Light on the Horizon is the name given to this year’s annual Scott Naismith solo show at Morningside Gallery, Edinburgh, comprising over twenty new paintings. As well as being an apt description of the Glasgow-based artist’s subject matter, inspired by Scottish landscapes, this also stands as a metaphor for optimism and hope which Naismith believes is ‘most appropriate at a time like this’.
As a result of the extraordinary circumstances we have found ourselves in due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s exhibition takes on a very different form to previous years. Whilst Naismith’s new works, with their immediately recognisable vibrant palettes, can still be glimpsed through the gallery windows, the door remains firmly shut for the time being. However, Morningside gallery, like several other galleries during this time, has sought out virtual alternatives to deliver their exhibition to the public. This includes a gallery video, a virtual exhibition, and an interview with the artist, all available on their website.
The video, just over a minute long, consists of short video clips of the paintings hung in the gallery space accompanied by audio of Scott Naismith welcoming visitors to the exhibition. Although brief, this acts as a helpful introduction to the exhibition and enables visitors to see inside what would have originally been the intended exhibition space.
The virtual exhibition itself does not resemble the gallery space. Rather, it consists of a virtual room constructed of four white walls with images of Naismith’s paintings hung on them. The layout, though basic, serves its purpose to exhibit the artist’s new works. Visitors can get a sense of the scale of the works in comparison to one another, that they might not be able to easily gauge when looking at a catalogue, printed copies of which are available by post. Moreover, this digital exhibition allows the visitor to approach the works as if they are in a gallery, either methodically going on a tour of the paintings or browsing individual works that catch their eye.
A stand-out feature of the virtual exhibition is the option to go on a virtual guided tour hosted by the artist himself. Naismith’s commentary on each work is enlightening for visitors, providing great insight into his thinking and artistic process. Notably, his discussion of works such as Liquid reflections and Evaporation demonstrate the artist’s interest in landscapes on a molecular level.
Naismith details his thoughtful application of paint and deliberate blurring of horizon lines to achieve a sense of one state transferring into another. Such discussion can also be found in the interview with the artist where Naismith expresses his belief that an artist’s role is to encourage people to look at the world differently.
Naismith’s passion for sharing his process with the public is further attested to by his YouTube channel which has an impressive 32.6k subscribers. The artist’s videos include lectures on colour theory as well as his recent home school classes.
It is thanks to Naismith’s willingness to offer his voice alongside his works that this exhibition comes to life despite being subjected to an otherwise stark virtual realm.
94 Morningside Road
Edinburgh EH10 4BY
With thanks to Amy Miles for this review.
Image: Liquid Reflections, oil and acrylic on Linen