01/09/14LANDSCAPES of MARGINALITY
paintings from Iceland and the Hebrides
Oxmarket Centre of Arts
John Rank Gallery
16th September – 28th September, 2014 (free admission)
Tuesday - Sunday, 10.00am - 4.30pm
The works in the new exhibition at the Oxmarket Centre of Arts are inspired by the landscapes of Iceland and the Hebrides. Although the works differ markedly, ranging from apparently conventional landscape paintings to works leaning strongly towards abstraction, all share a common theme which is alluded to in the title of the exhibition: "Landscapes of Marginality". They all engage with landscapes that are peripheral in some sense either in terms of their relative isolation from the mainstream, or marginal due to severe environmental constraints. Often such geographical isolation coupled with harsh environments means that these landscapes also are or have been marginal in socio-economic and culture terms.
Iceland exemplifies most of the features of marginality, unquestionably marginal geographically in relation to metropolitan Europe and northern America. It is also marginal in the uncompromising nature of its natural environment, oft characterised as the land of ice and fire. Socially and economically too it has been for much of its history a peripheral territory under Danish domination.
The crofting landscapes of the Hebrides are also marginal in the same way and resonant with landscape pattern. Some pattern reflects underlying structures in the natural landscape, some reflects the interaction of local people with their environment and some is pattern imposed from without. All of these manifestations of pattern have an inherent visual appeal but also encapsulate landscape memory and preserve an often poignant historical narrative.
Iain White, the artist behind this exhibition, believes strongly that as well as seeking to capture the aesthetic appeal of these landscapes, the landscape artist has a responsibility to find a way to tell the stories encoded in the landscape.