JILL MCMANNERS : BASALT
The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh is pleased to present Basalt, an exhibition of large scale watercolours by Jill McManners. Jill made the first of countless visits to the Hebrides in 1979 and the Shiant Isles in 2003. Isolated in the Minch, north of Skye, Jill’s family took a short boat trip from their holiday home in the Sound of Harris. Having long been inspired by the origins of the world, the corrugations and convolutions of the intimidating cliff faces struck Jill profoundly. These basalt rocks were formed by volcanic action sixty million years ago underneath the earth’s crust; basaltic sills and dykes were created from lava flow which can now be seen above the sea level forming the amazing dolerite cliffs and intimidating coast line. Such cataclysmic descriptions of her subject is, however, to miss something of her work. Richard Cork describes ‘Her handling of watercolour, both meticulous and free, gives the sombre cliffs an equally remarkable vivacity.’.
Years before raising a family of three boys, Jill worked in a sculpture casting workshop. The large scale, heavy duty work of casting metal surely connects and influences the monumental nature of her subject and her ambitions to record it.
Hanging alongside these panoramic watercolours are Flowers of Basalt; a series of giclee prints. They make up kaleidoscopes of spinning flower faces. A gardener herself, she has used her knowledge of different flower shapes to create this series of prints from the many photographs she has taken to support her work in the studio. The incredible structure of the rock faces and their textures, the tidal areas and seawater colours spin into different flower combinations. The astonishing rainbow of colours carefully selected from the foreboding cliffs.