Four women, four unique ways of creating and using light, reflecting and absorbing. Illumination Exhibition is about the interpretation of light in an artist’s work and the revealing of the creative process. Light is essential to all visual artists; and these four artists use it in very different ways.
Barbara Burns’ landscape paintings are bold, strong and holds one’s attention by their very presence. Barbara’s use of colour is tonal; her palette is an expression of light and dark. not as in black and white, but deep contrasting colours. Her work is about journeying. She walks and absorbs the landscape and returns home to paint. Using thick layers of oil paint, her work is built over time, taking many months to dry. The dark areas in her paintings transport you to the greater depths, to the unknown and unseen, questioning what is there, what is underneath, whereas the lighter zones bring you back again to a sense of calm and clarity.
Alison Coaten’s sculptural ceramics have a religious element and betray a fascination with myth and folklore. Alison explores man’s relationship with animals. With each of her compositions the viewer can get lost in the stories they suggest.
Devoid of colour, Alison relies on the soft white of a glaze to cast shadows on the forms. Sometimes with a semi-matt or matt surface, the simplicity of the finish ensures the sculpture is not obscured and the message clearly communicated.
Patricia Shone’s ceramics are inspired by the rugged landscape around her in the Isle of Skye. The powerful hills and mountains in her environment are mirrored in the processes she employs. To mimic the land, the textures on the surface of her pieces are torn, carved and rough. Light is imbued into the dark colour of the clay, by the wood, saggar or raku firings.
There is a wabi-sabi aspect to her pieces; a Japanese appreciation of the beautiful imperfection within nature, or as I like to see it, bringing the outdoors inside.
Helen Phoenix’s paintings are precious, almost like Chinese lacquer work. Her work is opulent and beautiful, using traditional Russian techniques and materials such as tempera, gesso and gold.
Helen paints birds, particularly garden wildlife. The use of gold in her work gives a notion of capturing a moment as a shining glint, that questions whether what you saw was real, or the excitement of seeing a rare species or that first bird of the season.