Highland landscape makes big impression on printmaking student

A Fort William art student has taken inspiration from the landscape where she grew up to produce a series of work for her final year show.

Gillian Ness (21), who is currently studying Printmaking at Gray’s School of Art, has seen her work go on display to the public as part of the School’s annual Degree Show which runs until June 28.

The former Lochaber High School pupil spent a week alone in the solitary environment of the north west highlands in preparation for her final year at the art school, during which she gathered research for her degree portfolio.

Gillian, who works mainly with printmaking techniques such as etching and lithography, said: “My portfolio of work is all based on a solitary journey. Growing up in Fort William has given me a profound connection to landscape, specifically the mountains and lochs that dominated my upbringing and have therefore translated directly into my work.

“Without distraction I discovered a heightened awareness of all my actions, most noticeably my breathing. This awareness of a usually subconscious act, and its changes throughout each emotional state, intrigued me.”

Connecting that awareness with her love of landscape became the basis of Gillian’s work over the past year.

She said: “I started to make breathing, something that is usually invisible, a visible thing that could be seen within the artwork. I wanted to create work that highlighted the experience of my journey and showed that being immersed in one’s subject hugely influences the work that is produced. During my journey I made connections with each element of nature: water, land, air, fire. These four elements became a structure which I have built my work around.”

Gillian, who plans to move back to highlands after graduating in July, added: “The past four years at Gray’s School of Art have been indispensable and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I have learnt a huge range of skills and I have so many unforgettable memories.”

Gillian’s work is currently on display at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, until June 28 as part of the annual Degree Show exhibition, which has been sponsored by BP for the eleventh year.

Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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