This exhibition is a collection of oil paintings focusing mainly on the landscapes of Fermanagh and the West of Ireland opens on Friday 7th December at 8pm at the Higher Bridges Gallery in the Clinton Centre. The recurring themes are to do with the interlocking shapes, colours, textures and patterns of the land and water, as well as the effect of weather on them. Strong and vibrant colours predominate in much of the work, undoubtedly inspired by Alison’s interest in the Scottish Colourists. Other paintings are more reflective in tone.
Alison approaches her painting in a structured way, but once begun they are carried forward intuitively. In this way she maximises the creative possibilities by not limiting herself to preconceived outcomes. Using a reduced palette, bands of colour and pattern are simplified to create a level of abstraction, and the paintings are developed in layers. A variety of tools, including skewers and painting knives, are used to make marks in the paint, revealing the colours below, thus creating shifting dynamics within each piece.
About the artist
Alison was born in Enniskillen and grew up on a dairy farm in Springfield, three miles outside the town, where her parents still live. She now lives in Edinburgh with her husband and daughter.
Asked to explain her motivation behind her paintings of Fermanagh and the West, she said: “I feel very lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful county as Fermanagh. I have a strong attachment to the land, some of which I’m sure comes from a happy childhood growing up on the family farm. There’s also the strong sense of belonging that you get from growing up in a place like Fermanagh. Living away from ‘home’ has made me appreciate the beauty and the peacefulness of the landscape even more and I visit as often as I can to see family and friends, get out into the countryside as well as recharge my batteries.”
Alison’s interest in art developed at the Collegiate School in Enniskillen, under the then art teacher, Gordon Johnston. “Gordon was a great teacher,” she said. “He not only helped move our technical skills forward, but also took a genuine interest in us as individuals. He encouraged us to begin to think in a more artistic, outward-looking way.”
Alison has experimented with different media, including stone and photolithographic printmaking at the Edinburgh Printmakers’ studio, but has always been drawn back to oil painting. “I like the way that using oils gives you the opportunity to work and re-work the paintings, as well as the interesting effects you can achieve with texture. It’s an extremely therapeutic and satisfying medium to work with.”
Alison is delighted to be having this solo exhibition, ‘Breathing Space’, in her home town. She hopes that it will give people the opportunity to take a bit of ‘time out’ of their busy lives and that they will enjoy looking at the paintings as much as she has enjoyed creating them.
She is particularly grateful for the support and encouragement of her husband, Adam, as well as the help of her sister, Joanne, who lives locally.
Alison Dicksons exhibition will run from the 8th – 22nd December 2008. Opening on the 7th at 8pm. All work is for sale – a chance to get something unique for a loved one this Christmas. Further details from:
Arts Officer: Diane Henshaw
Fermanagh District Council
T: (028) 66325050