Dawson Murray, RSW, RGI – Sugar-lift Etchings

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‘My work has always been about light. For many years now I have tended to work from that area in gardens which falls between full light and deep shade, the zone of dappled shade where forms are at their most mysterious and ambiguous, changing and varying in the flickering light’. Recent Solo Shows: 2011 Sugar-lift Etchings, Compass Gallery, Glasgow 2008 Garden Etchings, DCA, Dundee 2006 Pittenweem Arts Festival, Invited Artist. 1999 Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow. 1997 Nancy Smillie Gallery, Glasgow. 1990 Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh. Collections include: McManus Galleries Dundee, Lillie Art Gallery, Milngavie, Dumbarton Burgh Council, BBC Scotland, Scottish Arts Council, Buchanan Galleries Glasgow. Dawson Murray has been a regular exhibitor with Compass Gallery throughout his career, participating in numerous mixed exhibitions and Christmas shows, and London Contemporary Art Fairs.

Dawson Murray’s Garden of Memory - "A highly accomplished printer-maker and water-colourist, Dawson Murray has personalised the ‘sugar-lift’ technique which allows him to combine elements of both. He applies the unlikely combination of syrup and gouache to a wet metal plate which is then covered with an acid resistant varnish. The plate is then immersed in hot water causing the sugar solution to expand and break through the varnish. By such a process he painstakingly creates imagery which is then inked and printed, although the plate is reworked many times to achieve the desired result. Chance elements created by capillary action on the plate mimic the poetic fluidity and randomness usually only achieved by the water-colourist. Discussing this, Dawson has said: “I have reinterpreted a traditional technique in a way that allows me to encounter and grapple with the qualities I was used to coping with when painting a large water-colour. The volatility of the interaction of paper, water and pigment and the vigilance required to control these factors create quite an adrenaline rush!” Although each work here has taken many weeks, months – and sometimes years – to prepare, the genesis of this remarkable garden-based imagery with its deep, mysterious blues and greens extends even further back into the artist’s psyche. The distinctive chevron motifs found in ‘Silent Garden Edge,’ for example, recall a day nearly two decades ago when, in his garden, stark, clear shadows from a chestnut-stake fence fell across a pile of freshly cut logs. A moment in time and a fragment of memory have thus been re-captured using a combination of suggestive, resonant motifs. In spite of a debilitating and worsening disability Dawson Murray, against all the odds, carries on making art which continues to evolve, deepen, mature and grow. Dawson’s perseverance, ingenuity – and the total dedication of his wife Liz in enabling him to achieve this – are truly humbling". Giles Sutherland, February 2011 • Giles Sutherland writes on the visual arts for The Times