Spirit of Place: Rhod Evans

Pitlochry’s Wild Space hosts exhibition by acclaimed island artist

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Rhod Evans has looked after some of the most remote islands on the world. He once managed the island of Aride in the Seychelles for the Royal Society for Nature Conservation, and has also worked as a warden on St Kilda and Rum. Today he lives on the tiny tidal island of Grimsay, off the coast of North Uist.

Rhod is also an accomplished artist, who depicts his beloved island landscapes - and the spectacular skies above them - in vivid, expressionist colour.

He has returned to the John Muir Trust’s Wild Space visitor centre and gallery with his latest collection of paintings – Spirit of Place - which focuses on the wild areas of Britain.

“My paintings do not always represent specific places, but are often my impressions gathered during walks with sketchbook and pencil through the heather and deer grass to remote hills and crags; and along windswept coasts to lonely rocky headlands and the vast sandy bays of the west,” he says

Though bordering on the abstract, Rhod’s work is grounded in the reality of organic forms.  “I strive to evoke a sense of the remoteness or wildness of a place in the viewer. I like to produce paintings that are bold and atmospheric – not literal depictions, but that reflect my response to the landscape, seas and skies of the wild places of the British Isles.”

Entirely self-taught, Rhod has been fascinated by watercolour for half a century and has spent decades sketching, exploring and experimenting with the medium. He now paints mainly in acrylic on either canvas or board, but his work retains much of the textured experimental approach seen in his earlier work.

“One of the pleasures of working this way is the surprises that it produces - every time I paint there is still a delicious element of chance which makes every painting an exciting adventure.

“It is up to others to decide whether my paintings succeed in evoking what D.H. Lawrence called ‘spirit of place’ – perhaps a memory of an experience you’ve had, somewhere you once stood, somewhere you would like to be, or even a dream that you recall.”

Rhod Evans Spirit of Place exhibition 2018 2