‘this divine quiet’ – Helen Booth: a painterly meditation on the bleak, serene beauty of Iceland, @ &Gallery, Edinburgh
This is the first solo exhibition by the British artist, Helen Booth to be held in Scotland, and features over 25 artworks inspired by a recent residency in Iceland. She has exhibited widely across the UK, Europe and USA, and in 2019, she received two prestigious accolades in New York – a Pollock Krasner award for painting and an Adolf and Esther Gottlieb Prize for Abstract Painting.
Iceland is known as ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’ due to its ancient topography of giant glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs and fiery volcanoes, a wild, desolate terrain, sculptured through climate and time.
“Standing in a divine landscape has reinforced my personal belief that Nature is the most powerful force and that trying to capture the essence of Nature in its purist form is what is important to me as an artist.” Helen Booth
Feel the chill air in Abstract Landscape, 4, as soft snow flutters in icy dribbles from a billowing thick cloud stretching to the lost, hazy horizon.
Again with atmospheric realism, Abstract Landscape 7, is a swirling, whirling whiteout around the looming mass of a glacial mountain.
This raw, rugged environment is a pale palette of milky-white, cream, pink and blue-greys; the cool, crisp winter light glistens with an ethereal quality etched into frozen lakes and snow-smothered rocky peaks.
Many of these landscapes are pared down to the one essential element – water; the flow and fluidity of melting glaciers in a stream of drips as in Falling Water, with monochrome minimalism.
Also with abstract purity, a flourish of translucent spots and dots depicts the vision of glimmering icicles and a blizzard of drifting snowflakes in Frozen Water.
This seemingly simple, subtle technique is so imaginative, such as in I Think About You All The Time with its sparkling glow like Tinkerbelle fairy lights and stars in the night sky. (This stunning image would be perfect for a Christmas card or fabric design).
The use of symbolic markings is also most effective in the delicate, pointillist pattern of Silent Fall of Snow. Magical, mesmerising, meditative.
The title, ‘this divine quiet’, comes from a memoir by Christiane Ritter, “A Woman in the Polar Night,” about surviving life in the Arctic wilderness. Likewise, with poetic, painterly eloquence Helen Booth captures the bleak, majestic natural beauty of Iceland with a tangible, serene sense of place.
“Abstract Art is always rooted in experience of the real world .. .. and provides an emotional satisfaction similar to that of landscape. ” Pepe Karmel (Abstract Art, a Global History, Thames & Hudson).
this divine quiet – Helen Booth
&Gallery, 3 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6QG
Current opening times:
Tuesday to Friday 11am – 5pm; Saturday 11am – 4pm & by appointment.
www.andgallery.co.uk. Tel. 0131 467 0618
The exhibition is beautifully complemented by floral displays of Birch Tree branches and ice-dried, white Amaranthus blossom, created by ‘Flowers by Minty’, Abbeyhill, Edinburgh