Issue 214
August/September/October 2020

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Sep 20, 2020

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Two show at Fidra…

DESPITE the difficulties faced by the arts community in recent months, many smaller private galleries have continued during the lockdown to showcase and sell artwork online. Fidra Fine Art in Gullane is one such gallery that has remained active throughout.

Ann Cowan in Dunbar

The gallery recently re-opened its mixed summer exhibition with limited hours and social distancing measures in place so work could once more be seen up close. A joint exhibition of work by Fife-based Dominique Cameron and Ann Cowan, who lives in Edinburgh, is set to open there on August 22.

'Moor' and 'Dunbar Sketchbooks', will reveal two contrasting but complementary bodies of work completed over the course of 2019 and early 2020.

For 'Moor', Cameron made repeated visits to the expansive wilderness of Rannoch Moor. In creating 'Dunbar Sketchbooks', Cowan explored the streets and harbour area of the coastal town of Dunbar in East Lothian. Although not the intention of either artist, both bodies of work are devoid of human figures. Almost without trying, Cameron and Cowan have portrayed their own versions of a slowed-down world.

Fidra owner, Alan Rae, says: "I've been a fan of both artists' work for a long time and was really excited to see what they both came up with for this joint exhibition."

Cameron, who started her working life as a photographer, had never visited Rannoch Moor before her first visit in 2019.

Dominique Cameron on the Moor © Gary Boak

Rae says of her work: "Dominique's loose expressive drawings of the panoramic nature of the moor perfectly capture its vast emptiness and eternal exposure to the harshness of the elements. In contrast, her richly-coloured, thickly impastoed oils drill deep into the essence of the moor; like being served up with an organic slice of bog pie which has been centuries in the making."

Cameron adds: "This project began with the question; how can you paint emptiness? I chose Rannoch Moor because it is vast; fifty square miles of bog land, surrounded by hills. The weather is fickle. You can witness cloud, rain, sun and snow in one day at any time of the year with little warning. The plan was to try to understand at least a little of what this place is – its silence and anxiety tinged beauty."

Ann Cowan, the daughter of an architect and an artist, found that her eye was naturally drawn to the architecture and streets in and around Dunbar.

Rae says: "Ann's loose and expressive drawing, sometimes supported by textural patches of collage, combines with an organic palette enlivened with flashes of blue, yellow and the rich red of the local East Lothian sandstone. Painted in a spontaneous sketchbook style, the result is a broad and tender portrait of a much loved town."

Cowan, who gave up a career in law to become a full-time artist, grew up in The Borders and Dunbar is an area she has known for many years. She explains: "The town has a wealth of beautiful old red sandstone buildings with interesting architectural details. Orange pantiles form wonderful roofscapes. The industrial outskirts are grittier, but just as interesting in terms of composition. The harbour is a constant source of inspiration with its fishing boats and lobster creels."

Both artists have produced books covering each body of work. There are available now directly from the artists or from the gallery. Dominique Cameron collaborated with the poet Mark Goodwin for her book, M o o r, which includes Mark's words inspired by Dominique's paintings.

Fidra Fine Art, which started life in a domestic setting in North Berwick, recently moved to new premises on Main Street in Gullane.

Dominique Camerons 'Moor' and Ann Cowan's 'Dunbar Sketchbooks', August 22 - September 20,Fidra Fine Art, Main Street, Gullane, East Lothian EH31 2A. 01620 249389



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An extensive new preface by the Ross Herald of Arms, Charles Bunnett, Chamberlain of Duff House