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Arts / Local artists showcased in Scottish Gallery’s Northern Isles exhibition

Peter Davis' 'Dwarg', created in 2021.

PEOPLE have a few days left to check out an exhibition at a prestigious Edinburgh gallery dedicated to Northern Isles artwork.

Ruth Brownlee, Peter Davis and Ron Sandford, who are all Shetland based, have work on show at the Scottish Gallery.

The exhibition, which also features Orcadian artists, is running between 3 and 26 November.

The exhibition “brings together artists past and present to celebrate the special atmosphere of Orkney and Shetland”, its organisers said.

The Scottish Gallery, on Edinburgh’s Dundas Street, has been on the go since 1842.

Painter Brownlee said she believed it was the first exhibition purely of Orkney and Shetland artists in Edinburgh.

“It’s brilliant exposure getting this recognition,” she said.

“Ever since I was an art student at Edinburgh College of Art, I’ve wished to show in The Scottish Gallery as they are the most established, leading independent gallery in Scotland and represent a number of the most important Scottish artists.”

Brownlee said her three paintings in this show, are “as always”, recent responses to the visual drama of constant changing elements of wild Shetland.

Meanwhile Davis – known for his watercolour painting – has history with both of the Northern Isles, having taught art and design in Orkney during the 1980s before moving to Shetland in 1991.

He carried on teaching until 2013, turning his focus full-time to painting.

Davis’ exhibition pieces are all inspired by the sea and weather.

“I was living in Weisdale, and I moved three years ago over to Silwick,” he said.

“And now I have an unbroken view of the sea in all weathers. When you’ve got that everyday, it’s bound to leave an impression on you.”

When asked about Shetland and Orkney artists getting their own exhibition at the Scottish Gallery, Davis said: “You feel on the edge, on the extremities. And logistically it’s also quite tricky getting our work down south. It’s not like you can just get in your car and drive to a gallery.

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“We’ve always had our challenges up here, so it’s good to have a major private gallery, one of the most important galleries in Edinburgh, taking on the Northern Isles. It’s great to see.”

Meanwhile Sandford has three pieces in the exhibition, all depicting the island of Yell.

A keen drawer, he studied at the Glasgow School of Art before moving to London to teach at the Central School of Art and the Royal College of Art. In 2002, Ron moved to Yell in Shetland.

A blurb for the exhibition added: “Ron draws anything and everything and his work is a fusion between architectural precision and the free spirit of mark making that he has absorbed from the great tradition of Asian art.”

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