To a child the waters of the Firth of Forth are a sea, and Ainslie Yule, growing up on its shore, was absorbed by the movements of waves and withdrawing tides, rock pools and their populations, marine evanescence and revenance. The first two series in this exhibition reflect this fascination off shore and on the beach, colours and their absence, and a preoccupation with ‘stabilising immense volumes of unstable water’ in a human scale presentation. The sea’s lapis blues and the silver and gold of sunsets pass on into his enclosure series which express his interest in medieval reliquary caskets containing sacred, hidden mementoes. Who is there? What is there? There is a great stillness, a profound sense of the numinous, in these small gabled structures, silver and blue as the evening sea. The planned enclosures with Mesopotamian ziggurats seem a natural progression. The artist has described his lasting involvement with the natural world of his childhood as the experience of being ‘there and not there’; the same quality informs the sculptures.
Mary Mellor’s painted reliefs glow with colour. Densely and smoothly applied mauves, soft pinks and clear pale blues lull the eye and seem to offer solace. But then you notice the underlying geometry of meticulously cut forms, often jagged triangles or slashing diagonals, overlaid again by rectilinear structures and occasional enigmatic discs. Sometimes a couple of tiny figures stand above a giddy drop, engaged in amiable discourse. From a lofty horizontal a jaunty climber flourishes his hat. Elsewhere a single woman considers her peaceful destiny. No one is going to jump, no one will fall. The energy is all in the tightly controlled composition, most dazzlingly apparent in the lightning strike of violent reds and yellows which cross the largest work ‘Light Gleams an Instant....’ Nothing is as it seems.