Have you ever visited Cowal? Bound by Loch Fyne on the west and the Firth of Clyde to the east, this peninsula extends, through a rolling landscape of hilly peaks, forestry, and sheltered coves, down to the Kyles of Bute. The minute you turn south of the A83, you realise why the area is often referred to as Argyll’s secret coast
Many of you will remember Jane from our Inspired by Islay collaboration. Hush is the culmination of 15 months intensive research, thinking, making, and brilliant creative enterprise, which marks an interesting new direction in Jane’s work. In Hush, Jane has interrogated a wide range of different ideas about geology and earth science; about the forces and forms of the Cowal landscape; about the relationship between land and water; about navigation by boat or foot; about the very substance of the place – before remaking, re-thinking, re-representing Cowal through her own creative medium of tweed and stitches.
In the Kyles of Bute, Sheared, Jane takes one of the area’s most familiar and iconic views, and invites us to look at it anew.
While in Loch Striven, Shimmer (above) a remote and often gloomy sea loch (where Barnes-Wallis’ bouncing bombs were tested, and which is perhaps still most often associated with military activity) comes alive with light and colour. There’s a real economy of form here, and Jane deploys this evocative less-is-more approach to equally great effect in the elemental bands of Kilbride Bay, Study 1.
From day trippers on the PS Waverley to the skiffs and kayaks that ply the coastline, Cowal is a landscape that is often seen from the water. In some of my favourite pieces in the show, Jane’s is working through ideas of navigable landscapes.
I particularly love the diptychs, which bring together extending compass roses inspired by 1970s books about geography and natural history, with overhead perspectives of the maritime shelter that the bays of Kilbride, Kilfinnan and Auchalick afford.
I love the carefully-chosen palette of Jane’s new pieces.
And I love the texture too. (In Burnt Isles and Narrow Channels, Jane’s freehand embroidery through layers of tweed almost quilts the landscape into being)
I think there’s a quiet confidence and poise about all the pieces in this exhibition. Its just so clearly the work of a talented artist who is doing her own thing really bloody well.
Jane’s opening was yesterday.
So we went along to celebrate! (That’s Jane, Jane’s partner, Sam, and me; Tom is of course lurking outside the window)
Hush will be on show at the lovely Tighnabruaich Gallery until September 2nd – and I highly recommend a trip to to see it. If you are unable to make the journey to the Cowal Peninsula, all the work included in the show can be viewed on the gallery website here.
Congratulations on a wonderful exhibition, Jane.