Joyce Gunn Cairns
Edinburgh based artist Joyce Gunn Cairns MBE trained in Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art, having previously completed a degree in German and Comparative Religion at Aberdeen University.
Gunn Cairns’ figurative work includes wildlife studies and portraits. She has painted some of Scotland’s most eminent cultural figures but often her subjects are imaginary, and are more about self-searching than life-like depiction. Whatever the focus of her works, her main values are authenticity and honesty.
Using sharp, hard pencils and oil paint on board, her process is one of application and scraping back. She says “I work on several pieces at once … my eye is darting from one piece to another, recognising when something isn’t ‘speaking’ to me. Sometimes … I go from one painting to another, scraping back and retouching, searching for meaning.’
Gunn-Cairns paintings speak to the human condition. With a subtle, muted palette and a sensitive, searching aesthetic, these apparently gentle works are at the same time direct and probing, revealing very much more than their surface appearance. Similarly, with her paintings and drawings of animals, Joyce Gunn-Cairns gets beneath the surface to reveal something of the innate character of her subjects.
In terms of influences, Gunn-Cairns cites Käthe Kolwitz, Rembrandt, Dürer, Joan Eardley, and Gwen John. All artists in whose work, she says, she detects “no trace of affectation or insincerity”. A rightful and fitting context for her!
Gillian Murray was born in Perth and studied Fine Art (Printmaking) at Aberdeen’s Gray’s School of Art. She worked for many years running the Screenprinting department at Edinburgh Printmakers before recently deciding to focus full time on her own practice. She lives and works in Edinburgh.
With a focus on landscape Murray seeks out quiet, remote locations, off the beaten path where she “can feel an affinity with the landscape”. It is here that she makes sketches in which the ‘line’ is of prime importance.
“The ‘line’ . . . is the link between me physically being in a place drawing, to it appearing in my final screenprint. It is the constant in my work around which I then create planes of colour and textures to make the final print.”
“It is easy to be immersed in the process of printmaking. Making layers, trying to get the colours just right and mixing subtle blends all add to the anticipation in revealing the final image from the press. It is this combination of method and intuitiveness that keeps me fascinated by the printmaking medium.”
It is without doubt that Murray’s skill and sensitivity have come together in equal measure in these enticing and intriguing representations of the landscape.