In Jane Hunter’s 2018 show at Tighnabruaich Gallery, “Hush”, she explored the Cowal Peninsula for the first time and responded to this place through a body of quiet, textile works. Four years on from her first visit, Jane questions what it is that pulls her towards these tranquil, unassuming, west coast places time and again.
Upon taking over the Gallery in 2017, Jane Hunter was the first artist whom I contacted after discovering her on Instagram. I vividly remember meeting her at her old studio in West Kilbride. I was instantly struck by her down-to-earth nature, sense of humour, organization and absolute dedication and commitment to her work. Since then my relationship with Jane has grown hand in hand with my development as a Gallery owner. Inevitably Jane’s practice has also evolved and grown throughout that time. We have exchanged advice, shared highs and lows, laughs and, occasionally, tears. In this respect I feel that Jane and I have formed an important connection, our stories interconnected. For all these reasons I am thrilled to host ‘Undertow’, Jane’s second solo show in the Gallery.
I hugely admire Jane. She consistently challenges herself, pushing the boundaries of her practice, developing and growing as an artist. When it would be safe to continue along a set path, she dares herself to break new ground. Jane’s work is always complex and thought provoking, grounded in research and executed with artistic integrity. I connect with the aesthetic of her collections of paintings, their composition, balance and harmony, their colour, shades, shadows and marks. Jane’s creative process is one of experimentation, an exploration of materials, a journey of discovery and learning. Yet, whilst her work encapsulates all that I admire and love about the formal elements of art, conjuring a visceral reaction, they encompass a duality. They encourage reflection and quiet contemplation, they question and probe. Jane’s paintings are an insight into her evolving relationship with the world around her and, as such, they engender within the viewer a sense of empathy and connection.
1. the seaward undercurrent created after waves have broken on the shore
2. an implicit quality, emotion, or influence underlying the superficial aspects of something and leaving a particular impression.
“Following on from my exploration of the physical landscape in Hush, in this work I question why I feel so drawn to this area. What is it that pulls me in?
I have many, perhaps opposing, desires when it comes to place - the urge to explore and break new ground, alongside the desire to root, to understand a place and to belong. Throughout the course of making this work I’ve been thinking about the shift in how these desires are prioritised in my life, since I first visited the Tighnabruaich area.
Moving pools of fluid paint around the canvas, I considered the ebb and flow of the sheltered waters. How this shelter feels when swimming in the bay or hugging the coastline in a canoe. I remember walking on the shore, the sun sinking beneath the horizon, and trace the journey in pattern and marks through the shifting hues. I realise that the desire to immerse myself in a place, to root and belong, is far stronger than my need to blaze a new trail. This place and the warm embrace of it’s community sparked a change in me, or maybe it simply found and nurtured apart of me that was always there.
These paintings explore the comforting, the peaceful and gentle, relationships to reassuring landscapes and to welcoming communities.”
Jane Hunter 2021