Artist Vivian holds first solo show in Aberdeen

A Fair Isle artist has explored the impact of humans on the land in her first solo show at Aberdeen’s Newave Gallery.

Erosions by Vivian Ross-Smith, who graduated from Gray’s School of Art in 2013, will run at the gallery in the city’s Castlegate until 6th October and features a range of works exploring sustainability and issues around climate change.

Manipulating materials such as wood, metal, crystal and concrete she compares the natural environment with human existence.

Ross-Smith said: “Having a solo show at Newave Gallery has been a fantastic opportunity. The gallery is a beautiful space filled with natural light – I really love it.

“I have wanted to make this body of work for a while now but needed the perfect place to exhibit it and Newave Gallery is definitely that. I think Aberdeen, being an oil city, is an interesting place to raise questions on renewable energy and natural landscapes, so all in all it has been great.

“Aberdeen will always be somewhere special to me, as I absolutely loved my time there at Gray’s School of Art.”

Talking about her work, Ross- Smith said: “It addresses several issues including art, geology and renewable energy.

“I wanted to consider sustainability and human impact on the land – as the results of climate change become apparent, I have been exploring how these issues are being addressed, glorified or even ignored.”

She believes that growing up on Fair Isle has made her very aware of the impact humans can have on the landscape.

“My work is very connected with island life and specifically Fair Isle,” she said. “I think it has given me a deep respect for my natural surroundings and really makes me look at how the land is layered and formed.

“When growing up on Fair Isle I can remember when they first put up the windmills on the island, they appeared so huge and I was quite intrigued by them as well as being very aware of their function.

“On Fair Isle there is still no 24 hour electricity so as a young child, I learned quickly that if the windmills were turning, the lights stay on – magic!”

She added: “Issues surrounding renewable energy are very apparent in Shetland at the moment, especially around wind turbines as a project is currently underway to build 103 new turbines in the centre of Shetland’s mainland.

“I have been watching people’s reactions with great interest as this project has provoked a lot of very strong reactions, both for and against.

“I am very much in favour of renewable energy but think other options are just as viable and would like to see a focus more on tidal energy as well as wind. As you can see in the work at Newave Gallery there is some strong imagery in the form of the turbine.

“Some people have a real problem with their size and how they protrude from the landscape but I find them very interesting forms.

“I have been quite intrigued with how some people are so firmly against any change to the landscape, whilst others truly believe that putting up a few windmills will rectify years of humans destroying our atmosphere.”


Add Your Comment
  • Haydn Gear

    • September 18th, 2015 21:44

    I think that Vivian’s objectives and thinking processes encapsulate positive thinking in regard to the impact of human activity on planet earth. Some people seem to be incapable of accepting that everything from the simplest of structures right up to towering skyscrapers et al define human changes to what is called the natural world.Obviously , scientific advances have made and continue to make considerable input but, as an artist myself with scientific interests , it would be so much more humanly satisfactory if art could be allowed to co-exist with science rather than be the stupid target of criticism from narrow focus individuals.

  • David Spence

    • September 19th, 2015 0:05

    I wish Vivian well in her first exhibition at Aberdeen’s Newave Gallery, of her unique and thought provoking artwork. As they say ‘ Pictures can say a thousand words ‘.

    I also agree we, as humans, must look for alternative, cleaner energy to meet the ever increasing demand we put upon the planet to sustain a life style, which quite frankly, is unsustainable in many ways. You only have to look at the States to realize selfishness plays a greater role, in terms of material wealth and commercialism (materialism and commercialism a man-made concept that has no baring on any natural laws of life or the Universe) than caring for the environment or the planet, and using what resources we have efficiently and without long term damage to the environment or eco-systems.

    However, I wonder if Vivian, has ever considered the greater destruction Agriculture causes to the planet? It is estimated there are more green house gases released into the atmosphere by farm lifestock than all the modes of transport put together? This also includes the destruction of natural habitat and being replaced with crops or plant based oil products (eg. palm oil)

    Any way, I hope this exhibition promotes Vivian’s artwork further, and goes beyond the island boundaries in terms of enlightenment and education.


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