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Oil & mixed media
50 x 50 x 2 cms
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At the heart of Virginia Ray's artistic practice is a belief in the importance of landscape in reflecting the evolution of nature and an expression of cultural identity and self. Virginia's work ranges from vast landscapes to intimate studies using an extensive range of materials on canvas including mixed media, natural materials from the land, photographs and the written word.
Born and raised in Nidderdale, Yorkshire, where her family have lived and worked for generations, Virginia has developed a strong understanding of the history of landscape and its' particular rural and industrial stories.
During and since lockdown, Virginia has found re- assurance and emotional support revisiting the colours and moods of the Yorkshire landscape that she has always had a connection to. The follwing paintings are included in her new exhibition:
"A Continuous Flow "... a view up Gouthwaite Reservoir which sits at the lower end of Nidderdale.references the River Nidd that flows through the reservoir. When the reservoir water gets low you can see the Nidd carving its way through. Texture is achieved through incorporating collected mud/silt from the floods early last year."
"Harrier in Flight "of the edge of Gouthwaite where the River Nidd enters the reservoir. As I stood sketching and photographing a Harrier bird was in flight. The reservoir is well known to birdwatchers. Again, texture is achieved through incorporating collected silt from the floods early last year. The foliage on the left hand side is printed with collected vegetation."
"Over Moor and Hill "over the top of the reservoirs. Standing on the top moor and looking out is so exhilarating. Texture in the foreground is created by incorporating stone dust. Stone was quarried locally to build the reservoirs. The foliage on the left is printed using collected vegetation. The idea of using this foliage on the left in the paintings is to use the technique of Constable, Turner, Gainsborough etc to lead the eye past, through and into the distance."
"Where the Waters Meet "... references where the River Nidd merges with the River Ousethe rivers are flooded after the severe flooding last year. Texture is achieved through incorporating collected silt from the floods. This is a really interesting place. A ferry was first recorded at this point across the Ouse in 1174, when William and Ivetta des Arches founded a priory of Benedictine nuns and in recent times a small passenger ferry was in operation until 1952. The ferry that crosses you over the river has just been reinstated."
"Late Afternoon on Scar ". Scar and Angram Reservoirs sit at the top of the Nidderdale Valley. They were built in the early 20th century to supply water to Bradford. In the bottom left hand corner an old photograph is incorporated. The photograph shows the cranes constructing the reservoir. Stone dust is used to create texture in the foreground of the painting, referencing the locally quarried stone used to build the reservoirs. Whernside sits above the reservoirs which seems to be covered in snow everytime I see it!"
"Submerged Hall"... a view of Gouthwaite reservoir. Gouthwaite is lower down the Nidd Valley and Gouthwaite Hall had to be dismantled and rebuilt to the side of the road in order to flood the land to make the reservoir. An old photo of the hall, before being submerged is incorporated in the painting. I kept the photo visible until the final stage of the painting but in the end took the decision to re submerge it! Stone dust is used to create texture in the foreground of the painting, referencing the locally quarried stone used to build the reservoirs"
Virginia has a BA Hons in History and a MA in Fine Art from UCA Farnham. Virginia's work has been exhibited in Surrey, Norfolk, London, Yorkshire and Ibiza. Virginia also works as a freelance artist with the Watts Gallery in Compton, Guildford.