Jane Rushton's Breathing Spaces

IAN McKAY

News from Resipole Studios today is that “the Spring Equinox is here and there is a warmth in the air.” Further north, there is still a sharp bite to the wind here, and although the daffodils are already flowering, the wind chill tells me that they may be getting ahead of themselves a little. Having launched ART NORTH magazine with a distinctly Arctic theme at the end of February, I was always a little curious about what readers would be making of it as we neared our upcoming Summer Issue (due 1 June); given that we are a quarterly magazine, what seems apt and timely for late February may well be less so for early-summer. Would the Arctic theme of issue 1 seem out of place in the warmer days of late May? We shall see.

Jane Rushton ,  sastrugi, towards the light , 100 x 100 cm

Jane Rushton, sastrugi, towards the light, 100 x 100 cm

For now, the Arctic theme of our debut issue is not yet an ‘incongruity too far’, I think, and that is underlined by the fact that Jane Rushton will be giving an artist’s talk tonight at Resipole Studios on the theme of ‘Arctic Artists’. It was Jane who authored the four-page feature titled The Draw of the Arctic in our current issue; a text that highlighted the appeal of landscape beyond the Arctic Circle for Scottish artists in particular. As the team at Resipole, which is currently hosting an exhibition of Rushton’s works, state: “writing in response to her piece Sastrugi: Into the Light (pictured above), Jane Rushton beautifully paints in words the first shifts towards Spring in the Arctic.

“Ice, not water, though the surface patterns appear the same. Svalbard at the beginning of March, just as the sun starts to appear after four months of the Polar Twilight, where the sun stays below the horizon. In an almost monochrome landscape, where distance is impossible to judge, leads to a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity. Spindrift shifting across wind and ice-scoured surfaces and the layers of protective clothing heighten the sense of isolation – but the hint of light from the slowly returning sun offers comfort and hope.”

Rushton’s talk, which takes place tonight (Thursday 21 March from 6-7pm), will surely be well worth venturing out to Resipole Studios, whatever the weather, and I wish her all the best with it and hope she has an attentive audience. For those not able to make it, you can read an edited transcript of a previous talk that she gave, which appears in the current issue of the magazineor why not combine the two? Resipole Studios is now one of our stockists for the magazine, after all, so maybe pick up a copy of the magazine while you are there.

Jane Rushton ,  snowstorm over sleat , 30 x 30 cm

Jane Rushton, snowstorm over sleat, 30 x 30 cm


Jane Rushton | Breathing Spaces

Until 5 April, 2019

Artist’s Talk: Thursday 21 March, 6-7pm

Resipole Studios
Acharacle
Argyll
PH36 4HX


ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Jane Rushton was born in Lancaster in 1955. She studied, as a mature student, at Lancaster University graduating with a First in Visual Culture, and an M.Phil. in Art: Practice and Theory. She subsequently worked for many years as a lecturer in 20th Century Art History, and as Studio Practice tutor in the disciplines of Painting and Drawing. Her art has always been rooted in landscape and expresses something of the experience of being within the northern environments to which she is drawn, rather than depicting them directly. She is based in Mallaig in the West Highlands.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:

The work on show in Rushton’s Breathing Spaces is drawn from a variety of northern environments; from Britain, Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard, and reflects upon what she refers to as her “personal relationship with landscape, and the natural processes that make our world.” As she continues, “Integral to the way I work is walking through and becoming immersed in landscape with the aim of becoming part of it. I don’t just want to be an observer of nature, but to recognise and explore my place within it through all of the senses. The smell of the earth, salt on the wind, or the call of a Northern Diver is as important to the making of the work as the sight before my eyes. I am attracted to edges and boundaries where relationships occur – where lichens create a rich palimpsest on rocks, plant communities vie for position, cloud, sea and land merge imperceptibly, and where ice margins shift on both the short and the long term. Whether working with paint on canvas or mixed media on paper I am looking to connect with the timelessness of the experience by bringing these subtle details and relationships to light, and offering them as sites of meditation, reverie and resonance.”

Ian McKay

Born 1962, Ian McKay is a writer, art critic, and cultural historian, with a keen interest in promoting the visual arts and crafts of the Northern Highlands. For over 25 years, he worked as a senior lecturer in art history and cultural studies, and has been writing on the arts, crafts and culture industries since the mid-1980s, His work has appeared in over thirty countries worldwide, being published by Cassell Illustrated, Wiley, Octopus, Free Association Books, Flowers, and State Media (among others). In addition he has written on environmental issues and social history, and is a leading authority on the work of the British modern artist Bernard Cohen. In 2010, Ian founded Hatchet Green Press, and offers a wide range of bespoke services to artists and writers via our Services page. He also maintains a visual art, craft, and culture Blog titled North-Northwest.