The Sutton Gallery: Julia McNairn White’s Lighthouse Series

The Sutton Gallery is a space renowned for its display and support for innovative contemporary artists, which the Edinburgh-based McNairn certainly is. After having three successful solo exhibitions in the same space, the artist return for the presentation of yet another of her engaging collections.

Julia McNairn White’s work can best be described as pictorial, but limiting ourselves to this quality would be insufficient, to say the least. She was influenced by Edward Hopper, which is apparent in her use of clean lines and dramatic shadows. The sky in White’s pieces is striking in its eternal depth, as it flows peacefully into the sea. The artist perceives her work as a spiritual and emotional expression. She works with a wide range of mediums (pastels, acrylic, and oils) to recreate a softened, dream-like representation of Macduff’s, Banff’s, Dorset’s and Newhaven’s coastlines. Her style is realistic, yet the presence of a certain quiet vulnerability surfaces, as the viewer observes the soft lines and floating color. The purple and blue hues intermingled in McNairn’s sky might invoke an allusion to Monet’s own saturated deep violet skies.

One especially interesting piece is “Shadow on the Sea at Newhaven Harbour”. The precision of shadows and light, the harmonious composition and color palettes, as well as the subject matter are all evocative of the stillness of nature, marked by the balanced delicacy of the artist’s inner world. There is a palpable feeling of wistful contemplation, apparent through this specific collection, which is brought about by the chosen topic, but above all, it is made possible due to the artist’s understanding and implementation of her craft.

 

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