Harriet Selka, “Fresh Zest” – an exhibition of Abstract Expressionist paintings @ Pop Up Edinburgh

Fresh Zest at Pop Up Edinburgh Gallery, 12 – 18 December,. 2019

After graduating in Fine Art Painting at Edinburgh College of Art, in 2015, Harriet Selka has developed a multi-disciplinary range of skills from seascapes and portraiture to photography and ceramics.

In the past few years she has had great success receiving the Latimer Award for her painting, “Dive In” at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Dive In, Harriet Selka (Latimer Award at the RSA)

Her innovative and unique styles of black and white photographs were selected two years running for the Scottish Portrait Awards, 2017 and 2018.

Chris and Calum’s Wedding, Harriet Selka (Photograph at Scottish Portrait Awards)

That sense of artistic innovation and creative challenge has inspired Harriet to focus on a completely new concept moving from realism to abstract images.

It all started with a set of children’s colourful gel crayons purchased at the Tate Modern gift shop which changed her technique of drawing.  Perhaps like a child learning to paint a picture, it gave her a new freedom of expression.

Fresh Zest is her first solo exhibition presenting a selection of autobiographical paintings which has evolved over the past year or so.

“ There is a quest for joy and fun within my fresh zest series – exploring my inner self. This self-work has re-energised me and .. my art has taken on new buoyancy and freshness.”  Harriet Selka

Gatekeeper, Harriet Selka

While each of the oil paintings has been given a descriptive name, these are personal images based on imagination, memory, emotion, people and places in Harriet’s life.  It is for the viewer to observe the colour, circles, blocks and and curving shapes to take what they “see” in the picture.

“Fresh Honey” (in my view) reflects a distorted Still Life, a plate of summer fruit and floral blossom.

Fresh Honey, Harriet Selka

With her strong background in coolly composed seascapes with shimmering light on water, works such as “White Horses”  and “Keep Floating” could certainly represent the watery flow of waves, cloud and shoreline.

White Horses, Harriet Selka

“Each painting begins with a simple sketch, usually an abstract life drawing of myself .. while exploring the relationship between other forms and motifs. Spatial tensions are created through layering, colour connections and shape.” ​ Harriet Selka

With a fine Picasso-esque mode of portraiture or Henry Moore shapely sculpture,  it does seem evident that there are two faceless figures in “My Salvation Lies in Your Love”  curved in a close embrace, set against a landscape of sea and orange sky.

At the Pop Up Gallery, there’s also a marvellous showcase of beautifully designed plates, platters, mugs and vases and embroidered linen.  Perfect decorative gifts for your family, friends and for your home.

Beautiful platters, Harriet Selka

Pop Up Gallery Edinburgh, 17 Dundas Street, Edinburgh

Exhibition opening times:

12th December:   3pm – 6pm 

13th – 17th December:  10am – 6pm

18th December:  10am – 3pm


Chef Tom Kitchin, Harriet Selka – one of her most impressive Portraits



About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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