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This exhibition brings together a group of artists working across different forms of drawing in response to Scottish plants, land and rocks.

FREE LUNCHTIME EXHIBITION TOURS: 25 / 26 / 28 / 30 August & 1 September from 1 - 1:30pm 

Come join a member of the Circus team for a 30 minute walking tour of the exhibition.

LAURA DONKERS is an environmental artist, based in North Uist, developing co-created art engagements through working with the embodied knowledge of communities. She is a PhD candiate at the University of Dundee, her interdisciplinary practice conducts place-based research that responds to the environment and the communities who dwell there. She undertakes research and practice by acting in spaces of the everyday, negotiating the personal, social and political realm of the individual and the collective — in place. From this situated position, her slow method of understanding people, place and environment intersects with environmental attitudes, activism and policy to create poetic insights on nature, culture and ethics. Co-creation implies that both human and non-human participants are active in the unfolding process of creating and gathering evidence that reveals interdependent, multispecies knowledges. To understand this better, she employs the practise of frottage, using pastel or graphite in a rubbing motion on thin paper, laid against a surface. The paper conceals, and the medium reveals the texture of the surface beneath. Through the specific intra-action of these objects, including her fingers holding the pastel and the paper, together with the gentle pressure exerted on them, the drawing emerges from, rather than leads (as in a visualisation) the intra-action that fashioned it. Apparitions, pastel, charcoal and graphite on Japanese gampi paper (610x450mm) Path Drawing 2019, graphite on Mulberry Paper roll (1500x100mm) 


SUZIE EGGINS is from Edinburgh and studied Fine Art with Moray School of Art UHI. She was selected to exhibit in the RSA New Contemporaries 2019 and has been Artist in Residence at the Moray Art Centre, as well as taken part in the Hospitalfield Graduate Residency and Embassy Gallery's Gradjob programme. She is also a founder member of Circus Artspace artist-led gallery in Inverness. Suzie's work includes drawing, printmaking and sculpture with an interest in abstraction and environment. She is moved by the tension that exists between nature and the modern civilised world and aims to find ways to negotiate and communicate these parallel realities. In this new series of drawings Safe in the open (2019), Suzie responds to the flora and fauna growing within a 3 metre radius of her Inverness home. Concentrating on her immediate environment, she returns to simple methods and means to examine the plant life there. Researching the native wild flowers (gowan) she found, Suzie discovered a Scots saying that to ''hae the gowan under yer feet'' means to be safe in the open. A beautiful sentiment, this became the title of the work. Working with a knowledge of sacred geometry and mandalas, Suzie aims to create her own abstract expression of the inner nature of the plants. This is a slow, meditative, local, low impact practice. These methods reflect an overall process of simplification that she finds necessary for survival in an increasingly complex world. 


KAREN MAXTED grew up in Glasgow and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. She was the recipient of the Katherine Michaelson Prize (2018) and lives in Troon, Ayrshire. She has works in collections with the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian. Karen is interested in mark marking - accidental or purposeful, her marks or the marks of others. These are found in various places – plant studies, doodles, paint splashes on a studio floor, or in in pre-existing art work. The marks are appropriated and catalogued and Karen then plays with scale, colour and colour inversion and then collated to create drafts for works that can range from the very abstract to the surreal. There is a suggestion of an incomprehensible narrative, mise-en-scene and otherworldliness. Fictitious shapes and animals appear somehow familiar, and Karen enjoys using anthropomorphic transformation and playing with the human desire to find recognisable forms in a painting. For this exhibition we wanted to share some of Karen’s process from sketchbook studies her work starts as drawings, she then produces draft collages on tracing paper. The final work manifests itself in ‘expanded collage’ including painting on linen as well as collections of individual metal or wooden shapes. Works: Series of 11 powder-coated plasmacut steel, draft expanded collage & sketchbook.


“There’s a whole country at the foot of the stone If you care to look.

These are the stones we have instead of trees In the North.” (Margaret Tait, The Scale of Things) 

Driven by imagination, sentiment, and archaeological speculations, Emily’s work is concerned with the subtle intimacies woven between human and nature. Working primarily with gathered natural materials and experimental archaeological crafts, she is interested in the social and cultural histories, mythologies, and mysteries of the landscapes from which these materials are gleaned. Through these modes of inquiry she attempt to tentatively unravel understandings of a tender and primal kinship with once sacred landscapes, working across sculpture, drawing, print, writing and performance. 


Stone Dream Series, 25 drawings, pencil on paper in museum archival slips - developed through an interest in uncovering the subtleties, intimacies and ambiguities in the natural landscape, and focuses specifically on megalithic traditions and the quality of objects which are “eard-fast”, fixed/rooted/suspended in the ground. These ancient objects are then personified as sentient beings capable of tender, kindred attachments - ranging between natural simulacra and artificial structures, they act as stopping places for the sacred and supernatural, materialising in dreams as the bones of mother earth.


KEITH MCINTYRE studied at DJCAD, Dundee and is a Professor of Fine Art at the UHI. He lives and works between Newcastle and the Isle of Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Keith has shown internationally and has extensive experience as an art director on a number of theatre/performance and film projects. 

Moladh - Eulogising Stone series of large scale pen drawings - in Scots Gaelic the word ‘Moladh’ translates as ‘in praise of...” and is usually used to prefix the name of a place or person that is the subject of a eulogy or celebration. In his most acclaimed work ‘Moladh Beinn Dòbhrain’ the 18th century bard Duncan Ban Macintyre immortalises his beloved Ben Dorain mountain and its extraordinary flower, fauna and wildlife. As the musicologist John Purser reported in a 2008 BBC interview, Ben Dorain ‘is now a desert’. Since Macintyre’s time this extraordinary habitat has disappeared and all that is left is the bare mountain covered by a scree of rock. How best can we capture these places that have a phenomenological presence in our society and culture, especially when they are vulnerable to change. The Old Man of Hoy in Orkney for instance is expected to collapse in our lifetime. Holding stone, touching rock we are alerted to its volume, mass and gravity. Its presence suggests a permanence and indefatigability. Stone can be a thing of great beauty and have cultural and economic value, it can be shaped to form the foundations and walls around where we live; or become a place of pilgrimage. Interesting to note that in the game ‘Scissors Paper Stone’ the player who covers rock in paper is the winner. The act of sketching and getting stuff down on paper remains a valid method of capturing the authenticity of experiencing these places in the environment. The easel as a tool for sketching becomes an integral part of the process rooting us and the drawing onto the physical ground.

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