Chris Brook, John Brown RSW, Dominique Cameron, Alison Dunlop RSW, Simon Laurie RSW RGI, Christopher Wood RSW and ceramics from Lucy Dunce.

6 April to 5 May, Preview Friday, 5 April from 6-8pm

The third of our small group shows this year concentrates on an Abstract theme.

The Chambers Dictionary defines “abstract” as, to draw away, to separate or to summarize, and as a noun, “That part or thing which represents the essence.” In many ways all painting and drawing is abstracted to some extent. Some of the best drawing is achieved using the very minimum of lines, abstracting the essence of a subject. In simple terms, think of it as a sliding scale with photo realistic artwork on one extreme through to completely non-representational on the other.

In this exhibition most of the work bears some representational connection with the subject but all have been distilled into a simpler, purer yet expressive interpretation. Visual cues are not the only sensory inputs… the smells, the tastes, the hubbub of a French market place or the contemplative silence of an Italian hillside, the heat of a Mediterranean beach or the bone-chilling cold of a Wester Ross winter, all these elemental experiences can be channelled into the final work. Using an innate understanding of colour and compositional balance the resulting work has an emotive impact that is both powerful and enduring.

Chris Brook grew up in Sheffield and worked as a freelance illustrator before working full time as an artist since 1995. He shows regularly at the RSW and VAS group shows and last year won the RSW Watermark Award at the RSW Open exhibition. Subject is predominantly landscape driven, the coastline around his studio in St Abbs being a constant source of inspiration. His work is not intended to be site specific however, instead it attempts to reflect the overall visceral and elemental experience of the surroundings. He achieves this through a series of layering, over-painting and scratching to result in weathered, tactile pieces.

John Brown studied at Glasgow School of art under the guidance of David Donaldson and Duncan Shanks both of whom have had an influence on his work. Following a successful period teaching, John returned in 1996 to concentrate on his own work exhibiting in regularly with solo shows in Edinburgh and London. The work in this exhibition is informed by his sketchbooks from his travels to exotic destinations such as Havana, Catalonia and Tuscany. The representational associations to the places he visited act simply as a support to the physical experience – the sights and sounds, the warmth and atmosphere are much more informing in the final pieces than the recognisable landscape or figures. The combination of colour and texture is both beautiful and evocative and makes this viewer long for the summer months.

Dominique Cameron completed her MFA in Art, Society & Publics at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee in 2014 and since then has had two successful solo shows with us focussing on her walks around Leith and her experiences from the time spent visiting a wood near her studio in Pittenweem. The work in this exhibition, mostly taken from her walks during a residency in Collemacchia, near Rome last year, is much more abstracted than the free flowing, expressive but representational mark-making we have become accustomed to from her previous exhibitions.

Alison Dunlop was born in Canada, graduated from University of Guelph, Ontario in 1980, came to Scotland in 1982 to undertake postgraduate studies at Edinburgh College of Art and has since made Scotland her home. Alison has won numerous prizes, most recently the Walter Scott Award at the RSW Annual Open Exhibition in 2018 and exhibits regularly at commercial galleries across the UK as well as at the RSA, RSW, RGI and VAS. In 2006 Alison and her husband bought and renovated a derelict croft on the North West coast of Scotland. This exhibition features work from that croft and the views from her studio across the Inner Sound as well as pieces from her most recent Shiant Isles series. Remarkable, distilled and abstracted watercolour studies which somehow, very simply and so succinctly capture the light and raw, elemental drama played out on this Wester Ross coastline.

Simon Laurie was born in Glasgow and studied at Glasgow School of Art. Influences are many but the work of Ben Nicholson, William Scott and others from the St Ives group have been important. Using some of the antiques and artefacts he collects from around Scotland and from his trips to Greece, his Still Life’s are like small abstract compilations of his experiences from the places he visits. He has an uncanny ability when it comes to balancing colour and form, creating beautiful harmonious compositions.

Christopher Wood trained at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating with an Honours degree in Drawing & Painting in 1984. He has been a full-time professional artist since his first one-man exhibition in Edinburgh 1987. His work is inspired by personal experience, birth and death but also the elemental landscape found around his East Lothian home. Although he has an intimate and intuitive understanding of the application of paint, collage is also an integral and important part of Christopher’s work. The use of rugged and torn cloth not only provides line drawing to his compositions but also provides a raw, weathered texture and a sense of permanence.