Those familiar with Laura’s work will see a more conscious approach to her characteristic mark making – a bolder, deliberate formalisation and layering that provides the work with strong spatial qualities, often present in the drawings and two-dimensional work of sculptors. – Carol Dunbar
EXHIBITION Skein, Custom House, Kirkwall, Orkney 2014
Bendigo (1 of 9)
Review of Tooin published in the Orcadian newspaper. Carol Dunbar.
It is two years since Laura Drever last exhibited her work in Orkney. This latest exhibition – Skein – on display at Custom House in Kirkwall, affirms her reputation not only as a skilled landscape painter but firmly establishes her place as part of the younger generation of artists following in the strong tradition of Orkney landscape painting.
Laura’s is not the conventional approach to landscape – she gathers her material through walks – she ‘experiences’ the landscape, sketching and noting the many changes in physical terrain as well as the pattern of weather, colour, and birds in flight – all this she gathers back in her studio where she reflects, reworks and reassembles. This working practice echoes the methods that Sylvia Wishart employed, she too, sketched and gathered material from her extensive experience and knowledge of the Orkney landscape, before reconstructing these on paper or canvas back in her almost windowless studio.
The elegant gallery spaces of Custom House glow with Laura’s very particular palette, which is both muted and intense, the walls zinging with movement, subtlety and nuance.
Those familiar with Laura’s work will see a more conscious approach to her characteristic mark making – a bolder, deliberate formalisation and layering that provides the work with strong spatial qualities, often present in the drawings and two-dimensional work of sculptors. This is most evident in leyni, ernie and geo and the nine works in the series entitled bendigo – there is an unconscious reference to the dreamtime artwork of Australian aboriginal artists – Laura has deliberately (and ambiguously) named the series after both a local farm and a town in Victoria, Australia.
Laura’s real passion is to work on a large scale, and in this exhibition she presents several groups of smaller works alongside two large paintings, that maintain that sense of scale, the bendigo series mentioned above and the skein series are particular highlights.
Anyone familiar with the poems that Hugh MacDiarmid wrote for the portfolio of lithographs by William Johnstone, entitled Ode to the North Wind, will recognise the parallels with this exhibition. Both the artist and the poet’s understanding and perception of the landscape – ‘our task is not to reproduce nature, But to create and enrich it’ – are resonances captured and deeply rooted in Laura Drever’s paintings and drawings. (CD)