Art in Focus: Angela Gilmour – Dansoy
View from the Arctic, an otherworldly landscape of amazing beauty
Dansoy, oil on wood, Angela Gilmour
What is it? Dansoy is an oil painting by Angela Gilmour.
How was it done? While it addresses the drastic changes occurring in the environment, Gilmour’s is not an art of protest per se. Rather, cool, dispassionate observation is her method, here working with oil paint on wood, and providing a straightforward documentation of the realities, drawing on photographic sources. Dansoy, and the body of work of which it is part, stems from a visit to the Arctic. During the past summer, Gilmour spent three weeks in the waters of the Svalbard archipelago, a mere 10 degrees latitude south of the North Pole, aboard a three-masted barquentine tall ship. With daily treks on land. She was one of a group of 30 artists and scientists on the trip, part of the Arctic Circle Summer Solstice Expedition. They encountered unnaturally fine weather and retreating glaciers.
Where can I see it? It is on view as part of Gilmour’s exhibition, Arctica: The last fragments (Studio 12, Backwater Artists Group, Wandesford Quay, Cork, until November 29th, angelagilmour.com).
Is it a typical work by the artist? It is typical. Perhaps Gilmour’s scientific experience has been instrumental in shaping the taste for careful, meticulous observation and investigation that she brings to all her projects. As they say in the rebel county, she wasn’t actually born in Cork, but she got there as soon as she could. Scottish by birth with strong Irish family connections (especially Donegal), she qualified as a physicist before arriving in Cork, via a spell in Limerick, where she studied fine art at the Crawford College of Art and Design, and won the student of the year accolade on graduation. Her paintings in Arctica: The Last Fragments document an otherworldly landscape of amazing beauty, though with the uneasy awareness that it is coming apart at the seams. Since her graduation in 2015 she has been drawn to wild, natural spaces under threat and reflecting the processes of climate change, and to shorelines in general, including shoreline locations as emblematic of the human interaction with the natural world. Her series of etchings, The New State, consists of a group of spectacular views of the coast along the Wild Atlantic Way, shown as environments under threat. She has worked very fruitfully with etching, and photography, as well as painting. Her work is included in the exhibition Mouth of a Shark (with Fiona Kelly, David Lilburn and Anna York at Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle Mills, 1 Dundee St, Edinburgh, Scotland, until January 10th).