A rock climber’s perspective on landscape painting at Coldstream’s White Fox Gallery

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For six weeks starting today (Saturday, September 14) The White Fox Gallery will be venturing into new territories as it opens Siobhan O’Hehir’s 1st Solo Show.

Entitled “Land-Marks”, this new body of work, produced by the Ancrum based artist, who is also a passionate rock climber, is charting her latest stylistic and technical developments in the depiction of landscape.

The series of oil paintings on display will also reflect on concepts such as time, space and location, macro versus micro, shifting weather and perspectives...

Siobhan is, indeed, fascinated by how one’s experience of landscape changes as one travels through it, the sense of your own scale and place in that landscape varies as you move on. At some point, the vista that you were gazing at is the place you are now physically in. Simple, perhaps, but she has always found this so magical.

Her perception, as a painter who rock-climbs, is indeed truly unique.

As she explains: “Scrambling and climbing whether on sea cliff, crags or mountains … gives one a unique and compelling view of one’s surroundings. Whilst not quite aerial, the elevation experienced reveals hidden forms and shapes within the landscape. Sitting or standing on a belay on a multi pitch climb gives you time to gaze...shapes often become slightly flattened out, …trees and farm buildings too change shape....appearing more abstract and unfamiliar.

“Walking up, high lochs or lakes can suddenly appear shimmering like glass...”

She adds: “Climbing is part visual, part sensory...the rock becomes a map through which your eye, hands and feet navigate and again what is so interesting is how a route looks from the ground and how it then feels when you’re in it and/or on it!....

My hope is that my experiences translate visually to this new series of paintings, albeit, not in an obvious way, i.e. colour is more of an emotionally charged expression and less about actual representation.”

In her compositions, Siobhan also attempts to free herself from the constraints of traditional perspective and horizon lines… “[The compositions] are often a deliberate juxtaposition of viewpoints... one that confuses and diffuses form and structure.”

So, “The title Land –Marks refers directly to her experience of all these things the rocks, the water, the cliffs and crags, the weather, structures whether natural or manmade, which are, all, marks on/of the land.

Virginie, of the White Fox Gallery, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting this Solo Show. Siobhan, who is a professional Artist and also Lecturer in Art and Design at Borders College in Galashiels, is an artist of utmost integrity and originality. Her work is stunning and we are very much looking forward to discover her latest development. Siobhan will be present during the Private View and will be delighted to answer any questions from guests.”

You can find The White Fox Gallery at 51 High Street, Coldstream.

The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 4pm, with a ½ day on Wednesday when it is open 10 am – 1pm.