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Shared Perspectives

Three Highland Artists, Three Journeys...

Ian Giles, Jana Emburey and Lucy Woodley explore their sense of place through the expansion and migration of humankind.

Through the shared perspectives of these three artists we are asked to consider the relationship between place and identity in the world today – Jana Emburey meditates on our place in the cosmos, Ian Giles brings a strong sense of rootedness in a particular location and Lucy Woodley is concerned with displacement and the reconfiguring of identity which comes along with that.

Jana Emburey’s meditative micro/macrocosms explore the ideas of interconnectivity, oneness and universal natural dynamics. Using a rich visual vocabulary, from complex, intricate compositions to fluid soak-stain abstract topographies, she considers humanity’s place in the cosmos, time and space.

Ian Giles’ works focus on a very specific place. They derive from excursions along the east coast of Caithness, between Sarclet and Berriedale – a visually stunning place.  The timeline of faults, folds and erosion in the coastline creates the thumb print of our place, our presence and our identity.  Whilst walking and viewing the coast it was not his intention to paint or “capture” this scenery – the works emerged sometime later on reflection.

Lucy Woodley is concerned with the narratives that surround migration and the movement of peoples, particularly inspired by the terrifying stories and uncertain outcomes of modern journeys, frequently made across the seas that divide us in small boats. In works that are stark, simple and beautiful, minimal elements – a bird, a boat, tiny bone fish – are potent cultural symbols. Using silver and found objects, Woodley maroons her boats on rocks and branches, suspends them between shifting continental plates or the rafters of a house, captive, arrived but unable to disembark.

Jana Emburey was born in 1979 in Bratislava, Slovakia.  She is a graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University (2012) and the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Bratislava (1997).  She lives and works in the Scottish Highlands.  She approaches her work mindfully, as an expression of a state of consciousness, with the experience of the process, alternating between single point focus and an expansive state of flow, inextricably linked with the outcome.  Emburey says, “the work stems from cell division, multiplication and growth of everything in this world and beyond, all made up of tiny cells/particles. The work is very much about how everything is related but also about how unaware we are to what is happening in us, underground, in the oceans, sky, the universe. Making these works is very labour intensive, absorbing, meditative.”

Ian Giles is a self-taught artist who has lived in Caithness for over 40 years.  He has exhibited work throughout the Highlands as well as having commissions and works in private collections across Scotland.  Ian’s work is informed and influenced by a long and rewarding career in engineering which brings a closeness to and understanding of the natural environment.

Giles says, “the constraints of procedure within engineering can develop a kind of mindset which can be challenging when undertaking artistic expression.  My experience of the natural world through engineering brings a close appreciation of the might, the delicacy and fragility of our surroundings which I seek to express in my work.  By exploring different techniques of mark making I often become enthralled by process and consequently my work can be very varied but to me there is complete continuity of conceptual approach underpinning it all.'”

Lucy Woodley graduated from Grays School of Art, Aberdeen, in 1992 with a degree in Craft and Design but has moved towards sculpture.  Her jeweller’s attention to fine detail has stood her in good stead in constructing her pieces.  Our world is in flux,” says Woodley.   “We are being forced into reconfiguring our borders and along with them our identities. This is my way of exploring the themes around migration, the hope and the trepidation that comes with any journey that traverses known and unknown territories.”

Main Art Gallery
2 July – 27 August 2022