05 Jul The Pier Arts Centre New Exhibition: Sylvia Wishart
The Pier Arts Centre new exhibition, Orkney and the Artist, features some of Orkneys most prolific thinkers, makers and poets. Although I loved all of the work in the new exhibition. Sylvia Wishart’s paintings are always a stand out for me. Below, I’ve made a few observations about why that is. However for more information on the exhibition, you can visit the Pier Arts Centre website here. Also, you can see my first visit here.
The Pier Arts Centre New Exhibition: Sylvia Wishart
Although I’m a fervent fan now, I had never heard of Sylvia Wishart before coming to Orkney. But the first time I saw her paintings I was lulled into her world of windowsill views and hurricane lamps. Looking back, her work influenced and inspired me. And I’m not sure what I’d be painting if I hadn’t seen her work the first week of my arrival. I saw the paintings in Orkney Museum, a short stroll down Kirkwall high street. Moreover the Orkney museum houses many surprises, one of which being Sylvia Wishart. Beyond the back corridor, there is a circling staircase with many paintings hanging on the wall. There I saw Hoy Sound; a lulling, bleak vision, swathes of colour, light and play form a hulk of a boat on the sound. I loved it.
Quite different from the painting that stood before me now. A light flooded stone cottage. Where a windowsill is lined with fishing nets, twigs in a jug and a hurricane lamp. The mantle piece has a lone Staffordshire dog on it, which reminds me of Unity Coombes beautiful work. For me, her paintings fall somewhere The Bloomsbury Group, and the ambiguity of Gwen Johns work. There are big planes of putty grey, swathes of textures and jutting lines. But in the flesh these paintings come in their own. They’re textured, gritty with the sand of the landscape that surrounds them. And the paintings almost seem made of the stuff of the landscape; the colours of fog and the wheat in the fields. For this reason, her paintings still resonate with me three years later.
Finally, I’m hoping this inspires you to take a closer look at Sylvia Wishart. If you’re in Orkney, pop by the Pier Arts Centre to see the exhibition for yourself!