The paintings in this exhibition are the outcome of my experiences from three distinct coastal landscapes, each shaped and weathered in common by the Atlantic Ocean. Being variously on the westward shores of Scotland, Ireland and England, all are strongly characterised by their individual and compelling features of grand coastal scenery.
The commanding height of Neist Point lies at the most westerly edge of the Isle of Skye, part of a wild terrain facing resolutely out towards the furthest Hebridean islands. The wide path, intriguingly crossing over and around the nearer portion of the headland, describes the contours and seemingly elevates the great flank of land before re-emerging at the lighthouse beyond. Drawn as I have been to this sheer cliff formation that sweeps up dramatically out of the sea, it represents a newly found landscape for me.
Relatively familiar, from several residencies across a number of years, the north Mayo coast displays an expansive and scoured landscape, the drama lying rather in its length than its height - a panoramic coastline. It is defined by areas of remote peat-bog that adjoin the more structured triangular shapes created by fields interlocking with one another above the headlands. Here the geological striations run in counterpoint to the lyrical lines of white foam that swell along their base, marking the edge at which the ocean finally makes landfall.
In Cornwall, towards the Penwith peninsular, Godrevy Point forms the easterly arm of St Ives Bay and from one side looks across to the distant town of that name. I went there for the first time last year, to discover for myself this darkly slated promontory, ending with a small island bearing a lighthouse. With its deep turquoise inlets and precipitous cliffs, there are certain echoes of the architectural formations that I know so well up the coast at Boscastle, yet excitingly it also offers new configurations of shape and structure.
By means of drawing directly from my chosen landscapes, I have been able to elucidate new elements to use in my paintings, paring down the compositions in order to capture the essence of each of these singular coastal places.
WORDS written by Artist Vanessa Gardiner