Heather Duncan

18th September - 23rd October, 2010
exhibition statement

I take my inspirations from my everyday life, from landscape, from music, from memories. Each painting is drawn from a stream of consciousness, often starting in landscape but becoming more abstract and expressive. I start by covering a white canvas with washes of colour, then begin to work more intuitively. Intuition then drives the direction of the painting; experiences and observations become filtered and developed upon the picture plane.
I have a deep and strong connection with the expansive open moorlands of the north of England where I spent my childhood. The openness into which I escaped both physically and emotionally is reflected in my work. I approach each piece in an open and instinctive way, balancing spontaneity with considered choices of colour, gesture and mark-making.

Each piece invites free interpretation from the viewer, but is a highly personal and emotive response to experiences that I have had. Whilst my paintings are mainly inspired by landscape, they are like looking at the pages of a diary in terms of what they represent to me.
As a child, we had only two small books on paintings, yet I was hooked. A defining moment was the first time I went into the National Gallery as a teenager and saw some of the paintings from these books: they suddenly became real and vital.
I have a deep connection with wide and exposed landscapes. I like the varied climatic qualities of a temperate landscape, the atmosphere that it creates within us and of itself. I find a calm beauty in the grey mist of an October morning, excitement in the gunmetal sky of an approaching summer storm. I love the sharpness of the wind as it assaults your face, or the gentleness of a salt-laden sea breeze. To represent this, I have moved away from the straightforwardly representational and am more concerned with abstracting the essence of a place.
I paint what I know and remember about experiences in a landscape. I may mentally revisit it a place years after my actual visit, when the strongest memories become the ones that define the painting and its mood.

exhibiting artists
Heather Duncan
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