Paperwork, Whitespace Gallery, Review

Three works by Ruth Thomas, Trevor Davies and Marion Barron, in Paperwork
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Marion Barron, Trevor Davies, Ruth Thomas

Over the past few years at the Festival Fringe, Marion Barron, Trevor Davies and Ruth Thomas have collaborated on a series of most impressive exhibitions of finely crafted artwork, sharing themes of nature, humanity, history and heritage with an evocative sense of time and place.

Inspired by contemporary urban landscape, Marion Barron has a fascination with architectural lines and geometric shape. The sharp lines of triangles, rectangles and squares in Overlap creates a crisply composed pattern within an integrated collage. (right image above).  The two symmetrical columns in bold black and tobacco brown on a grey background in Strut, appear to reflect the hard, rough appearance of concrete, brick and stone, paring down building blocks to its basic form and structure.

Barron's  use of specialist media, such as oil pastel, pencil and ink on Japanese paper produces decorative designs of fine quality. In Foresaid, a blend of ink, acrylic and torn slices of scrap paper, the text is perhaps a legal document, with the words ‘petitioner’ and the title, 'foresaid', delicately placed in the centre of a feather-light, softly textured sheet of coffee-coloured, fibrous handmade paper.

Trevor Davies is a an artist who enjoys experimenting  across several genres, from figurative sketches and still life to abstract studies to sculptured artwork using found objects. An underlying narrative lurks within Memories Contained, a charming sculptured piece featuring a row of miniscule scrolls of paper, scraps of typed text and lost handwritten letters, each held in position under a wire “fence” on a slab of salvaged old drift wood. Like tiny messages in a bottle found on a beach, this is a whimsical, richly textured work.

Portraiture, simplified to an almost faceless expression, is skillfully handled by Davies and the dark profile of Head is most effective.  Here too is a shimmering silhouette of seven people in Figure Shades, (centre image) is a haunting, ghostly image, sketched in graphite, acrylic and ink with a luminous, painterly vision.

On first glance, Sixteen appears to be a creamy white 3D block, like rolled out pastry, with an undulating sheer veneer. Moulded in plaster of paris, an almost invisible pattern of sixteen tiny circles has been pressed out with a beer bottle top. A most aesthetically-pleasing abstract composition.

The sea shore around Scotland and New South Wales is the recurring subject for Australian artist, Ruth Thomas, "Nature’s calligraphy: tiny barnacles in rocks, the delicate structures of shells and seaweed."

With an exemplary eye for geological detail, Rocks in a Landscape focusses on the spider-web patterns of multi-coloured pebbles, fossilised stones across the striated layers of green lichen and shallow rock pools along the sandy beach. (left image above)

The rather bleak landscape in All That Remains has a surreal, dramatic mood of isolation and stillness. This is an artistic response to the tragic fires in Australia last year, destroying homes, farmland and forests, as depicted here with a few figures, apparently stranded in the remains of their wasteland community.

Drawing the viewer physically into the natural environment, Towards Fife is vividly atmospheric with a tangible scent of fresh air, the translucent light of the sky and fluidity of water evoking peaceful tranquility. To create a rich texture of rugged rocks in Across the Water, long narrow strips of painted paper are layered over the canvas in a cool kaleidoscope of azur blue, golden brown and soft grey, leading they eye to a panorama of glimmering sea and hazy hills beyond.   

As observed at the previous Paperwork exhibitions, this trio of exemplary artists complement each other’s creative style with painterly precision. The overall theme is about experimentation with shape, shade, line, form and the cool crafting of collage to celebrate the artistry of pen, paint, pastel and ink on crisp white paper.


7 – 18 August, 11am – 6pm daily. Free entry

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