Duncan Shanks has lived in Crossford in the Clyde Valley for 60 years. The river which flows past the bottom of his house and garden is a constant presence in his life. The water lapping the tangled bank is an ever-present soundtrack in his environment. For Shanks the studio and garden are intrinsically one. Works will be started in the garden in a sketchbook, before being reprised: sampled, left, repainted, discarded then rediscovered and resolved. The journey of a painting echoing the life of the garden, which is cultivated, but then left to follow its own untamed path.
Previous exhibitions have focused on the drama of the landscape and the balance between structure and chaos, like the greenhouse series in his show Drawing the Year in 2013. The Riverbank - A Landscape of Sorrow and Hope at The Scottish Gallery, his thirteenth exhibition at the Gallery, illuminates his little corner of the Clyde Valley with all the magnificence and drama of a grand vista. It is the act of looking which is the driving force behind his art; by observing the garden and river every day, moments can be witnessed that he will have never seen before.
Shanks is constantly pushing his painting forward in a search for new ways to share his experience of the natural world. The surface of the painting is important, and he will vary his application of the paint to translate the texture of his experience. Using water-based medium there is no clear distinction between drawing and painting, the struggle towards resolution dictating the depth of layers and energy in the brushstrokes.
Sundays and Mondays closed
The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ
Thu 28 Jul 22