Iceland Inspires Latest Exhibition By Peter Davis

by Alastair Hamilton -

The most recent work by Shetland artist, Peter Davis, explores new techniques in watercolour, with Iceland as inspiration.

Peter hails originally from north-east England and, after taking an art and design course, he taught for some years in Cumbria. In 1981, he moved to Orkney, set up his own gallery and began to exhibit all over Britain. Ten years later, he moved again, this time to Shetland, where he continued to teach, paint and exhibit. For two years, he also worked with Voluntary Service Overseas as a teacher trainer in West Africa.

Now retired from teaching, he continues to paint and received two Visual Arts Awards from Shetland Arts to help him develop his work and, particularly, his interest in hand-made paint.

Peter’s latest exhibition, entitled Elemental, occupies the main space at Bonhoga Gallery in Weisdale. The work is a response to Iceland and his interest in developing the medium of watercolour is immediately apparent. Mostly large works, the paintings have a crispness and clarity of tone and a striking transparency.

His experiments include the use of ice, frozen paint and salt, along with an airbrush and a scrubbing brush; but these are only a means to an end and the paintings are simply stunning evocations of the Icelandic landscape.

Peter explains: “I am fascinated by the tension between representation and abstraction, and the ambiguity of scale and image within this subject matter. The effects of watercolour can mirror the effects found in the environment. Angle of paper, quality and quantity of water and pigment, size of brush, drying time and temperature are all variables that affect the final outcome”.

The effects of watercolour can mirror the effects found in the environment.

You can see more of the paintings in the exhibition, and many other examples of Peter Davis’ work, on his own website.

The exhibition at Bonhoga runs until 11 September and you can also see other work on display in the lower gallery. Paul Bloomer is showing a collection of around 90 ink drawings derived from his project to create two drawings every day, inspired both by Shetland and world events. In the Craft Cabinet, work by textile artist Niela Nell Kalra explores the meaning and use of line. The ideas for her latest knitwear collection come partly from the Shetland landscape that is her adopted home and partly from her heritage: the Partition of India in 1947 resulted in the separation of her Indian father’s family from their own homeland.

A trip to Bonhoga is never complete, of course, without a leisurely half-hour or so in the conservatory café, which serves teas, coffees, snacks and some particularly delicious cakes. And there’s always the possibility that the local otter or heron will put in an appearance.

...there’s always the possibility that the local otter or heron will put in an appearance...

Posted in: Creative Scene