Gregor Smith RSW: A Sense of Place

31-08-2023 - 23-09-2023

" ‘A Sense of Place’ suggested itself as a title for this exhibition as thematic references and locations became clearer. During the past two years or so, visits to certain areas of Scotland reaped visual rewards recorded in sketchbooks. Off-shore islands, sounds and bays, natural structures, seasonal weather and the play of light and dark combined to form my responses. Selecting which information to pursue determines the medium employed: watercolour for its transparency and flow, oils for modelling and developing surfaces and print for offering extraordinary avenues for development.

Winter weather is preferable regardless of location. The light may be clearer so the response can display more observed accuracy, while above, our skies reflect precipitation and turbulence. Our physical world appears distressed, and then vanishes, only to re-appear, changed.

Some work is site-specific, re-visited as in ‘Red Head, Eday’, ‘Hoy’ or ‘The Lynn of Lorne’, or ‘Pompeii’. Some recent, as in ‘Circumnavigating Arran’ and ‘Brief Glimpses of Interest’. There are obvious influences, but influences vary and not all be visual. Sailing the Norwegian coast from Kirkenes to Bergen and visiting Oslo several years ago set in motion an interest in Norwegian painting as well as the changeable natural environment.

William Daniell RA, active on Scotland’s coasts around 1815, is a source of admiration. In particular his work in the North, for example ‘East Duncansby Head’. Nordic composers appear as kindred spirits whose work reflects the natural world through evocative soundscapes, rich in texture, atmosphere and dissonance- ‘Metacosmos’ by Icelandic composer Anna Thorvalds Dottir and ‘Cantus Arcticus’ by the late Finnish composer Rautavaara being examples."
Gregor Smith RSW 2023

This will be Gregor Smith’s sixth solo exhibition with Compass Gallery. The work reflects Gregor’s deep rooted quiet passion for the landscape around him and his superb mastery as an artist. He has continued his travels drawing inspiration from his beloved home country of Scotland and visits to European countries- off-shore islands, sounds and bays, natural structures, seasonal weather and the play of light and dark are all reflected in his strong, evocative watercolours, oils and etchings. Most of the work for the exhibition was created during the past three challenging years.

Gregor Smith studied Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art and graduated in 1966, following which he won post-graduate and travelling scholarships. His first of several solo shows in Compass Gallery was held in 1977 and he was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1983. He is a Member of Glasgow Print Studio and has been a Featured Artist in 2014 and 2018.

He has shown in numerous solo and mixed exhibitions, won several awards and his work is held in extensive public and private collections. Selected exhibitions include: Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2011, 2018, 2022; Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition; Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour; Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, London; Scottish Arts Council, Edinburgh; Paisley Art Institute; Perth Art Gallery; Compass Gallery solo exhibitions in 1977, 1997, 2008, 2016, 2020, 2023. Gregor is a Selected Artist in the forthcoming Scottish Landscape Awards Exhibition, Edinburgh (November 2023-March 2024). Recent awards include the W Gordon Smith and Mrs Jay Gordon Smith Award, RSW Annual Exhibition 2019; RSW Prize for Watercolour to mark the 70th Birthday of the Patron, Prince and now King Charles III, 2018.