A Wild Duetting of Sea and Land at UNIONgallery Edinburgh

Ian Rawnsley, 'Wild tides', oil on panel
Ian Rawnsley, 'Wild tides', oil on panel

Grounded: A Duet by Hazel Cashmore and Ian Rawnsley

Mon - Fri 10:30 - 17:00, Sat 10:30 - 16:30

From: 30 Jun 2022

To: 30 Jul 2022

4 Drumsheugh Place
Edinburgh & the Lothians

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The Union Gallery, located at the West End, was established to bring the very best of the contemporary art scene and offer the finest service to buyer and artist alike – a gallery with a difference’.

Capturing the dramatic, scenic beauty of the Scottish landscape and coastline, Grounded is described as A Duet by Hazel Cashmore and Ian Rawnsley.  

Previously living in Caithness, Hazel has now moved south to the Borders but emotional memories of the wide sky and wild seas of this far North-East corner still dictate much of her work. ‘This new collection of paintings tries to encapsulate my passion and commitment to light, landscape, its fragility, groundedness and its transient nature.’ – Hazel Cashmore.

The BBC Shipping Forecast, read in a sonorous tone, described gale force winds around Rockall, Viking, Cromarty. To illustrate an essential warning to those out at sea, Force 8 imminent evokes the blustery wind and crashing waves with such atmospheric realism. A flurry of thick brushstrokes creates swirling clouds and splashing surf with filmic vision.  

Hazel Cashmore, 'Force 8 Imminent', oil
Hazel Cashmore, ‘Force 8 imminent’, oil

Rain wind, Hail Following is a rather poetic title for an impressionistic seascape, the muted palette of soft greys for the water-filled sky and stormy sea blended together. The effect of torrential rain with the distant hill almost lost in mist, brings a tantalising Turner-esque quality to the scene.  

Hazel Cashmore, 'Rain Wind Hail Following', acrylic on panel
Hazel Cashmore, ‘Rain wind Hail Following’, acrylic on panel

The painterly perspective of White Water places the viewer on the beach, where the lapping waves literally drip over the rocks. Again, a misty, murky day but there’s a tentative burst of sunlight overhead, which illuminates the golden sand and crimson seaweed-strewn rocks.  

Hazel Cashmore, 'White Water', acrylic
Hazel Cashmore, ‘White Water’, acrylic

The selection of paintings described here are all unglazed; the precise layering and loose splattering of acrylic paint can therefore be clearly observed in detail to show the perfect delicacy and depth of texture with a realistic, atmospheric mood. 

‘For me the work of the artist is to search for some sense of the soul of a place; the moodier coast of the shores from Fife to Moray… a passion for the wild and restless sea’. – Ian Rawnsley

We travel again to the north-east coast of Scotland to Catterline, where the late, great Joan Eardley enjoyed a peaceful escape amidst the rugged rural landscape with a constant change of weather as described in journals and letters: ‘Today is rough and windy and a smirr of rain. I wish I could paint the sea when it is like this, grey and white extraordinary strong cloud formations, too.’ – Joan Eardley.

With a similar bold, dramatic style, Rawnsley shows definite echoes of Eardley’s majestic artistry in Catterline Storms.

This composition of rolling waves below a thundery sky is a swirling mass of grey and black with furious splashes of white surf. It immerses us in the scene to feel the force of a winter storm, the darkness softened by the yellow glow of moonlight (an iconic Eardley touch). 

Ian Rawnsley, 'Catterline - storms', oil on panel
Ian Rawnsley, ‘Catterline Storms’, oil on panel

Although a more abstracted vision in Wild Tides, there’s still a glimmering element of the crashing sea on the shore and wide expanse of cloudy sky. A sense of movement and energy – sea breeze, frothy white horses – is captured with such a lightness of touch.  

Ian Rawnsley, 'Wild tides', oil on panel
Ian Rawnsley, ‘Wild Tides’, oil on panel

The calm after the storm is captured in a tranquil seascape, Summer storm tides. Finely crafted with a series of striated layering and soft colour palette – blurred, blended shades of azure, aqua, coral, mauve and a streak of white – we can still detect the rocky beach, choppy waves and threatening rain clouds. A mesmerising scene. 

Ian Rawnsley, 'Summer storm tides', oil on panel
Ian Rawnsley, ‘Summer storm tides’, oil on panel

A duet is normally defined as two musicians or singers. However, in this creatively-curated exhibition at the Union Gallery, Hazel Cashmore and Ian Rawnsley stage their own double act, sharing an impressionistic form, tone, texture, colour, jazzy rhythm and movement. A delightful painterly performance! 

With thanks to Vivien Devlin for this review.

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