieces. The free-flowing flourishes could represent the rugged and wild landscapes of Iceland that have inspired her. She finds energy in the earth and it is clear that she invests a lot of time in the surroundings that inspire her works.
There is not a clear narrative to the show or to the landscapes that the three artists have created, but the results are both bold and refreshing. These locations aren’t obvious, the artists are not trying to conform, and nor should they.
It’s a daring approach but it pays off triumphantly.
Rhythms continues at Patriothall Gallery @ WASPS (1D Patriothall, Hamilton Place) until Sunday 15 March. Gallery is open Mon–Sun, 12–5pm, Thurs 12–7pm. Admission free.
Cecilia Mulgrew Still have the pleasure of seeing it. Looks great. Your year Mary.