Dundee artist’s north Atlantic exhibition opens in Wild Space
'Transience' - a collection of artwork by Ellis O’Connor - shines a light on the dark north
The dramatic cliffs, raging seas and brooding skies of the north of Scotland, Iceland and Svalbard are the subject of a new exhibition in Highland Perthshire by a talented young Dundonian artist.
Ellis O’Connor – who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design last year with a Masters in Arts and Humanities – has already created an impressive portfolio of paintings inspired by several winter expeditions to some of the wildest places in Europe.
She spent five months as an artist-in-residence in Iceland last winter, mainly in the twilight world of the north coast, and three weeks in Svalbard (formerly known as Spitsbergen), the remote archipelago halfway between Norway and the North Pole.
In the summer of 2014, she spent a month-long residency circling the Shetland Isles on a 15-metre sailing boat. And she is currently back on Shetland, where she will spend the winter as artist-in-residence at Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.
“I’ve always been drawn to darker, stormier landscapes,” says Ellis. “In the depth of last winter, I was in the second most northerly settlement in Iceland and never saw the sun for three months.”
Dundee born and bred, Ellis became fascinated with the wild landscapes of the Atlantic coast as an 18-year old when she went on a road trip around the north west of Scotland.
“The landscape and geology blew me away,” she says. “I came to love hiking and camping out in the remote landscapes of Scotland and realised I could combine this with my art.”
As an artist, conservationist and keen mountain climber, Ellis’ aim is to address the issues of climate change and wild land. Her work tries to emphasise the sublimity, but also the fragility of these northern lands.
See her work at the Wild Space in Pitlochry until mid January 2017. Check out our Wild Space page for opening times during the festive season.