Simply titled New Work, the current show in the Gadderie at Shetland Museum is proving to be a big success.
An amazing 62 out of 83 paintings have so far been sold and with two more weeks to go you may just be in time to purchase one of the few remaining pieces of this very collectible work. The exhibition is a joint show of paintings by Mike Finnie and Anne Bain, both long standing members of artists’ groups the Company of Incidental Artists and Veer North. The mainly waterbased paintings sit well together in a way which indicates this time established working relationship.
The paintings are landscape based, usually depicting a croft house with a typically dramatic Shetland background of stormy seas or rising cliffs.
Finnie’s gentle greens and blues, infused with the buttery yellows of winter light, complement neatly Bain’s strong use of colour with dramatic reds and deep hues of turquoise.
Both artists work with a finely skilled execution and it’s perhaps a testament to Finnie’s career as an architect that none of these building look as if they will fall down.
Finnie states that his work is also “a record of Shetland which is slowly disappearing”, while Bain says her paintings are of “the relationship between old settlement, the sea and the land”. And perhaps it is this outlook, this strong connection to Shetland past that makes the show such a success.
Breckon, Hoswick, Melby, Meal … the list of Shetland place names goes on around the room, points of recognition resonating strongly with the viewer.
The blues and greens instantly place you within the Shetland landscape. These are the paintings of shared memories. The kind of painting you could send to a family member no longer living in Shetland.
I caught up with a couple of visitors to the exhibition and quizzed them on what it was about the paintings that they really connected with.
One said: “It reminds me of when we were bairns.” Another said: “I love the light on the buildings.”
The lot of the paintings do remind you of bounding over a hill on a sunny day in your wellies, through the peat bogs always with a croft somewhere in the distance.
The evocative uses of blues creates a distance in time. A strong striking red door, a sharp beam of light, a calm moment in the twilight as the wind changes direction. Do you remember?
As one of the visitors writes in the comments book, and with no doubt about it: “So Shetland!”
I recommend viewing an exhibition that obviously strikes a chord within the Shetland heart.