Most of the images are built up from horizontal and vertical lines, which, arranged slightly differently, reflect different elements of the subject of the image. This draws a pleasing symmetry between the sea, the trees, the fields and stone, suggesting that they are all just different aspects of the same “stuff” of nature.
The use of textile, paper and thread in the images worked very well. In one of the seascape images, in particular, the use of lace to suggest sea foam and turquoise thread in the background made the work look very real, and alive, even though the style is impressionist. This use of mixed media adds a lot of depth to the landscapes, suggesting that distance is just another element of the world that falls in layers upon it. The mixed media also provided a pleasantly alienating effect when viewed up close – what was so obviously a wave when you were a few feet away becomes just a tangle of thread when seen from inches. Until you stop to look closer, the images are so evocative that you almost forget they’re not naturalistic. At one point my friend and I both looked at an image and agreed that it was an exact capture of the landscape. It wasn’t until later we realised we didn’t agree on what it was – I thought the foreground was made up of ploughed furrows, he thought they were coal seams.
The O3 Gallery is a well suited home for the images. As it’s a round space over two levels the work is hung in a swooping circle, and you can view much of it at once, which emphasises the parallels between the different works in the collection.
This is a beautiful and unusual exhibition, tucked away in the heart of the castle, but well worth seeking out.