The Barony Centre, West Kilbride.
August 2019

Exploring The Liminal

As the title suggests, a common theme of the works in this exhibition, is one of seeking beauty in the mundane in times and places of transition, something that seems to have been a fascination of mine for many years.

For the exhibition at Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh in 2018, there were two main bodies of work – “In The Broken Places”, which is a response to my heart attack, and some selected pieces from my various Transitional Spaces series, including a number from “In Praise Of Shadows”

Then, for the recent exhibition at The Barony Art Centre, West Kilbride a further project was included – Unfinished Business, a work in progress that started as one thing and then became something else as it began to deal with memory, truth and loss.

Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh.
September 2018

In The Broken Places

Last image before my heart attack
Tranistional Space #8099
I was being told to be quiet, I hadn't realised the awful moaning was coming from me

In Praise Of Shadows

and works from other series

“Were it not for shadows,

there would be no beauty.”   

Junichiro Tanizaki. In Praise Of Shadows. 1933

I find myself drawn to the interaction of natural light and shadow on the geometric shapes found in interiors and in particular, the transitional spaces of buildings where art is displayed or made.  

By their very nature, these spaces aren’t destinations, they are for passing through and yet, they are often the only place in these buildings where natural light is allowed to enter unhindered by shades or baffles. The subtle abstracts created by this slowly moving light and shadow are of course, also transient, sometimes only lasting seconds before a cloud dims the sun, or a shadow moves enough to break an alignment I have been waiting for.

In his book, In Praise Of Shadows, Tanizaki argued, that the simple interiors of traditional Japanese buildings, the objects within and the clothes worn, depend on shadow for their beauty. 

Perhaps this is also true of these liminal spaces and is why I find myself pushing these images of usually well lit corridors, stairs and other between spaces, ever darker and yet still find, that even the brightest, simplest image can speak to me, if there is shadow.

Unfinished Business

This series of abstracts began as a response to the idea of Calvino’s foreign, unpossessed place. I wondered where and how one could be discovered and what would be found if it was.  

What I didn’t expect, was that for me, it would raise questions of memory, truth, loss and a lot of unfinished business…

Created with light on distorted transparent, solid and reflective surfaces these abstract landscapes are fleeting, seen and then gone, impossible to possess.

Unpossessed Places

Unfinished Business - Chapter One

“The foreignness of what you no longer are
or no longer possess
lies in wait for you
in foreign, unpossessed places.”

Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities


Unfinished Business - Chapter Two

Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh. March 2019

While working on the Unpossessed Places images, making tiny movements of the camera and seeing entirely new landscapes appear, I was reminded of dreams I had as a child of flying high over unknown places and how they once held hope of escape. These thoughts dragged me back to my hanging as a two year old and the repercussions of survival. And as I struggled again to make sense of what has passed, I realised, I am an unreliable witness.

I wondered about memory and truth. How memory, like the lens, edits and distorts. And, how with each recounting, it’s rewritten, reordered and corrupted in subtle imperceivable ways, till each element may itself be true, but the truth of the whole has gone. Just how accurate must a truth be, to still be considered true? And where can it be found, if words, memory, photographs and even our eyes can lie, be manipulated, or misinterpreted.

What of my past do I know that is indisputably true?

I will never know what actually happened to me as a child, nor what has been embellished, or imagined. The effect however, has been very real. Perhaps that is my truth.

And so I wonder, if I met my younger self in Calvino’s foreign place, would I recognise the stories he shared, could he forgive how much has been lost.

This project started as one thing and is perhaps becoming another, but what is certain – it isn’t finished…


@ Exploring The Liminal Patriothall, Edinburgh

There are very few opportunities in Scotland for photographers to meet and speak about their work and so I decided to make the most of having access to this wonderful space and invited others to speak and host a Shutter Hub meet up. I would like to thank the other speakers, Adam Fowler, Ilisa Stack, Christi MacPherson, Kathryn Polley and Douglas May and all those who attended. I would also like to thank Anneleen Lindsay who took the photos of the Sunday event.

Talks photos by Anneleen Lindsay

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