islandness

islandness

Vivian Ross-Smith + Jane Walker

September 16- October 11, 2017
Curated by Penelope Smart

Vivian Ross-Smith (detail) ‘Fishing Hands’ 2016. Preserved haddock skins with hand stitching. 28 x 40 cm

This multidimensional programming project seeks to engage in dialogues about art, islandness and contemporary rurality in the Shetland Islands and in Newfoundland. Continuing upon conversations had throughout Land of Mirrors, Walker and Ross-Smith will exhibit works using traditional processes and adapted materials to allow gateways to arts engagement that extend beyond the contemporary art community in St. John’s. The exhibition will feature works and engagement relating to northern island culture involving alternative rug hooking and textiles, fish skin preservation and food preparation.

Vivian Ross-Smith, Korpo Net, 2016. handcast bronze with natural patina from the Baltic Sea. 22 x 22 cm (held in private collection)

Vivian Ross-Smith (b. Edinburgh, Scotland) is a visual artist living and working in the Shetland Islands. As a child Ross-Smith and her family relocated to Britain’s most remote inhabited island, Fair Isle, a place that greatly influences her artistic practice. Ross-Smith holds a BA (Hons) in Painting from Gray’s School of Art (2013), with her degree being partly awarded by Turku Arts Academy, Finland. Ross-Smith’s process-based practice spans painting, textile and sculpture. With a focus on traditional skills such as preserving fish skins, net making, knitting and metal work, she embeds stories and traditions of island life into the materials and imagery of her works.

Ross-Smith has participated in exhibitions and residencies across Scotland and internationally, and has received grants and awards from Shetland Arts and Creative Scotland. She works closely with rural arts organisations such as Scottish Sculpture Workshop, and co-founded and runs Visual Artist Unit, an artist-led organisation based in Glasgow that supports emerging artists across Scotland. Ross-Smith currently lectures at University of the Highlands and Islands, Shetland College.

Jane Walker, Rug II (found seaweed hooked on found net), 2016, 35 mm film photograph of site-specific rug hooking installation on Isle of Eigg

Jane Walker (b. St. John’s NL) is an artist and researcher based in Bonavista, NL.  She holds a BFA in Visual Arts from Memorial University (2015) and a Masters of Research with Distinction from The Glasgow School of Art (2016). Within her practice, Walker investigates place-based knowledge(s) and languages. Her rug hooking work engages traditional skills, materiality, site-specificity, and emotional labour in relation to textile practices in northern island and rural regions. Her research focuses on contemporary art access and engagement in rural areas of Scotland and Newfoundland.

Walker has presented her work and lead workshops in Callan, Ireland, and on the Isle of Eigg, UK. She has participated in exhibitions in the UK, Ireland, and Canada. Upcoming exhibitions of her work include islandness, a collaborative project that bridges Newfoundland and the Shetland Islands through dialogues about art, islandness, and contemporary rurality (Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s NL) and Main Lands and Long Winters (The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s NL).