Catharine Davison RSW: Light Lines, Night Shapes
In this, Catharine Davison’s third solo exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery, the act of looking remains fundamental, but there is a shift of emphasis from expansive topography to a more intimate physical world – the world of the hills and suburban gardens in south Edinburgh surrounding her home in Oxgangs.
Light Lines, Night Shapes makes direct reference to the process through which the paintings in the exhibition have emerged. The work is primarily drawn and painted directly from source, although some pieces are observed in the studio from collected hedgerow flowers. The work acknowledges both night and day and how light, or the lack of it, alters the landscape. Born as much out of necessity as design, this focus on evening light emerged as a response to the shorter winter days and a need to make work at any given opportunity. The immediacy of Davison’s own tended urban garden and her proximity to the foot of the Pentland Hills gives her a place to quickly set up and paint directly or collect source material.
These simple logistical considerations are important to Davison. They allow her the freedom to trust her intuition and commit, chasing the conditions of evening light as it moves from dusk to dark. Mixing and applying oil colour in low light, Davison firstly maps out and simplifies shapes and forms to allow her to reveal their characteristics, whether it is trees brooding against sumptuous deep skies or jewel-like wild flowers from the hedgerows.