“New Growth”: Abstract, Conceptual and Figurative Paintings by Davy Macdonald. Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh
“Until this point of my artistic journey I have focussed predominately on figurative painting together with landscape and still life studies. I now find my art evolving in new directions and recently have become interested in the development of abstract and conceptual art”
With his own unique and innovative series of artistic genres, Davy Macdonald has been exhibiting in Edinburgh and London since 2009. He has specialised in figurative works set within an historic or cultural background for his excellent Heritage Series such as Harris Tweed and Herring Lassies. These are stunning, dramatic paintings which tell the story of the women who wove the wool, against a backdrop of wild Hebridean seascapes, as well as the iconic fisherwomen at Newhaven harbour, shucking oysters and salting herring.
This exhibition, “New Growth” is a diverse and dramatic range of Figurative, Abstract and Conceptual work, which clearly show how he has developed his style with a renewed creative spirit. His fascination with history, as illustrated with his impressive narrative paintings, is also matched by an interest in mythology and symbolism.
A new departure is venturing into abstract paintings – bold, vibrant patterns which express a freedom of movement, colour and geometric shape. “3 Ways North” is a humorous, quirky representation of a map with the sign North, shown in three positions. Hang the picture any which way, to view the landscape of meandering roads, undulating hills, where the eye follows the compass direction upwards, right and left.
Follow Davy on an artistic journey, real or imagined. Reflecting on the political and environmental challenges which the world is now facing, “Weeping Earth” is a poignant and powerful illustration.
Picture the bleak scene: a wild sky of threatening dark clouds, a mass of grey, black and white captured in bold brushstrokes. Streaks of crimson red appear to drip like blood on to the stark, dry desert below, scorched in the heat. Simple in structure, it packs a punch in its vibrancy and apocolyptic vision.
With his interest in Chinese art, “Jade Mine” is another striking conceptual image, reflecting the Yin and Yang theory of passive and active energy. Against the dark green of high mountain peaks, there’s the fiery glare of a red sun. Jade gemstones hold a significant place in the Chinese culture, believed to be a bridge between heaven and hell, symbolising knowledge, perfection, constancy and immortality.
Japanese cinema from the 1970s is also the subject of a few works, featuring such characters as such as Lone Wolf and Lady Snowblood. This cult classic movie from director, Toshiya Fujita, a young woman (Meiko Kaji), trained as an assassin to seek revenge for the murders of her father and brother; the choreographed swordplay is described as visual poetry.
Macdonald has returned to his Heritage series of the Herring Lassies, evolving the theme by placing two or three young women in a less defined landscape. They stand, holding baskets of fish, gazing out at distant hills at sunrise, perhaps remembering and dreaming of their island home.
Rather than the naturalistic setting of Newhaven harbour, this could be the Scottish Highlands, Outer Hebrides, Finland, Norway, Iceland. These are most impressive figurative-landscapes, evocative of a freeze frame in a film, a moment in time, expressing a quiet emotional sense of nostalgia and loss.
Around the gallery are new Portraits such as the artist’s muse, Evelyn Nesbit, the fair-skinned beauty from Tarentum, Philadelphia.
After her father died, leaving her Scottish-Irish family in debt, Nesbit became a muse, modelling, fully clothed,for artists. In June 1900, she moved to New York City and soon, she was the most in-demand model, for portraits and fashion advertising, in Manhattan.
There are also examples of the classic Gothic Edinburgh paintings, and from the original Herring Lassies series. These are popular images with prints and originals being shipped around the world across Europe to Beijing.
Having known Davy Macdonald’s work for a few years, this is an inspiring and imaginative exhibition of figurative and abstract oil paintings, as well as Limited Edition Prints. Prints are available to purchase from the ETSY shop. Each paper edition is strictly limited to 125. Canvas prints are limited to 18 for each series.
Commissions for Portraits are also welcome.
See more information at – www. dmacart.com
New Growth – Paintings by Davy Macdonald
Dundas Street Gallery, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ
Saturday 22 July to Saturday 29 July, 2017. 10am – 6pm daily.