March exhibitions at The Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh

The Open Eye Gallery – 10-27 March
Coast and Clouds by Sarah Carrington

Breaking Clouds, triptych, oil and mixed media with gold leaf, 76 x 168 cm








This exhibition of new landscape paintings by Edinburgh-born artist, Sarah Carrington, centres on the ever-changing face of the coastline. Carrington’s atmospheric land and seascapes evoke the turbulent weather and luminous colours of the Scottish and Irish coastlines, noting the similarities between the two Celtic lands.

Often incorporating gold leaf into her work to emphasise the dazzling light of the coast, Carrington paints with a particular attention to the weather systems that sweep towards land from the Atlantic. The exhibition includes several large-scale triptychs which portray the coastline in monumental swathes of colour, evoking the power of doom-laden clouds and tempestuous gales. A set of drawings in pen, pencil and chalk on handmade paper provide glimpses of the coast and land on a more intimate scale. Pursuing a sense of expanse in her chosen subject of the sea and land, Carrington depicts the sublime scale of the rugged coastline.

Carrington graduated in 1999 with a sell-out degree show and an MA in Fine Art from the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art, remaining in Edinburgh to continue her practice. Her memories of childhood holidays to the west coast of Scotland and student sailing excursions around the Hebrides have had a lasting influence on her sea and landscape paintings. Now based in Northern Ireland, she paints both the coastlines of Scotland and Ireland. She has exhibited regularly throughout the UK and her works are held in public and private collections nationally.

Dreaming of Scotland by Brita Granström

Boy and Seaweed, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 100 cm










‘If there were an Alternative Turner Prize, devoted this time to what Turner actually did, which was to work outdoors in all weathers, Brita Granström would have to be a serious contender for it… Granström’s painting is an art of affirmation and an art of healing. Shakespeare would have called it an art of “largesse”.’ William Varley

In this new collection of paintings entitled Dreaming of Scotland, Brita Granström presents perceptively observed interior paintings, that are as autobiographical as they are intimate, as well as wild seascapes, that brim with vitality and whimsy. Looking to the paintings of Pierre Bonnard and Walter Sickert, Granström uses bold abstraction in portrayals of both natural and domestic environments but remains connected to the tradition of documentary in painting.

Granström was born in Sweden in 1969 and has lived in the UK since 1992. She studied at Konstfack, University College of Art and Design, Stockholm, and her Nordic roots are evident in paintings which are made on location both indoors and outdoors in all weathers. ‘Sweden and the British Isles feature strongly in my paintings,’ Granström has said, ‘environments that are always changing, never still. Painting on location both indoors and outdoors in all weathers produces images that, for me, encompass and celebrate themes of hope, humanity, life and mortality.’

Granström’s paintings are often full of wit and playfulness but can maintain a pensive, ethereal quality that touches on something beyond the narrative nature of the images. She is married to the artist and illustrator Mick Manning and has lived in the UK for the last 25 years. In collaboration with Manning, she has written and illustrated over seventy non-fiction books for children. Granström’s work is in public and private collections worldwide including the Ruth Borchard Collection and the Hiroshima Peace Park.

Wild Scottish by Mick Manning

Puffins, Isle of Mull, pochoir on old chart, unique, 70 x 50 cm












Over the last ten years, printmaker and illustrator Mick Manning has given new life to the medium of pochoir. ‘Pochoir’ (the French term for stencil, correctly pronounced ‘push-wah’) has been called a dying or abandoned form of printmaking by some but as the technique does not rely on a printing press, but rather on direct application by the artist’s hand with no mechanical aid, it can, in fact, be considered as one of the oldest forms of painting.

Although the use of stencil dates back to the Stone Age, more recently pochoir has been associated with Art Nouveau and Art Deco, Picasso, Matisse and, later, the twentieth-century Inuit printmakers at the Baker Lake community. The manual aspect of pochoir has been one of its most valuable attributes. Any variation from print to print is intrinsic to the work and part of the medium’s charm. Responding to its immediate and ‘portable’ nature, Manning has made a variety of prints; from ‘on the spot’ travelogue works in a Lapland log shed, to more complex works in his studio by the sea.

Part of Manning’s practice involves printing pochoirs showing animals native to Scotland directly onto old maps. In doing so he places wildlife on a topographical view of their habitat. Manning’s influences embrace illustrators such as Mikhail Ruderman and the 1970s album designs of Barney Bubbles but stretch back to cave painting, making his natural themes particularly pertinent. Manning’s watercolour studies emerge from an interaction with nature. They reveal both his curiosity for, and knowledge of, the subject.

Manning was born in 1959, grew up in Yorkshire and studied art in Bradford and then Newcastle before continuing to an MA at the Royal College of Art. He has taught at Newcastle University, the Royal College of Art and, from 1990 to 1997, he devised and ran the BAHons Illustration course at Glasgow School of Art where his students included Mark Hearld and Helen Stephens. Manning works in both Sweden and the Scottish Borders where wildlife encounters, fishing trips and found objects inform his work. In collaboration with his wife, Brita Granström, Manning has written and illustrated over seventy non-fiction books for children. He lives with Granström and their four sons between Sweden and Scotland.

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