Open this week! The latest HAC exhibition by Ayrshire artist Gillian Park
Posted on 11 May 2022
The latest exhibition at the Harbour Arts Centre is a bold and colourful celebration of local artist Gillian Park and it debuts this week.
Opening its doors on Thursday 12 May, the exciting art exhibition will run at the Harbour Arts Centre until Saturday 25 June. Entry is free.
With a mantra of ‘living life in colour’, mixed-media artist Gillian is based in Craigie and she last showcased at the HAC in 2017 with a display of paintings inspired by her travels around the Hebridean and Western Isles.
Her latest exhibition ‘Driven to Abstraction’ however is something far different, as the paintings explore the artist’s creative response to her current pandemic portfolio of artworks created during lockdown and, the music she listened to keep her distracted during a time when we all had to stay at home.
Gillian comments: “Inspiration for this exhibition this time came from my own work. In a completely new (for me) approach, I’ve taken tiny fragments of my sketchbook work, discarded half-finished paintings and elements of paintings lying about my studio as the starting point for a brand-new series entirely of bigger, expressive pieces.
“Usually, I would take inspiration from my travels but due to Covid-19 and not being able to go far from home, I had to improvise. Surprisingly, my paintings themselves became my new source of inspiration as I was challenged with looking in instead of looking out.”
Working most creatively when immersed in sound, Gillian found music to be a helpful tool as she created the works for the new exhibition which features a bold and colourful display of both abstract and semi-abstract works.
She continues: “Twelve of the mini paintings on display were inspired through music. I listened to some of my favourite music and created my artistic response to what I was hearing and feeling in mixed media, then worked in the layering in between.”
“The soundtrack for these works was music by Scottish indie band, Cocteau Twins. I’ve named the paintings by the songs which inspired them. There are also a few paintings that were a direct response to bunches of flowers, namely a jug of daffodils and irises on my windowsill. I needed some more inspiration as I neared the end of creating ‘Driven to Abstraction’ and fresh flowers are always something I like to have around the home at this time of year.”
When asked of her unique creative approach, Gillian adds: “I work in layers – lots and lots of layers! Spray paint, inks, emulsion paint, acrylics are used first (usually) then oils on top. I also love a wee bit of metallic leaf here and there and I’ve discovered resin – so in the exhibition, the twelve tiny mixed media cameos are all shining like jewels under their resin coating.
“I have really tried to work intuitively in this body of work – reacting to what the painting needs. I like to listen to my painting then react. Experimentation is also a must! I will often take a painting outside, hose it down and see what happens next… the results can often be unexpected!
“If you come along to the exhibition there are a lot of floral pieces, a few coastal scenes and lots of revitalising turquoise! I really hope that people are surprised by the work and intrigued by the techniques I have used to create the new pieces. I want people to smile when they walk in to the HAC’s main gallery.
“I’m really looking forward to returning and would like to thank North Ayrshire Council’s Arts & Culture team for helping me to put on what will definitely be a joyful and colourful experience to remember for visitors to the Harbour Arts Centre.”
Rhona Arthur, North Ayrshire Head of Service (Connected Communities) commented: “We are delighted to welcome Gillian back to the HAC – North Ayrshire’s hub for arts and culture.
“The ‘Driven to Abstraction’ exhibition is a bright and vibrant example of the diverse artistic talent that we are lucky enough to have here in Ayrshire, right on our doorstep.
“It is fantastic to see how Gillian’s artistic expression has adapted and developed during the pandemic and the exhibition offers a fantastic meeting place for the fellow artists and local people she has supported online during the pandemic to come together for a colourful and creative celebration of her latest body of work.
“So why not support this fantastic local artist and take some time to pop on down to Irvine Harbourside and see these unique artworks for yourself up close?”
Entry is free. For more information, exhibition dates and opening times visit the HAC website: https://thehac.co.uk/exhibitions