Tiny sea shells from the remote shores of Iona inspired this monumental work
The small Hebridean island of Iona has shaped my life as a person and as an artist. My focus is on the light, colour and architectural form of shells; I light them with a strong spotlight, increasing the depth of highlight and shadow to bring out the sculptural quality of the sea-washed forms. I then use a viewfinder to choose a small piece from this composition. This abstracts the information and offers an entirely different perspective. I draw what I see through the viewfinder on to a large canvas, magnifying the scale to one of monumental proportions. The act of creating, for me, is a process of looking both inside and out, working with the forms of nature and conveying the spiritual purity within these inner organic systems.
The lunule is the crescent-shaped area at the front of a bivalve shell. The word comes from luna, meaning ‘moon’. This oil painting, Lunule, reminds me of the moon, the light and colours creating a feeling of spaciousness in and around the shell structure.
It’s one of a series to be exhibited in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh church at Queen’s Cross in Glasgow in a show called The Architecture of Nature. When I first entered the building, I was bowled over by its beauty, space and light and the simplicity of its design. It reminded me of looking inside one of my shells. A description of Mackintosh’s work – “honest, simple and unaffected” – formed the basis of the work for the show.
Frances Law: The Architecture of Nature, Mackintosh Church, 870 Garscube Road, Glasgow,
Sept 6 – Oct 31, www.mackintoshchurch.com