“Painted as the direct result of a vivid dream experienced on Shetland during an artist residency, Kate Walters’ watercolours are at the intersection of art and shamanism.” So says the publicity for Walter’s current exhibition, which opened today (1 March) at Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh. Completed over the course of three artist residencies on Shetland in 2017 and 2018, Shetland Notebooks is infused with Walters’ love for the Scottish isles. The exhibition follows a book launch as part of Walters’ wider project with Guillemot Press, the small independent publisher that is known for its illustrated poetry, single-story pamphlets, postcards, and full collections.
Shetland Notebooks is Kate Walters’ second publication with Guillemot, following her Iona Notebooks (2017), and is actually two books in one. Aptly titled Shetland Notebooks and Sketchbooks, the two-volume publication appears as a limited edition of 400, combining visual art and poetry, and each edition comes with an original drawing by the artist, too. Walters works in watercolour, monotype and oil, her subject matter being the interaction of the animal, plant, dream, and human worlds and, as she explains, she works shamanically using a ‘hollow bone’ technique. It should not escape our notice that her prolific output involves a form of expression and handling not dissimilar to the graphic works of Joseph Beuys, which she has acknowledged in the past. Of Shetland, Walters says: “There’s something about the air on Shetland; it’s perfumed, clean, full of life, and the colours of Shetland entrance me.”
Bursting with energy and the promise of life, the exhibition connects Walters’ artistic language with years’ worth of spiritual practice. Walters’ work will be show at the Arusha Gallery until 17 March 2019, and thereafter, internationally. For those wishing to see Walters’ work here in the North, news reached me yesterday that there will be a talk, exhibition, and further launch at the Pier Arts Centre on Thursday 6 June at 7.30pm. Further news on that to come. Currently, the books are £30 and can be purchased exclusively through Arusha Gallery.