Saturday, 6 September 2014
Skye-based James Newton Adams’ paintings in his solo exhibition at the Union Gallery are mostly of people and places in the Hebrides or west coast of Scotland.
They are rendered in a style which looks, at first glance, rough, childish and unconsidered. A second look, though, soon reveals some very subtle brushwork and a more complicated approach: a process of paring down, refining each scene until what remains is a kind of irreducible narrative essence.
What emerges could be about a longed-for meeting on the beach, the concealed loneliness of an individual or the contested, shifting spaces we share with others. At their best, Adams’ works simultaneously map geography, action, economy, appearance, climate and the unseen threads of spirit and community which link them.
All this, in wonderfully thick, textured, gneiss blues and Atlantic greys, rust reds and lifejacket orange. Here too are the nicotine browns of bars, sombre Presbyterian greens, and the energising white of sea spume, cloud and marauding gulls.